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Alexa & Echo: Are Calls and Messages Free?

Screenshot of Alexa app, on the Communicate tab, showing Call, Message, Drop In and Announce features.

The “Communicate” tab on the Alexa app shows various options, including ‘Call’ and ‘Message’. This allows you to contact your Echo devices, but also people in your contact list. So are these calls and messages free, or do they cost money? The communication options within Alexa and Echo (including calls and messaging) are completely free, … Read more

Is Ring Alarm’s “Professional Monitoring” Worth It? (Why I’ve Changed My Mind)

SpaceX staff working in their control centre during a launch, with lots of computer monitors at each desk each

Even though I’m only 31, I always feel old when I start a sentence with “Back in my day, things were so much better”. However you can’t blame me for thinking this when Ring used to only charge $10/month for Professional Monitoring, right? Actually, let’s back up a bit. Ring released their smart alarm system … Read more

Using Ring Devices Without A Subscription: What Won’t Work

Screenshot from the Ring app's "History" section, with a big red 'x' across it.

The basic Ring Protect plan costs $40 per year (per device) and it appears to offer a bunch of nice features over and above not having a Ring subscription. But after shelling out hundreds of dollars on Ring devices, you might be forgiven for wondering whether you can skip paying the extra Protect fees too. … Read more