The 11 Best Amazon Devices to Buy in 2017

Whatever you need, Amazon has it

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.

At the 2017 Emmys, Hulu made history as the first streaming service to win an award for Best Drama (“Handmaid’s Tale”) and Netflix drew applause for its 91 nominations (and 20 wins), thanks to shows like “Stranger Things,” “Master of None” and “House of Cards.” It’s clear that TV as we know it as changed.

To help you keep up with the changing times, Amazon has an all-new Fire TV, a streaming media player that puts all your favorite shows, movies and streaming apps at your fingertips. You can watch Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube, HBO, Showtime, STARZ and many, many more, assuming you have subscriptions, that is. You can still watch live TV and sports, too, with subscriptions to Hulu, PlayStation Vue and Sling TV, or hook up an HD antenna to get free broadcast networks like NBC and PBS.

It comes with an Alexa Voice Remote, so if you’re too lazy to stretch for the clicker, you can use voice commands to search and play content. (Pro tip: You can also integrate it with other smart home devices, so you can dim the lights and even order pizza without getting up.)

This Fire HD 8 tablet from Amazon is made specifically for kids. It comes with one year free of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, which collects books, TV shows and movies suitable for kids ages 3-12 – all of which can be enjoyed on its beautiful eight-inch 1280 x 800 (189 ppi) display. It also has parental controls, so you can set bedtime curfews, manage screen time and block specific content until homework or reading is done. With Amazon FreeTime, kids can’t access the Internet or social media and they can't make in-app purchases.

If that’s not safe enough, the Fire HD 8 also includes a kid-proof protective case and a two-year warranty for added peace of mind. If your kid breaks the tablet, Amazon will replace it for free with no questions asked.

What can the Echo Dot do? A better question is: What can’t it do? Use it to play your favorite music, order a ride from Uber, lock your doors, adjust your thermostat, restock kitchen staples and much more. The small, voice-controlled device connects to Amazon’s Alexa, so you can make calls, check the weather and hear sports scores, all hands-free. To wake the Dot, just say “Alexa,” and follow with your request. It’ll hear you from across the room, even over music, thanks to its array of seven microphones that use beam-forming technology and enhanced noise cancellation.

Echo Dot connects with smart home devices from the likes of Philips Hue, TP-Link, Sony, ecobee, WeMo, SmartThings, Insteon, Lutron, Nest, Wink and Honeywell, so you can truly automate your household. By adding “Skills,” there’s really no limit to its capabilities.

Like the Echo Dot, Amazon’s second-generation Echo is a voice-controlled device that can integrate with all your other smart home devices to control pretty much any aspect of your household you desire. (OK, maybe not your kids.) On top of that, it includes a 2.5-inch woofer and .6-inch tweeter to play 360-degree omnidirectional audio. Just ask Alexa for a specific song or genre from Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora or other another streaming service, and it’ll start playing rich audio throughout your home. Like the Dot, it has seven microphones that use beam-forming technology and enhanced noise cancellation to hear you from across the room, even over music. It’s a bit pricier than the Dot, but is your best bet if you want a virtual home assistant with integrated speakers.

Still want more from your virtual home assistant? Upgrade from the Echo to the full-featured Echo Show. You’ll get a smart device with a seven-inch colored screen that can broadcast breaking news clips, monitor security cameras, display shopping lists, video call friends and family and more. All you have to do is ask Alexa. It has dual two-inch speakers powered by Dolby and has eight microphones to pick up your voice even greater distances. It’s simple to set up and use, making it a great gift for a busy parent who has too many details to keep track of, or a forgetful grandparent who needs some gentle reminders but can’t be bothered to learn about new technology.

One controversial feature is “Drop In,” which lets you connect instantly with other Echo devices in your home or your closest family and friends. This lets you check on a sleeping baby or check in on an elderly relative with no interaction needed on the receiving end. “Thank You, Amazon, for creating an amazingly personally helpful tool for the elderly,” writes one happy reviewer.

