CNET First Look
Alexa's got your groceries covered with Amazon's new barcode scannerSay it or scan it, and the Amazon Dash Wand will add it to your shopping cart. But can it move online grocery shopping to the mainstream?
[MUSIC] Let's say you're all set to enjoy your favorite jerk sauce on a piece of leftover pizza, but some jerk already used the last of it. Well, with the Amazon Wand, you can scan the bar code to add more to your shopping cart Then have more sent straight to your door. It's the latest brick in Amazon's ever expanding online retail fortress and the idea is to grease the skids and make it as easy as possible for people to order their groceries online for delivery. To that end, it only costs $20 and even pays for itself thanks to a $20 online grocery credit that comes as part of the deal. The most interesting thing about the wand though might be the fact that it's an Amazon Alexa enabled device And the most inexpensive one to date at less than half the cost of an Amazon Echo Dot. It isn't always listening for a wake word like the Echo Dot though, you have to press a button to say your command, like this. Alexa, add toilet paper to my shopping cart. In addition to shopping, you can ask Alexa the weather, to tell you a joke, or even to access any on of the thousands of Alexa third party skills. You can also control compatible Smart Home gadgets just like this. [SOUND] Turn off the kitchen lights. [SOUND] [BLANK_AUDIO] There are some limitations though. You can't stream music with the Amazon Wand, and you can't Ask Alexa to send reminders, either. You also can't ask Alexa to set timer or an alarm, which is a bit of a bummer since that timer feature is really popular for people who use Alexa in the kitchen. And this primarily a kitchen gadget. Something else I wonder Is this thing too kid friendly? I have two nephews up in Ohio who love Star Wars. They love the lightsavers, the laser blasters, all if it. And I can just imagine them running around the house playing with these things, scanning every barcode in sight. There's also a question of whether or not people are ready to dive in deeper with online grocery shopping. Amazon is making big waves here, with the recent acquisition of Whole Foods for almost $14 billion but it's unclear how the one might tie in Still the wand is really easy to use it works reliably well and its tantalizingly cheap. Even if you ignore the bar code scanner altogether and just keep it on your fridge as an extra Alexa access point to turn your lights on and off I think it's well worth 20 bucks.