The 12 Best Amazon Devices of 2019

Whatever you need, Amazon has it

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Amazon has become one of those companies with a hand in everything. It does music and TV, books and audiobooks, smart home devices, home delivery, drone delivery and now even grocery delivery. And it does them all well. It’s no surprise, then, that its tech gadgets are top-notch. So whether you’re looking for a new tablet, a virtual assistant or an instant coffee button, we’ve found the best devices Amazon has to offer.

Our Top Picks

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

5

The first edition of the Amazon Fire Stick was a big hit because of its simplicity: just plug the stick into an HDMI slot on your TV, plug it into the wall, and then you can start streaming from all the big players including Netflix, YouTube, ESPN, AMC, Hulu, CBS All Access, Starz, Showtime, and more. Now the Amazon Fire Stick 4K has come along and it’s even better, delivering a startlingly good picture that will look great on 4K and HDR TVs. In addition to the improved picture, the Fire Stick 4K ups the audio quality too with top-notch Dolby Atmos sound. The Fire Stick comes with a remote that supports Alexa voice control as well, so you can you launch and control movies and TV shows with voice commands. This tiny-but-powerful package runs just $50, which is just $10 more than the standard Fire Stick.

Kindle Paperwhite

4.5

The Kindle Paperwhite represents Amazon devices at their best. The e-reader is light, waterproof, and comes with access to Amazon’s vast collection of e-books, magazines and comics. If you have Bluetooth-enabled headphones or speakers, you can also connect to Audible, an audiobook streaming service. Using Amazon’s WhisperSync feature, you can switch between reading and listening to a book without losing your place. But where the device really stands out — as compared to a tablet or smartphone — is the screen. Its six-inch, high-resolution, glare-free screen makes it easy to read in direct sunlight without the headache of squinting at a phone or tablet screen. It’s this feature that makes the Paperwhite such a must-have e-reader.

The Kindle Paperwhite comes equipped with 8GB or 32GB of onboard storage along with the ability to connect to Wi-Fi or a cellular network. For reading in the dark before bed, the e-reader also comes with a reading light. Amazon claims you’ll get a whopping six weeks of battery life if you read for 30 minutes each day.   

Amazon Fire HD 8

3

Being small, feature-rich, and inexpensive makes Amazon’s Fire HD 8 a strong competitor in the tablet market. It’s difficult to say what Amazon fans will like best: It might be hands-free Alexa, which lets you play and pause media, open apps, and ask questions without touching the tablet. Or it might be access to over 570,000 free and popular games, social media, movie provider apps and more.

All of this content displays beautifully on the eight-inch, 1280 x 800 HD display. A quad-core processor and 1.56GB of RAM allow apps and video to run smoothly with rich-sounding audio from the built-in Dolby Audio speakers. The tablet comes with 16GB of internal storage, but it has a microSD slot that can add up to 400GB for storing books, videos and additional downloadable content.

A new feature on the Fire HD 8 is “show mode.” Set the tablet up on your nightstand or desk and it turns into a full-screen Alexa experience. Ask for news, weather, movie showtimes, or hundreds of other tasks from across the room. This feature is a major differentiator in the tablet market. 

Fire TV Cube

Amazon’s Fire TV Cube wants you to abandon the family room remote forever. This device is like a combination of Amazon’s Fire TV stick and its popular Echo speaker — equipped with the same broad selection of content as the Fire TV, it handles everything through voice control.

The Fire TV Cube's far-field voice recognition uses eight microphones to pick up your voice commands from anywhere in the room. That allows the speaker to search, play, pause, fast forward and more, all without touching a button. It’s even possible to control the power and volume of the connected TV.

And you won't be lacking in image and sound quality. In terms of the picture, the Cube delivers 4K Ultra HD up to 60 fps with HDR. It also has superb audio quality with Dolby Atmos, which will make any of Amazon's thousands of channels or more than 500,000 movies and TV episodes sound better than ever. Like the rest of Amazon’s Fire lineup, the Cube instantly connects you to Netflix, Hulu, HBO and more.

Fire HD 8 Kids Tablet

Kid-friendly tech is important, especially for children younger than 12. Tablets, in particular, are the most common and easy-to-use devices for children. But if parents don’t want to retrofit an iPad or Galaxy tablet with third-party parental controls, Amazon’s Fire HD Kids tablet is a worthy option.

The tablet comes with a case that will protect it even during the most turbulent kid-induced chaos. For parents, the Fire Kids tablet comes pre-downloaded with a pared-down web browser. Kids won’t be able to search for inappropriate websites, and parents can toggle the settings to control what sites children can and can’t see. Parents can also set screen time limits and block access to videos or games.

The tablet’s bread and butter, though, is Amazon FreeTime Unlimited. The subscription service gives access to thousands of age-appropriate books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games. While children are on the FreeTime Platform, they can’t access the internet or social media. Each Fire HD Kids tablet comes with the first year of FreeTime for free.

Even though it doesn’t have all of the features of an adult tablet, the Fire Kids still has plenty of heft. It comes with an 8-inch HD display, 32 GB internal storage, both a front and rear-facing camera, 1.3 GHz quad-core processor, and 1.5 GB of RAM.

