What is Amazon's new Dash Wand, how does it work and is it coming to the UK? Here's all you need to know.
The Amazon Dash Wand has officially arrived, to make ordering your groceries and cooking up a storm easier than ever. In the long run it should make life more simple, justifying that initial outlay.
The Amazon Dash Wand is a dinky gadget that allows you to place orders for food. But it goes beyond that, even helping out with some recipe ideas and packing some cool bonus features. Here’s what you need to know, including how to get the Dash Wand for free.
What is Amazon Dash Wand?
The Amazon Dash Wand is a handheld fob-like gadget that's designed to live in your kitchen. It features an infrared scanner which can be used to read barcodes and also has a microphone and speaker built in.
The Wand is Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connected and takes replaceable AA batteries.
You can tap the Dash Wand's activation button to scan any item in your kitchen that needs replacing. Otherwise, simply say the item's name out loud; the device will understand you thanks to some Alexa AI integration and that built-in mic.
The idea is that you can keep your fridge topped up without reaching for your phone or tablet and performing arduous searches. Since the Dash Wand is magnetic and comes with a bundled hook and strap, it’s always at hand and easy to store away.
How does the Amazon Dash Wand work?
Using the Dash Wand is simple. You press and hold the button, which lights up around the edge to show that the device is ready for action. Next, just say what you need - or point the Dash Wand at an item that's running low to scan its barcode.
For spoken commands, you need to let go and re-press the button for each new item. You should get a confirmation noise afterwards, to inform you that the item has been accepted.
Once you’ve added an item, don’t fret if you suddenly change your mind. Nothing is immediately ordered - so pranksters shouting out “1,000 toilet rolls” just as you push that button won’t leave you out of pocket and drowning in two-ply.
Rather, the Dash Wand adds any requested items to your shopping cart. You can then tap the button and say checkout to place all of the orders, or else open the connected smartphone app and adjust amounts and order direct from there.
That said, you can also use the command “Alexa, buy a …” and Amazon's AI will immediately place the order. This applies to anything, not just groceries - so the pranking fun could really reach a new level.
How does Alexa work on the Amazon Dash Wand?
Since Alexa is the smart artificial intelligence running behind the Dash Wand, you can do more than simply order food.
The usual Alexa commands can be used directly through the Dash Wand, so checking measurement conversions is as easy as asking. Or if you want to find a recipe for a certain dish you can just ask for details, before directly placing your order for the items you need. You can even adjust your kitchen and dining room's smart lighting, to prepare for when dinner is ready.
How much is the Amazon Dash Wand price?
On the face of it, the Dash Wand costs $20. However, the device is available for free, technically, for Prime members. Since Amazon dishes out a credit of $20 for new owners of a Dash Wand, this can be offset making the cost nothing.
You also get an included three month trial of AmazonFresh, the company’s grocery delivery service that usually costs $15 per month. The catch here is you need to live in Seattle, Northern California, Southern California, New York or Philadelphia, where the service is currently available.
When is Amazon Dash Wand coming to the UK?
We’ve contacted Amazon to find out more on when UK dwellers will be able to get involved. At the moment there is no set date or price for a UK launch. But as is the case with most popular Amazon services, expect it to hit Blighty shores in summer of 2017 if the Dash Wand proves popular Stateside.