Best Products Smart Home 80 80 people found this article helpful The 9 Best Amazon Devices Whatever you need, Amazon has it by Meredith Popolo Writer Meredith Popolo is a Stockholm-based writer specializing in consumer technology. She has written for PCMag.com and Geek.com among others. our editorial process Twitter Meredith Popolo Updated on December 02, 2020 Smart Home Audio Camera & Video Car Audio & Accessories Computer & Laptops Computer Components Gaming Gifts Networking Phones & Accessories Smart Home Software Tablets Toys & Games TVs Wearables View More Tweet Share Email 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. The Rundown Best for TV: Amazon Fire TV Cube at Amazon "Setup is easy and the Fire Cube itself is nondescript enough to fit in with any home entertainment unit." Best for Reading: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite at Amazon "Combined with a 300 ppi glare-free screen, there’s now no excuse not to do some serious reading at the pool or beach." Best for Alexa: Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) at Amazon "An amazing feature set at a very reasonable price." Best Smart Hub: Amazon Echo Show 8 at Amazon "The Echo Show 8 is a great smart home hub, thanks to its large, 8-inch HD screen, intuitive controls, and built-in privacy safeguards."" Best for Music: Amazon Echo Studio at Amazon "The Echo Studio offers sharp, clear sound, along with the intuitive ability to adapt sound to suit the acoustics of the room." Best All-purpose: Amazon Echo (4th Gen) at Amazon "A powerful, versatile smart speaker and a tremendous value." Best for Exercise: Amazon Echo Buds at Amazon "Amazon’s Echo Buds are coming for Apple’s AirPods, and we definitely see some advantages with Amazon’s wireless earbuds." Best for Kids: Amazon Echo Glow at Amazon "Although it pairs with the Alexa app, the Glow doesn't have Echo built in, and we're glad to see Amazon putting privacy first." Best Smart Plug: Amazon Echo Flex at Amazon "Despite being little, it works well for voice control, and is an easy way to bring Alexa into additional parts of your home." Best for TV: Amazon Fire TV Cube 4.6 Buy on Amazon Buy on Best Buy What We Like Offers voice control, 4K Ultra HD content, and smart home compatibility Faster than the first-generation model What We Don't Like No way to remove ads from the home screen The 2nd Gen Fire Cube is impressive for its improved speed over the first edition, thanks to its strong hexa-core processor and ability to stream 4K Ultra HD content with virtually no lag times. It’s also supported by Dolby Vision. The Fire Cube is Amazon’s streaming device, and, while it may not replace your TV remote completely, it’s a seriously impressive addition to your home entertainment system. Ask Alexa to play from your Netflix or Prime Video accounts, or to switch over to football. Even if the TV is off, voice control via Alexa is still possible to turn off the lights, check the weather, or any other command. Setup is easy and the Fire Cube itself is nondescript enough to fit in with any home entertainment unit. While we’d love to see the option to remove ads from the home screen, it’s overall the best Amazon product for your TV. Amazon Fire TV Cube Review Best for Reading: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 4.5 Buy on Amazon Buy on Best Buy What We Like Waterproof e-reader with 300 PPI glare-free screen Works with Audible for Bluetooth-enabled listening Available in 8GB or 32GB What We Don't Like Frequent readers would appreciate longer battery life Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2018) Review The Kindle has long been a favorite with readers everywhere, but the newest Kindle Paperwhite is worth the upgrade. It’s now waterproof, not just water-resistant, and is the thinnest model yet. Combined with a 300 PPI glare-free screen, there’s now no excuse not to do some serious reading at the pool or beach. The Paperwhite is offered in Black or Twilight Blue, along with the option of 8 GB or 32 GB storage. It can also pair with Audible to turn your Kindle into an audiobook, and Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity mean you’re always able to download your next read. Kindle claims the battery will last six weeks, but that's based on a half-hour of reading per day without wireless connectivity. In practice, avid readers are likely to go through the battery in days, not weeks. The 7 Best Kindles of 2020 Best for Alexa: Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) 4.1 Buy on Amazon What We Like Attractive new look Improved design Environmentally friendly materials Still has 3.5mm jack What We Don't Like Few internal improvements over predecessor No keyhole mount The latest Amazon Echo (the 4th generation of the flagship smart speaker) comes standard with a very useful, built-in protocol that lets it function as a true smart hub: Zigbee. Zigbee support means the new Echo Dot can directly and seamlessly control devices like smart thermostats and smart light bulbs, making it a widely-compatible and user-friendly choice for a smart hub. Combining the functionality of the previous Echo and Echo Plus means you no longer need to buy separate devices; everything you need to start building your integrated smart home is inside this brand new Echo. The aesthetic design is brand new too, along with a number of performance upgrades. The 4th generation has ditched the cylindrical look of previous models in lieu of a sleek looking (and kind of adorable) spherical design. This isn't just a visual upgrade: it also improves sound quality. This cute sphere is available in three color variations, as well: charcoal, glacier white, and twilight blue. It looks a bit more premium, blends in with all kinds of decor, and features that signature gradient light ring, now on the bottom of the unit. Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) Review "The new Echo Dot is a great speaker at a great price...for first-time buyers, it's a no brainer." — Erika Rawes, product tester Best Smart Hub: Amazon Echo Show 8 Buy on Amazon What We Like Functional and intuitive smart home hub, with an 8-inch screen and dual two-inch speakers Control your smart home, view photos, watch videos, or cook along to recipes with Alexa What We Don't Like Video calling limited to friends and family who also have Echo Shows The Echo Show 8 is a great smart home hub, thanks to its large, 8-inch HD screen, intuitive controls, and built-in privacy safeguards. The latest edition from the Echo Show family of home hubs, the 8 is a perfect mix of the smaller Show 5 and the larger Show, with a 10” screen. Link the Show 8 with your Amazon Photo account to turn your screen background into a personalized photo album, control your smart home devices verbally or via the screen, and create customized morning updates and news reports to start and end your day. It can also double as an entertainment screen for playing Prime Video, music, or to guide you through recipes. It’s also very useful for calling and video calls, but the latter is currently limited to friends and family who also have Echo Shows—we’d love to see them become Skype or Zoom-enabled. The 9 Best Smart Hubs of 2020 Best for Music: Amazon Echo Studio Buy on Amazon What We Like Dolby Atmos and five speakers create a dynamic and cinematic sound for the home Voice controls for music compatible with Pandora, Spotify, Amazon Music, and more What We Don't Like Large size can look out of place in a smaller apartment or room The Echo Studio delivers a premium surround sound experience, thanks to five speakers packed into an aesthetically-pleasing round design, aided by Dolby Atmos technology. Amazon’s first entry into the premium home speaker market offers sharp, clear sound, and adapt to suit the acoustics of the room. Of course, Alexa is enabled in the Echo Studio, and you can also control your music using your voice. Luckily, this is not limited to Amazon Music—Pandora, Spotify, Tidal, and even Apple Music are all supported. With a subscription to Amazon Music HD, you also open the floodgates to over 50 million songs in the collection. Although the Echo is certainly an impressive product, its larger size may be a bit overwhelming in smaller rooms. The surround sound market is also so saturated with quality products already, it'll be interesting to see how the Echo stacks up. The 8 Best Smart Speakers Best All-purpose: Amazon Echo (4th Gen) 4.4 Buy on Amazon What We Like New round design Improved sound Includes Zigbee Hub Temperature sensor built in Faster processing What We Don't Like One less mic Takes up more desk space Amazon Echo (4th Gen) Review The latest Amazon Echo (the 4th generation of the flagship smart speaker) is the big brother of the Echo Dot, and also features Zigbee, meaning it's ready out of the box to become the brain of your smart home setup. Alexa functionality means it's intuitive, powerful, and easy to use, and it's also a fantastic smart speaker in its own right (enhanced by the new spherical design). That aesthetic design, like the Dot's, eschews the old cylindrical form factor for a visually pleasing sphere, with the indicator light ring moved to the bottom. It will softly illuminate whatever surface its perched on, and the new Echo looks at home in practically any room or amongst any decor. The Alexa functionality is also better than ever, meaning you’ll be able to ask questions, check the weather, and a whole lot more (Amazon has built an Alexa library that is more than 50,000 skills strong). But the real standout feature here, in our eyes, is the speaker setup. The Echo has a 3-inch neonadium woofer and dual 0.8-inch tweeters, which means it has an additional tweeter compared to its predecessor. In her review, Erika calls out the exceptional Dolby speakers and the Echo's ability to adjust sound output to the shape and contour of a room. The 10 Best Smart Home Products of 2020 "A worthwhile investment, the new Echo looks better, sounds better, and it performs better in just about every category." — Erika Rawes, Product Tester Best for Exercise: Amazon Echo Buds 4.5 Buy on Amazon What We Like Alexa-enabled wireless earbuds, allowing you to stream music, order food, or get directions – all hands-free Clear, crisp audio, enhanced by Bose Active Noise Reduction Technology to minimize background noise Adjustable sizing What We Don't Like Shorter battery life than some of its competitors Amazon’s Echo Buds are coming for Apple’s AirPods, and we definitely see some advantages with Amazon’s wireless earbuds. The sleek, black earbuds are comfortable to wear, thanks to a customizable fit, and the built-in Bose Active Noise Reduction Technology reduces unwanted background noise, making sound quality clear and dynamic. The Echo Buds are compatible with Alexa, via the Alexa app, allowing you to have full voice control, hands-free. Although the battery life is decent, offering up to five hours of music playback per full charge, this isn’t quite as long as some of the other wireless earbuds on the market. Best for Kids: Amazon Echo Glow Buy on Amazon What We Like A kid-friendly nightlight that works with Alexa, but isn’t equipped with an Echo microphone, ensuring privacy Fun settings like campfire mode and color flow Rainbow Timer is useful for morning and bedtime routines What We Don't Like Expensive for what is essentially a color-changing nightlight If you’re looking to gently introduce your children to smart home technology and Alexa, consider the Echo Glow. It’s a simple, yet smart, nightlight, which can change colors. Although it pairs with Alexa via the app, the Glow doesn't have Echo built-in, and we're glad to see Amazon putting privacy first. Morning alarms can be set via the Glow, and the Rainbow Timer feature, which counts down the time by changing color, is useful for helping develop routines. The fun color changing settings are popular with kids, such as campfire mode and color flow, and we can certainly see how the Glow could inspire creativity during playtimes. Best Smart Plug: Amazon Echo Flex Buy on Amazon What We Like Super affordable Can plug in anywhere in your house Built-in USB port is handy for charging or motion sensor What We Don't Like Most useful features require separate accessories The Echo Flex is a compact Echo that plugs into any wall socket in your home, allowing you to extend the reach of Echo to additional rooms. Although it may seem excessive, the Flex is a budget-friendly way to expand your smart home’s reach, and its small size makes it unobtrusive. Despite being little, it works well for voice control and is an easy way to bring Alexa into additional parts of your home. The Flex also comes with a USB port, which is useful for phone or device charging, or it can also be used for one of the Flex’s accessories, which can be purchased separately, such as a motion sensor or a night light.