Not long ago something interesting came up when I was surfing Amazon. Something called Day 1 Editions was looking for backers for some potential new Amazon products. And two of the products caught my eye. Amazon was looking for people to fund a smart sticky note printer, and a smart Alexa-enabled cuckoo clock. I immediately signed up for both.
What are Amazon Day 1 Editions?
Amazon’s Day 1 Editions is a program where new, limited-release products from Amazon are featured on Amazon.com. You can read about the product idea and then essentially put yourself down to buy one—if it ends up getting enough backers and getting made. Like other crowd-funded products, a select number of customers can opt in to the product as sort of an “early release” exclusive.
If an item fails to reach the pre-order goal within 30 days, Amazon simply doesn’t build the product, and you don’t pay for it. You can check the status of the item throughout the process, and Amazon will give an estimated shipping date if the product meets the pre-order goal. You can also cancel your order at any time before shipping occurs.
Choosing which products get made
Within 30 days Amazon customers had made their choices: the cuckoo clock was not going forward but the sticky note printer was! Fast forward about seven months and the printer finally shipped, arriving at my door in a nondescript Amazon Day 1 Editions box.
Unboxing Amazon Day 1 Editions Smart Sticky Note Printer: kind of a letdown
My initial impressions were kind of a letdown. I was expecting this printer to be a wondrous gizmo that would help me feel like part of the Amazon crowdfunding team. Instead I was left with the impression I’d ordered a white label product that could have just as easily come off the shelf from any old place. The design is super basic, plain, unadorned and disappointing.
What can the Amazon Day 1 Editions Smart Sticky Note Printer do?
The Smart Sticky Note Printer pairs up to a newer compatible Echo device (it’s not compatible with the 1st Generation Echo, 1st Generation Echo Dot, 1st Generation Echo Plus, Echo Dot Kids Edition) and requires a Wi-Fi connection. It also comes with one roll of yellow sticky paper. As it’s a thermal printer, you won’t need to buy ink for the printer, and you’ll be able to order replacement paper rolls in blue, pink, white, and yellow.
Once the printer is set up, you can tell Alexa to print out notes, shopping lists, or to-do lists. There’s a single button on the top and an eject button on the side. The thermal print head has an automatic cutter, so there’s no dealing with awkward tears or pulling too much paper through the print head.
Set up: Amazon Day 1 Editions Smart Sticky Note Printer
Setting up this printer was the next disappointment. Loading the paper roll is easy enough; it simply drops in. Initially it didn’t want to connect. You’re supposed to be able to say “Alexa Discover my printer’ but she won’t necessarily find it. It took me a few tries, unplugging and plugging it in for it to work. Even worse, after each unsuccessful setup attempt, the printer would print out instructions for how to set up the printer, so in no time about a third of my single paper roll was wasted.
Some folks have been seeing a weird duplication issue where the Alexa App shows two entries for “my printer” in the Devices list- one with a wifi icon and your name (which will show as ‘Offline’), and which you can ignore), and one with a printer icon (this is your printer). Amazon says this is a known issue that will be addressed in a future software update for Echo devices. Eventually I got things working, and printed out a couple of test notes.
Commands for Alexa smart Sticky Note Printer
The command for printing is “Alexa, print [what you want to print].”
Alexa can print your lists and more from your Smart Sticky Note Printer.
To print your lists from Alexa App
“Alexa, print my to-do list.”
“Alexa, print my shopping list.”
Want fun puzzles?
“Alexa, print a Sudoku puzzle.”
“Alexa, print an easy maze.”
To discover more things to print
“Alexa, print a test page.
If you want to print checklists for to dos, groceries and tasks, first you need to create and name your list.You’ll create a list by telling Alexa, “start a list.” Alexa will ask you to name the list, and then you can use that name to ask Alexa to print. Shopping or to-do lists will print with a checkbox beside each item.
Printing lists; a work in progress
Printing lists turned out to be hard. I had Alexa make a list called December Videos of reviews I needed to do. While I was able to create and add to the list, no matter what I said or how I phrased it, Alexa would not send the list to the printer.
I tried with the pre-existing “Grocery” list. That one seemed to work. But the fact I couldn’t get the printer to print custom lists, only the included options like To-Do or Grocery is beyond frustrating.
The notes print out about the size of a standard Post-it note (unless you’re printing a long grocery list), but the paper is a lot thinner and lighter. Each note prints with the time and date plus the Amazon smile logo at the bottom. The paper has a glossy finish which isn’t conducive to pencil or some ink pens but seems to work well for Sharpie marker pens, should you want to amend your notes.
While the printing seems clear and legible, you’ve got to have your note content in mind before you ask for it to be printed, since Alexa only listens for so long, and since writing additional info on the note depends on the pen you choose, it’s not a perfect system.
If you’re a Post-It nerd like me you should know that you’re basically stuck with one colour until the roll is out. While it is possible to swap rolls in and out, it’s tedious and takes time, whereas grabbing a note and jotting something on different colours is quick and convenient..
Stickiness of notes
Amazon says the notes are sticky on all sides, making them potentially more long-lasting that traditional Post-Its. The notes will indeed stick quite well to some very smooth surfaces and can be re-positioned too. Even so they didn’t seem to adhere well after a few hours. Other surfaces, particularly wood, often saw the notes pop right off and curl up, making them pretty much useless as stick-in-place reminders.
Refill paper rolls come in three packs for $20, which also seems pricey.
Overall review: Amazon Day 1 Editions smart sticky note printer
Overall I’m pretty disappointed with this printer and my Day 1 Editions experience. The printer was not easy to set up, printing some things like custom notes was finicky, and I blew most of my single paper roll just getting the darn thing to work. While printing single notes worked okay, I don’t think this printer is versatile enough to be worth the price of a traditional 8×11 printer and the novelty wears off quickly, even for a Post-It lover like me.
I’m going to be sending this printer back to Amazon. While I love the idea, the execution leaves a lot to be desired. Maybe some firmware updates will hep in the future. The printer sold for about $100, and it seems to no longer be available.
I’m still holding out for the cuckoo clock…
The printer is 120x120x80mm, or 4.7 x4.7 x3.2 inches, and weighs in at 580 grams/20 ounces. It connects via Bluetooth 4.2. The paper roll is 3 inches across and contains 52 feet of paper.
The printer itself prints at 203 dots per inch (dpi). You’ll need to place the printer within 30 feet of the Echo device or send items via the Alexa app.