The 12 Best Amazon Devices to Buy in 2018

Whatever you need, Amazon has it

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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

Kindle Paperwhite

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 WiFi 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

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 the direct access to Amazon Prime, which provides millions of movies, television shows, books, apps and games at your fingertips.

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 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.

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

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, Prime Video, 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.

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 (2nd Generation)

All-new Echo (2nd Generation)
Courtesy of Amazon.com

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.

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 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.

Fire TV Cube

This Alexa-enabled streaming device is hands-free, meaning that users can control the TV with their voice all the way across the room. By saying “Alexa” followed by a command like search, play, pause, or fast-forward, users don’t even have to use a remote. (The Fire TV Cube still comes with one, just in case.) In addition to navigating the streaming service with your voice, users can also control sound bars, cable boxes, and A/V receivers with Alexa. Because you can control your cable box, you can command your TV to change channels if you’re watching regular cable instead of streaming. The Fire TV Cube is capable of streaming 4K and HDR content and supports Dolby Atmos sound.

 Alexa can also control other smart home devices, such as thermostats or Ring security cameras. Alexa will even work even if the TV is turned off, so users can dim the lights or adjust the temperature without having to turn on the TV first. While calling and messaging, multi-room music, and Bluetooth connections to mobile phones won’t work with the Fire TV Cube, the device is still a great option if you’re a fan of Alexa already.

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.

Peet's Coffee Dash Button

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.