Amazon essentially created the e-reader category when it introduced the Kindle, and it has maintained dominance ever since. The Kindle Paperwhite is the company’s most popular Kindle, thanks in part to its six-inch, high-resolution (300 ppi), no-glare touch screen that reads like paper. It weighs just over seven ounces, which makes it easy to hold with one hand, and has four built-in LED lights to make for easy reading in dim settings. Our favorite features include an instant translation feature (powered by Bing Translator), a Time to Read indicator that predicts how long it will take you to finish the chapter based on your personal reading speed, as well as an X-ray view that lets you scan the book for passages that mention relevant ideas, characters or topics. Bundle the Paperwhite with a subscription to Kindle Unlimited for unlimited reading and listening and it makes a perfect gift for the bookworm on your list.

The first thing you notice about Amazon’s Fire HD 10 tablet is its beautiful, 10.1” 1080p Full HD display with 1920 x 1200 resolution. With over two million pixels (224 ppi), movies, YouTube clips, photos and games are stunning. It houses two 1.8 GHz cores and two 1.4 GHz cores to launch your favorite apps faster, and a double dose of RAM makes the HD 10 up to 30 percent faster than the previous model. It has a rear-facing two-megapixel camera for shooting photos, plus a front-facing VGA camera ideal for video calls and selfies. It’s the first Fire tablet featuring hands-free Alexa, Amazon’s smart assistant, and the company claims its battery will last up to 10 hours.

Deciding between the Fire HD 10 and an iPad? In tumble tests, the HD 10 proved to be more durable than the iPad 10.5-inch – and it costs about $500 less too!

Are you constantly running out of coffee? Get yourself a Peet’s Coffee Dash Button to ensure there’s a warm cup every morning. Just use the Amazon app to pair your Wi-Fi connected Dash button to the product, mount it next to your coffee machine or in the pantry, and press it when you’re running low. A small light will turn green to confirm your order is on its way. (It will turn red if there was an error with your order.)

Measuring about the size of a pack of gum, the buttons are small and additional buttons can be used to order other household staples as well, including Tide detergent, Charmin toilet paper and even Pepperidge Farm Goldfish.

AmazonBasic products are, as the name implies, very basic, but provide excellent performance at ​rock-bottom prices. That’s equally true for this wireless Bluetooth speaker. Its design is simple, measuring a portable 7.3 x 2.4 x 2.8 inches and coming in four basic colors: black, white, red and blue. It can play music from up to 30 feet from your smartphone, tablet or any other Bluetooth-enabled device and boasts up to 15 hours of wireless play time on a single charge. It houses two internal 3W speakers for solid sound and has a built-in microphone to make hands-free calling easy. To be blunt, if you’re looking for the best quality around, you’re better off checking out our list of the 9 Best Speakers to Buy. But if you want a speaker that works perfectly well and nothing more, you won’t go wrong here.

With so many high-end headphones out there, it’s easy to forget that you don’t have to pay a lot for performance. These AmazonBasics over-ear headphones are a perfect case in point. They have a 36 mm dome-type driver unit for premium sound, a frequency range of 12 Hz-22,000 Hz, and deliver 101 decibels (dB) and 1000mW maximum input level.

The design is about as basic as it gets, but many people will appreciate that. The cushioned ear pads make for comfortable listening and minimize surrounding sounds. The ear cups also swivel and fold flat for easy storage. One Amazon reviewer said the sound is on par with the premium Beats headphones, and while that’s up for debate, you certainly won’t find a better-valued pair anywhere.

For those looking to flex their photography muscles, this 60-inch lightweight tripod is a great accessory to get started with. It has adjustable legs and rubber feet to ensure a stable shot and is compatible with most video cameras, DSLRs, GoPros and even smartphones. The tripod weighs just three pounds, making it easy to tote around, and extends from 25 inches up to 60 inches. Thanks to two built-in bubble levels, you’ll know for sure that both the base and camera are level – a feature that is rare at this low price point.