Amazon Echo devices are a family of smart home tools that can help with practical, everyday functions and provide fun and entertainment. The whole line of devices has the same basic functionality, but some have better sound and other capabilities as well.
Amazon Echo Studio is a highly rated choice since it projects high-quality sound and can improve your home theater experience in addition to being a useful smart device on its own. While it’s pretty expensive, Echo Studio is immersive and demonstrates what the Echo family of devices can truly offer.
What to know before you buy an Amazon Echo device
Do you already use an Echo device?
If you have other Echo devices, you probably have a better idea of what you need out of an Echo. Alexa can help you connect all your Echo devices across multiple rooms to have a network of smart devices easily controlled from anywhere with your simple voice commands.
Do you use other smart home devices?
Smart devices that are not members of the Echo family can connect to an Echo device. You can even manage and control multiple types of devices from your Echo, using it as a sort of hub for the technology you already have. If you plan to purchase other smart devices, consider the compatibility of Echo products.
Some Echo devices have display screens, others have a clock display. Some have multiple speakers connected together and some are individual. If you need an Echo device that can make phone and video calls, it’s an option, but those devices would not be suited to serve as the speaker system for a television or home theater, for example. Depending on what would improve your home setup, different Echo devices are available that are capable of performing varying functions.
What to look for in a quality Amazon Echo device
Speakers and microphones
Not all Echo devices have the same types of speakers and microphones. Basic models have simple hardware that allows for two-way audio calls and playing sound files. More advanced smart speakers in the Amazon Echo line of products can provide high-quality sound and create an incredible music listening experience whenever you access content through the Wi-Fi connectivity of an Echo device.
Some Echo devices are portable and can work with a rechargeable battery instead of needing to be plugged into an outlet at all times. Most Echo devices need outlets, but alternate power methods are available depending on what you need your device to do. If you want to take the Echo with you when you travel, get one that can easily unplug.
Echo devices don’t need to have a display screen to function. However, to watch videos, make video calls or read messages and other information, you need a device with a screen. These are a bit more expensive than a smart speaker alone, but they allow for many other uses.
How much you can expect to spend on an Amazon Echo device
Basic Echo devices can be purchased for less than $50. Midrange products are available from $50-$120, while high-quality speakers run at higher price points.
Amazon Echo device FAQ
What can you do with an Echo device?
A. It’s more than just a speaker for music or entertainment. You can control compatible smart home devices, access the weather and news, quickly get the answers to questions, order products you need or set alarms and reminders. There are plenty of overall quality of life features that Echo devices provide, the main resource being access to Alexa software.
What is Amazon Alexa?
A. It’s software that Echo devices use for fulfilling a number of tasks. Voice commands can be used by saying “Alexa,” followed by a command. By getting Alexa’s attention in this way, the device is told to listen for what you need. Your brief command is recorded and sent to the cloud to be processed. You can have Alexa perform any number of its possible jobs using voice commands, which is the real convenience of an Echo device.
What’s the best Amazon Echo device to buy?
Top Amazon Echo device
What you need to know: This has the most powerful, high-fidelity speaker included in an Echo device that provides immersive sound.
What you’ll love: The smart speaker can create loud, immersive sound with five separate speakers. It can function as a Dolby Atmos sound system for your home theater if combined with a Fire TV. The device is connected with your Amazon account and features Alexa voice controls.
What you should consider: These speakers are fairly expensive and large, so they may not work for every room or budget.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top Amazon Echo device for the money
What you need to know: These streamlined and affordable smart speakers make it easy to add an Echo device to your home.
What you’ll love: The Dot has a compact design and low weight, making it easier to fit in any space. It features hands-free calling functions along with Alexa voice controls and smart speaker features users expect. This fourth generation of the Echo Dot has an improved speaker over the previous generations. You can also use it as an alarm clock to conveniently display the time.
What you should consider: This device is the smallest of the Echo line of products and does not have premium Dolby sound.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: The classic Echo is still a solid option with features that appeal to most users.
What you’ll love: It accesses all the features and voice controls of Alexa. The premium sound adapts to any room and serves many functions for the whole family. Play your favorite music, help in the kitchen, control your lights and connect with other smart devices to create a hub of technology that starts with the Echo.
What you should consider: The sound is high frequency and not the best you could find, but it gets the job done.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Elliott Rivette writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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