The best Amazon Echo device

From bestreviews.com
By
BestReviews Staff
BestReviews

There is no better way to experience the next-level convenience of having digital assistant Alexa make your day a little easier than by installing one or more Amazon Echo devices throughout your home. Although the core function of each Amazon Echo is to deliver a streamlined way to access Alexa, there are notable differences between models. For example, some Amazon Echo smart speakers deliver a premium audio experience while others support video calling.

If you want to learn more about the many types of Amazon Echo devices available, keep reading our buying guide. It includes our top pick, the second-generation Amazon Echo, which comes with top-of-the-line Dolby processing for superior sound.

Considerations when choosing Amazon Echo devices

While using an Amazon Echo is extremely simple, we suggest brushing up on the basics. Knowing some of the over 50,000 verbal commands (for starters, "Alexa, help") and the status of your device by the color of its indicator light are important things to know before your Echo arrives on your doorstep.

Before you get started, pick out a place in your home with an outlet, because all Amazon Echo devices need to be plugged in. (Tip: Consider placing your Amazon Echo next to your bed, because these smart speakers also make excellent alarm clocks.)

There are tons of commands and inquiries to ask Alexa, and some of the most useful ones include directing volume controls, reading Audible books from your collection, playing live radio, translating words and phrases, and asking for the latest news. You can also use an Amazon Echo to control any smart home devices you may have. 

Features

Sound quality: While all Amazon Echo devices perform similar duties, some feature far superior speakers than others. Consider splurging on a Dolby-powered speaker if you intend to play your music via an Amazon Echo.

Screen: Some Amazon Echo devices, such as the Echo Spot and Echo Show, feature a small view screen. This allows you to make video calls, check your weather forecast at a glance, and stream video content, to name just a few.

Camera: The Amazon Echo Look and Echo Show both include a quality forward-facing camera built into the device. The ability to take a quick snapshot as needed wherever you set your Amazon Echo is a nice feature.

Design: If you are going to place these smart speakers all over your home, you should consider which ones fit your décor. Amazon Echo devices are available in a wide array of sizes, shapes, and colors.

Amazon Echo device prices

Amazon Echo devices range from as low as $50 up to $230, and the quality of each device increases as they go up in cost. If you are interested in buying a single unit, it may be best to spring for a pricier model. However, you will be able to spread Amazon Echo devices around your home if you choose a few affordable models.

FAQ

Q. Can I use an Amazon Echo to control my smart home devices?
A.
Absolutely. There is a large list of electronics, ranging from lighting and smart plugs to thermostats and doorbell cameras, that are fully compatible with Amazon Echo. The ability to dim the kitchen lights, turn on your Xbox, or lower the temperature with simple voice commands is just another one of the many ways an Amazon Echo helps out around your home.

Q. Which music services are compatible with Amazon Echo?
A.
There are quite a few popular music apps and services that work perfectly with Amazon Echo, including Spotify, iHeartRadio, Apple Music, Sirius XM, Pandora, Audible, and, of course, Amazon Music.

Amazon Echo devices we recommend

Best of the best: Amazon Echo
Our take: The second-generation Amazon Echo's powerful and crystal-clear Dolby speaker is the perfect complement to the convenience of Alexa's more than 50,000 commands.
What we like: This tall Amazon Echo device sports a crisp audio quality, is constantly updated with new features by Amazon, and includes seven microphones, ensuring that it hears every inquiry sent its way.
What we dislike: While it is one of the most expensive Amazon Echo devices, you are paying for impressive sound quality from the speaker.

Best bang for your buck: Amazon Echo Dot
Our take: An affordable way to install handy Amazon Echo in your home.
What we like: An inexpensive and more compact design that still supports everything that Alexa has to offer. Easy to set up and pair for a nice stereo sound effect. Available in three colors.
What we dislike: The smaller and cheaper Amazon Echo Dot does not feature the vibrant Dolby audio of pricier models.

Choice 3: Amazon Echo Spot
Our take: The inclusion of a little screen and camera is easily one of the best upgrades to ever come to an Amazon Echo device.
What we like: All of the core Amazon Echo functionality is included, alongside useful new features, such as video calling and streaming video content. Easy to take in the information you need at a glance.
What we dislike: The inclusion of a screen is great, but its speaker leaves a bit to be desired when compared to other Amazon Echo devices.

Arnold Carreiro is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.