Echo Dot (3rd Generation)

The Amazon Echo Dot is the best-selling smart speaker ever, and for good reason — it’s less expensive than the standard Amazon Echo and works great as a hub for Amazon Alexa voice controls. Like other Echo devices, the Dot can turn your lights on and off, tell you the news or weather, play music, let you take calls, and more. The 3rd generation of the Echo Dot is fairly similar to the 2nd generation version but it improves upon appearance and performance. Under the hood, the 3rd gen Echo Dot features far better audio quality, with a 1.6-inch audio driver instead of a 1.1-inch driver, and it can get 70% louder, which is useful for music or calls. The 3rd generation version also looks better on the outside, with a new knit fabric that comes in charcoal (black), heather gray (dark gray), and sandstone (light gray), so you can better match the speaker to your interior decor.

Echo Plus (2nd Generation)

If you like the idea of the original Amazon Echo but wished it had better sound and more capabilities, the Echo Plus 2nd Gen will be the perfect smart hub for your home. The Echo Plus has improved speakers that can play Dolby 360-degree audio so your streaming music, podcasts, and radio all sound more clear and crisp. It also has a Zigbee smart home hub and a temperature sensor, so you can use Alexa to control even more smart devices in your home. The most ideal scenario for choosing an Echo Plus over the standard Echo is if you often listen to music or you have a ton of smart devices that can be connected to Zigbee. Amazon is also offering bundle packages for the 2nd Gen Echo Plus that include two Echos and an Echo Sub speaker (which is more expensive) or one Echo and a free Philips Hue Smart Bulb.

Echo Input

The Alexa-enabled Echo line offers basically every size and shape of speaker you can imagine. But what if you already have a speaker system you love? Your high-end audiophile setup probably doesn't have smart assistant functionality — but now it can. Amazon’s new Echo Input is a simple, affordable way to fold in voice control and the 50,000+ Alexa skills now available to a system that doesn’t otherwise offer it. All you do is plug in the power to this tiny, 0.5-inch-thick disc, connect it to your Wi-Fi using the Alexa app (it supports 2.4 or 5 GHz), and then plug it into your speaker system via aux or connect it via Bluetooth. The microphone is optimized to pick up your voice even if music is already playing, so it can always hear your voice commands. Its sleek form factor will slide right into an existing setup or sit unobtrusively on a table. It’s the cheapest entry into the Alex space, and it’s a refreshingly simple device.

Echo Show (2nd Generation)

The first generation of the Amazon Echo Show felt like an experiment — the idea of an Echo with a screen seemed like a good idea, but it was met with mixed reviews once the first version was released. Now, Amazon has released the 2nd generation of the Show with significant improvements. The new Echo Show has a larger screen, better speakers, and more features, making it a fully-fleshed-out visual smart hub for your home.

First, the screen is now 10.1 inches and has a crisp 1080p HD display, so if you watch videos or make video calls, you’ll get clearer details. Second, the speakers have dual two-inch drivers and Dolby processing, so the stereo sound is much clearer. And unlike the first edition, the 2nd generation Echo Show can now act as a primary Alexa and Zigbee hub, so it can turn off the lights, play music, answer questions, and do much more with your smart devices. One other way that the new Echo Show improves upon its predecessor is the addition of Hulu with Live TV — the first live TV streaming service for the device — and the ability to watch YouTube videos.

Echo Sub

If you really love music — and you love using Amazon Echo to control devices in your home — then the Amazon Echo Sub may be your new favorite device. The Echo Sub is a six-inch subwoofer that pairs with Echo or Echo Plus devices to give you immersive, deep bass with your music. The ideal set up: pair the Sub with two Echo devices to get left/right sound as well as a resonant bass (this configuration can be purchased as a bundle for considerably less than buying them separately). Measuring 8 x 8.3 inches and weighing 9.3 pounds, the Echo Sub is significantly larger than the regular Echo, but it looks aesthetically similar and has a charcoal fabric covering that's super sleek and easy to blend in with your decor.

Amazon Smart Plug

If you are already using Amazon’s Alexa service frequently in your home and want more opportunities to make your electronics “smarter,” the Amazon Smart Plug is worth consideration. This handy little device adds Alexa voice control to any electrical outlet, so you can more easily control your lights, fans, speakers, appliances, or just about anything you plug in. For example, you can tell Alexa to “turn off the bedroom light” when you go to sleep and the lamp you have connected to an Amazon Smart Plug will turn off. On top of being able to turn things on and off, you can also set up full routines with devices connected to these smart plugs. One routine, for example, would be to tell Alexa “good night” and then all your devices attached to smart plugs will turn off at the same time. If you don’t want to invest in expensive smart light bulbs or a variety of smart devices, but still want the benefits of a smart home, buying a few Amazon Smart Plugs is a cost-effective way to do that.

