How to set up and use Alexa on your Samsung Galaxy Watch

Put Bixby to one side with this voice assistant workaround
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When it comes to voice assistants, it's tough to beat Amazon's Alexa. And just because the digital helper doesn't live natively on your Samsung Galaxy Watch, that doesn't necessarily mean you can't install and use it from there.

The Galaxy Watch and Galaxy Watch Active already have their own voice assistant, Bixby – but nobody likes Bixby. It’s an irritating try-hard almost everyone ignores. And since it’s a data-gathering piece of software, and not a person, we don’t even have to feel bad for saying so.

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Still, smartwatches and digital assistants are a natural fit. Samsung may not want you to use the Bixby rival on the Galaxy Watch, but you can. And it’s all thanks to the ingenuity of third-party developers.

Let’s be clear: This solution is nowhere near as slick as a first-party implementation, but you have to appreciate the effort a lone developer has gone to in order to crowbar Alexa into a wearable not made for it.

Get Alexa on the Samsung Galaxy Watch

How to set up and use Alexa on your Samsung Galaxy Watch

Download Alexa Gear

The app we need is 'Alexa Gear' – available on the Google Play store. This is the middle-man you install on both your Samsung Galaxy Watch and the connected phone.

It’s easiest to do it all on your phone. Search for "Alexa" in the Galaxy Watch app’s Galaxy Store section to find the Alexa Gear app. Make sure you have the Apps tab selected, else you’ll only see watch faces. The phone-side app is called Companion for Alexa – install both of these apps.

You use the phone app to log in to your Amazon account and grant it access to Alexa. You can’t miss the big button in there.

How to set up and use Alexa on your Samsung Galaxy Watch

Accessing Alexa Gear

Alexa Gear doesn't have its own Galaxy Watch widget, and its roots aren’t nearly deep enough to let you simply talk to the watch and have it respond, like an Echo Dot.

The best way to access it is to give the bezel two clicks clockwise to get to the app shortcuts widget. Add Alexa Gear to one of the spots here (by pressing the + icon) if your Galaxy Watch didn't do so automatically.

Read next: Best Samsung Galaxy Watch apps

We’re assuming here you left the Galaxy Watch widget layout as standard. If you deleted the App Shortcuts one and want to reinstate it, just scroll all the way clockwise with the bezel until you reach the Add Widget page and select App Shortcuts.

Using Alexa Gear

Load Alexa Gear on your watch. You’ll see a little microphone button, and, if you’re successfully connected to your phone, an “Alexa ready” message in the centre.

This is the crux of how the app works. It needs to be connected to your phone and can’t be used solo even if you have a 4G Galaxy Watch.

Press the microphone button and the app will listen for up to five seconds. Wait for a beat or two for the data to be transferred to your phone, then to the cloud, and you should hear the answer from the usual Alexa disembodied voice.

How to set up and use Alexa on your Samsung Galaxy Watch

Customising Alexa Gear

There’s one more important part to cover. As standard, you’ll hear the Alexa response through both your phone’s speaker and the watch speaker. However, you probably just want it through the Galaxy Watch.

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To do this, head into the Alexa Gear phone app. There are two settings you can change: the speaker(s) Alexa responds through; and the language you communicate in. Just like 'real' Alexa, there’s a bunch of profiles for English, so pick the right one for better results.

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Andrew does freelance writing and editing for some of the UK's top tech and lifestyle publications including TrustedReviews, Stuff, T3, TechRadar, Lifehacker, Wareable, The Ambient, and more.

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