/>
X

Join or Sign In

Register for your free ZDNet membership or if you are already a member, sign in using your preferred method below.

Use your email Use Linkedin Use Facebook

Find the perfect Amazon Alexa-powered device

Devices featuring Amazon's Alexa intelligent voice-controlled assistant are likely to be popular gifts over the holidays, but picking the right device can be a bit of a minefield.

|
adrian-kingsley-hughes.jpg
|
Topic: Hardware
Echo Dot
1 of 8 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Echo Dot

The smallest and simplest of the Amazon devices powered by Alexa. But don't let its size fool you. The Dot is a fully-functional device that can either work standalone, or be hooked up to a set of speakers of your choice.

Pros:

  • Small
  • Cheap
  • Fits pretty much anywhere

Cons:

  • Not best suited to a big room
  • Speaker not the best for music

Price: $29.99 | More information

Echo (second generation)
2 of 8 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Echo (second generation)

Updated version of the original Echo smart speaker. The update adds new speaker, new design, and is available in a range of styles including fabrics and wood veneers.

Ideal for situations where you have a big room or don't want the hassle of having to hook up speakers for better audio coverage.

Pros:

  • Great output
  • Ideal for larger rooms

Cons:

  • Pricey
  • Start getting expensive if you want multiple devices

Price: $79.99 | More information

Echo Plus
3 of 8 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Echo Plus

If you're going to get deep into home automation then the Echo Plus may be the hub for you. The Echo Plus comes with a built-in ZigBee smart home hub, which allows for simple and direct setup of compatible ZigBee lights, locks, plugs, and in-wall switches from brands like Philips Hue, GE, and Yale.

Pros:

  • Integrated smart hub means consolidation
  • Perfect starter kit for anyone wanting to get into home automation or simplify an existing setup

Cons:

  • Pricey
  • Hub may not be compatible with all your existing devices

Price: $119.99 | More information

Echo Spot
4 of 8 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Echo Spot

Essentially an Echo Dot with a display. On the display the Spot can show information, photos from Prime Photos, or make video calls to anyone with an Echo Spot, Echo Show, or the Alexa App.

Pros:

  • Great as an intercom or communication tool

Cons:

  • Start getting expensive if you want multiple devices

Price: $129.99 | More information

Echo Show
5 of 8 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Echo Show

Echo Show brings you everything you love about Alexa, and now she can show you things. Watch video flash briefings, Amazon Video content, see music lyrics, security cameras, photos, weather forecasts, to-do and shopping lists, browse and listen to Audible audiobooks, and more.

Pros:

  • Ideal for those who want to go deep into the Amazon ecosystem

Cons:

  • Pricey
  • Can be seen as taking the Alexa platform in a gimmicky direction

Price: $149.99 | More information

Amazon Fire tablets
6 of 8 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Amazon Fire tablets

Amazon's Fire tablets now come with Alexa built in, allowing you access to the assistant without needing a standalone device. There are upsides and downsides to this, and while it's a great solution for the person using the tablet, it's not such a convenient mechanism to allow multiple people to access things such as home automation.

Pros:

  • Great range - from cheap to mid-range price
  • Do more than just a simple standalone device

Cons:

  • Not the best solution for a home hub situation where multiple people want to use it

Price: From $29.99 | More information

Eufy Genie smart speaker
7 of 8 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Eufy Genie smart speaker

This is not an Amazon device, instead it's a third-party offering. And it's also the cheapest way to get a standalone Alexa device. While it doesn't support all features - such as device-to-device calling (this is coming in a future update) - for basic Alexa operations, the Eyfy Genie is a great option.

Pros:

  • Cheap
  • Ideal for those who want a simple device

Cons:

  • Doesn't yet offer the full range of Amazon Alexa services

Price: $24.99 | More information

iHome iAVS16 Alexa Bedside Speaker System
8 of 8 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

iHome iAVS16 Alexa Bedside Speaker System

Here we have Alexa built into a bedside clock radio. Along with the basic Alexa functions - features such as Alexa Calling and messaging, ESP features, and IFTTT support are coming soon - you also get a neat clock, one-touch action buttons provide the quickest way to trigger a Series of events such as controlling your smartplugs and playing a Spotify music, and a charging station for your smartphone.

Pros:

  • Great output
  • Ideal for bedside use
  • Doubles as a charging platform
  • Handy one-touch action buttons

Cons:

  • Pricey
  • Rather bulky
  • Doesn't yet offer the full range of Amazon Alexa services

Price: $129.99 | More information

Related Galleries

Apple Watch Series 7: Unboxing and first impressions
Hello QWERTY keyboard

Related Galleries

Apple Watch Series 7: Unboxing and first impressions

First look at the YubiKey Bio
YubiKey Bio

Related Galleries

First look at the YubiKey Bio

Anker 20W Nano Pro charger (Anker 511 Charger)
Anker Nano Pro

Related Galleries

Anker 20W Nano Pro charger (Anker 511 Charger)

First Look: New Surface PCs include Android-based Duo 2 [in pictures]
thumbnail-72371d1d9eb043bcb3986b87c5b47dc7.jpg

Related Galleries

First Look: New Surface PCs include Android-based Duo 2 [in pictures]

Next-generation Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
Kindle Paperwhite Kids

Related Galleries

Next-generation Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

First look: iPhone 13 Apple event [in pictures]
california-streaming-2.jpg

Related Galleries

First look: iPhone 13 Apple event [in pictures]

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3, HP Elite Folio, and more: ZDNet's reviews roundup
hp-elite-dragonfly-g2.jpg

Related Galleries

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3, HP Elite Folio, and more: ZDNet's reviews roundup