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Voice in a Can review: Bringing Alexa to Windows 10, Apple Watch, Galaxy Watch, and more

Amazon Alexa is on a plethora of devices, ranging from the Echo Dot (opens in new tab) to smart refrigerators (opens in new tab), but there are still some popular gadgets that don't natively support Amazon's assistant. Voice in a Can brings Alexa support to devices like the Apple Watch without requiring a smartphone. It's also available on iOS, Android Wear, Wear OS, Samsung Galaxy Watches, and Macs.

Interestingly, Voice in a Can is also available on Windows 10 PCs, which is what sparked this review. Amazon has a first-party Alexa app for Windows 10, so I wanted to see how Voice in a Can stacks up. I tested Voice in a Can on my Huawei Matebook X Pro, and our Managing Editor Al Sacco tried it out on his Apple Watch Series 4. Voice in a Can isn't going to replace Alexa on your Windows 10 PC, but it's a great companion to a smartwatch.

What you'll love about Voice in a Can

One of the biggest decisions you make when deciding to make your home into a smart home is the ecosystem that you select. While Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri work with many third-party devices, choosing a specific ecosystem is needed for certain functionality. For example, Ring Doorbells work well with Amazon Echo devices. Similarly, Apple's HomePod works best with Apple Music. As a result of this, you can end up in a battle between ecosystems and smart assistants. Voice in a Can helps you win the war between ecosystems by bringing Alexa to a wide range of devices.

Voice in a Can being on so many platforms means that if you love Apple's hardware and your Apple Watch but don't like Siri, or are all in on Samsung but want Bixby to disappear, you can choose to use Alexa instead. Voice in a Can is also a standalone app so you can use Alexa on your smartwatch without having your phone nearby. It can connect through Wi-Fi or LTE so you can take Alexa anywhere.

In our testing, Voice in a Can was responsive and effective. I used it to control my smart lights and Xbox One, and Al tested it out on his Apple Watch Series 4. In both cases, Voice in a Can worked well and was quick enough to use regularly. I found it slightly slower than the first-party Alexa app on Windows 10, but it's still pretty quick.

You can use Voice in a Can on your watch to read through a shopping list, turn off a light, or control just about any smart device that you've connected to Alexa. It's incredibly convenient to have Alexa on your wrist, and support for Siri Shortcuts on the Apple Watch is an added bonus.

What will frustrate you about Voice in a Can

Voice in a Cans is bare-bones, especially when compared to the already simple Amazon Alexa app on Windows 10. Voice in a Can is literally just a button to start talking to Alexa. There's almost no interface or options. You also can't do things like connect new devices to Alexa or change any account settings. That's not great on a PC where you want to be able to completely control everything. It's fine on a smartwatch though where you've already set everything up and just want to use Alexa.

There are also some limitations on what Voice in a Can can do with Alexa. Amazon restricts controlling music playbook or audiobooks on third-party apps. I still found Voice in a Can to be a fine companion, but there are noticeable limitations.

Should you buy Voice in a Can?

I wouldn't buy Voice in a Can on a Windows 10 PC. The first-party app from Amazon is faster and has more options on your PC. But Voice in a Can is worth the price for a smartwatch. It brings Alexa with you anywhere, which is a great tool if you are in the Alexa ecosystem but like hardware that doesn't normally play nice with Alexa.

Smart assistants are all about convenience. They're here to make life easier. Voice in a Can makes it simple to use Alexa on your wrist. Little things like being able to use your wrist to control your Xbox One or smart lights add up. If you have rooms where you don't have an Echo or Alexa-enabled device, or just want the freedom to use Alexa anywhere, Voice in a Can is a great companion.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).