Amazon Fire TV Recast

Amazon is out to fill every possible gap in your media lifestyle with a Fire device — there’s the Fire Stick, a Fire TV, and a Fire tablet. Now, there’s a DVR-style streaming hard drive called the Fire TV Recast, and if your home is already filled with Fire tech, it’ll make a great addition. The Recast is essentially a 500GB hard drive that lets you record and store shows from an HDTV antenna, or a cable box if you’d like. This model also includes two simultaneous tuners so you can record multiple shows from your HD network signals. That means you’ll never miss a primetime minute of Fox, CBS, NBC, ABC and more. It’s great for catching a season premiere or for making sure you don’t miss a sports game.

As long as you have a Fire-app-compatible mobile device, you can also stream live TV from the box onto your phone or tablet. That means you could be at the airport or on a train and stream live network shows in the palm of your hand. You do need to have an existing HD antenna to pick up these signals from your TV, and you’ll also need a Fire TV or Fire Stick to set up the box with. But if you have both, it makes a great, Alexa-enabled DVR/Slingbox-type hybrid.

Tested by

How We Tested

We bought three of our readers’ favorite Amazon devices that our reviewers tested for 40 hours. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using these devices, from compatibility to usefulness. We’ve outlined the key takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.

What to Look for in an Amazon Device

Type of Alexa device - Many of the devices on this list are Alexa speakers, but the type of device you need depends on what you plan on using it for. If you want a central hub to control all of your smart devices in your home, you may want to choose a more powerful device with a screen, like an Echo Show. If it’s a secondary unit, then the small Echo Dot might be a better choice.

Streaming TV - If you are looking at an Amazon device for streaming, there are several great options. Which one you choose depends on what you need. If you have a state-of-the-art home theater system with 4K and Dolby Atmos, then the Fire TV Cube is your best bet. If you want something a little more streamlined (and less expensive), but that still offers Alexa voice control, then the Fire TV Stick 4K is a better choice.

Use - Really, the most important consideration when choosing an Amazon device is what you’ll need it for. Amazon makes a lot of cool tech, and it all works very well. What’s more, most of their branded items are good quality and available at a reasonable price. The key is to think about what you want, and what you’ll use it for, and decide from there.

Test Results: Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

5

What We Like

  • Easy to use

  • Convenient Alexa voice control

  • Great picture quality

What We Don't Like

  • Not cordless

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K
Lifewire / Rachelle Janeczek
Amazon Fire TV Stick
Lifewire / Rachelle Janeczek
Amazon Fire TV
Lifewire / Rachelle JaneczekOwner
Amazon Fire Stick 4K
Lifewire / Rachelle Janeczek 
Amazon Stick 4K
 Lifewire / Rachelle Janeczek

The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K came highly recommended by our testers for its functionality and ease of use. “[It’s] super helpful to have all of your streaming services in one place,” explained one of our reviewers. Another plus, according to our testers, is the picture quality. “Nothing is blurry or distorted, even small logos and graphics are super clear,” reported one of our reviewers. In fact, the only real negative mentioned by our testers was that it’s not cordless, but overall, the Alexa voice control sold our reviewers on this product. “The item I liked most was the Alexa and how easy she picks up information and leads you to the item you'd like to view,” one of our testers revealed.

Test Results: Kindle Paperwhite

4.5

What We Like

  • Great resolution

  • Optional backlight

  • Easy setup

What We Don't Like

  • Awkward to hold

Kindle Paperwhite
Lifewire / Claire Cohen
Kindle
Lifewire / Claire Cohen 
Kindle Paperwhite tablet
Lifewire / Claire Cohen
Kindle Paperwhite screen
Lifewire / Claire Cohen
Kindle Paperwhite amazon
Lifewire / Claire Cohen

Our testers loved almost everything about the Kindle Paperwhite, from its reading selection to the overall user experience. “The battery life, screen, touchscreen interactions, store, Goodreads integration, etc., all make it the best possible Kindle experience,” one of our reviewers raved. While our testers also found it extremely lightweight and portable, one of our reviewers thought the size was a bit awkward: “It's not really necessary to hold in two hands, but it's also not comfortable to hold in just one,” she explained. Still, our testers thought this was a great purchase for avid readers. “It is entirely parallel to reading from a real piece of paper, but only better because of the touchscreen controls and the optional backlighting,” one of our reviewers declared.

Test Results: Amazon Fire HD 8

3

What We Like

  • Great price

  • Durable

  • Helpful Alexa voice control

What We Don't Like

  • Audio is tinny

  • Not a lot of customization

Amazon Fire HD 8
 Lifewire / Jordan Provost
Amazon Fire HD 8
Lifewire / Jordan Provost
Amazon Fire HD 8
 Lifewire / Jordan Provost

While not super advanced in terms of speed and customization, our testers agreed that the Amazon Fire HD 8 gets the job done as a basic tablet at a great price. “This is easily one of the cheapest options on the market for a useful slate that will let you browse social media and stream content regularly,” one of our reviewers explained. Our testers also loved the Alexa voice integration, which one of our reviewers noted makes the tablet “very versatile.” In terms of negatives, our reviewers weren’t impressed by the audio quality and also said its speed makes it more suited to “basic browsing.”