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4 months ago

5 Best Ways To Use Your Amazon Echo

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Amazon Echo can make your life easier in innumerable ways.

Millions of people bought an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot for their homes in 2016 — and maybe you were one of them! Thanks to the growing number of skills available for Alexa, Amazon's voice-controlled AI assistant, you can make use of Amazon Echo countless different ways in different rooms in your house.

In fact, thanks to the way you can set up multiple Amazon Echo and Echo Dots throughout a house, you might be inspired to get a Dot or two for more coverage throughout your home. Here's some of our favorite ways to use Alexa to make life easier at home.

See at Amazon

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4 months ago

Kingston's latest USB flash drive offers an astounding 2TB storage

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A flash drive with more storage than your desktop.

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At CES, Kingston announced the DataTraveler Ultimate GT, a USB flash drive that offers 2TB of storage. The drive features a case made out of zinc-alloy for improved durability, and the storage capacity means you can carry over 70 hours' worth of 4K video in your pocket.

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4 months ago

WeMo's new smart dimmer solves the problem of LED light flickering

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Belkin's WeMo is back with a couple more smart home gadgets to make your life easier.

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As it has every year for as long as we can remember, Belkin's WeMo brand is launching a couple of neat new smart home products at CES, set to be released in the next few months.

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4 months ago

LeEco wants you to ride its Android-powered smart bicycles

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LeEco, the Chinese company whose recent push into the U.S. has been met with excitement, trepidation and more than a little skepticism, is launching a pair of smart bicycles at CES 2017, powered by the company's own Android 6.0-based BikeOS.

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4 months ago

Lenovo's making a prettier Amazon Echo and a smarter home NAS

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Alexa, show me Lenovo's new stuff.

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In addition to a slew of new PCs, Lenovo's bringing a slew of new connected home accessories to CES 2017. Chief among them are a new smart home network drive, their take on an Amazon Echo-style device, and a handheld keyboard that includes the most sensitive of keys.

Lenovo Smart Assistant

What if you could make a fancier-looking Amazon Echo? That must be the question that Lenovo's engineers asked themselves when cooking up the "Lenovo Smart Assistant with Amazon Alexa". This cylindrical connected smart speaker is an Echo clone if we've ever seen one; it's the fruit of a Lenovo-Amazon partnership, and there's anything wrong with that. It even bakes in the same Amazon Alexa software, includes eight far-field noise-cancelling microphones, and a pair of speakers — a 5W tweeter and a 10W woofer.

Looks-wise, it's like a fancier Echo, with a fabric speaker grill below a solid upper half, plus a raised control surface on the top ringed by a chrome volume ring. That fabric grill comes in multiple color options, though they aren't removable (a la Google Home). You'll have your choice of a white upper half with grills in light gray, green, or orange, or an all-black Harman Edition model that includes an additional 2-inch acoustic sound cavity for enhanced audio performance.

There's one big difference between an Amazon Echo and the Lenovo Smart Assistant: price. The standard Smart Assistant starts at $129.99, while the Harman Edition version will run $179.99 (the retail price of Amazon's Echo). Both versions are expect to be available in May 2017.

Lenovo Smart Storage

There are standard NAS devices, and then there's this. You could call the Lenovo Smart Storage device the next generation of the Network Attached Storage unit, and that's essentially what it is: a smart NAS. Packed inside the compact pinched white box you'll find 2TB or 6TB of hard drive storage, a dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac antenna, and a dual-core 1.6GHz Intel Celeron processor.

More than just a mere hard drive with Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity, the Lenovo Smart Storage is packed with software to make it, well, smart. Auto Sync will help to automatically back up your files, it includes DLNA so you can stream movies on it to your TV, and even facial recognition software to scan and organize your photo library by people. There's also a USB port on the back — plug in your drive, press a button on the Smart Storage, and it'll back up everything on the drive.

If that piques your interest, you'll be able to grab one in May 2017, with the a starting price for the 2TB version of $139.99.

Lenovo 500 Multimedia Controller

There's a user interface flaw in most smart TVs: if you want to search for anything, or log into any installed apps, you're either clicking around an on-screen keyboard with a remote control or dictating into a microphone and hoping it understood you correctly. While plenty of TVs offer Bluetooth support so you can connect a keyboard, who wants to keep a big slab of a keyboard in the living room, let alone try and balance it on their laps? Enter the Lenovo 500 Multimedia Controller, a compact keyboard that fits into your hands and has a trick up its sleeve.

At first glance it looks like a standard, but compact, albeit it with an advertised 66-foot range to the 2.4GHz USB receiver (twice the range of a typical Bluetooth device). It's designed to fit comfortably in both hands so you can type with your thumbs — it's roughly the size as the on-screen keyboard of a 7-to-8-inch tablet in portrait orientation. But there's more: the entire keyboard is also touch sensitive — swipe across them and they're a trackpad to move the cursor on the screen along with left/right mouse buttons below the keys. Pair it with a Windows 10 PC (perhaps a Stick PC plugged into your TV) and it even supports multi-finger gestures.

The Lenovo 500 Multimedia Controller is expected to be available in March 2017 for a reasonable $54.99.

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4 months ago

A Bluetooth controller fixes everything wrong with the NES Classic

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The NES Classic ships with a wired controller — and with a rather short cable, at that. The NES30 Bluetooth gamepad fixes that.

For everything that's great about the NES Classic — and there's a lot that is really fun here — one glaring black mark remains.

Wired controllers suck. And more than that, the wired controller that comes with the NES Classic is ridiculously short. Maybe not for 1987, but this ain't gonna cut it by 2017's standards.

And so we turn to Bluetooth.

The NES30 Classic Edition Wireless Controller Set from 8Bitdo was one of the first out of the gate. (At least that I initially found on Amazon.) And it's the first one we're taking a look at.

The obvious differences: No wire. That's a big one. But almost as big is that you get more buttons. It's really more of a hybrid — Super Nintendo layout in the original NES form. So that's taken my brain a little getting used to.

Pairing was simple enough. Turn off the NES Classic, plug in the receiver (I recommend using Port 1 for this, otherwise you won't be able to navigate the NES Classic menu system). Next, hold down the Start button on the controller for 3 seconds, then press the orange button on the receiver to initiate pairing. It shouldn't take too long at all. You'll see the blue LED on the controller and the blue LED on the receiver stop blinking once they're paired. (The second LED on the controller is to show when it's fully charged — there's a very short microUSB cable in the box to help with that.)

And ... That's that. The controller isn't quite the same shade of gray as the one that comes with the NES Classic, and that's a shame. But it's also a small price to pay to get rid of the wires.

See at Amazon

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4 months ago

Make tracking your weight in 2017 easier with 40% off this Withings Wi-Fi scale!

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Right now you can save 40% on the Withings Wi-Fi connected scale, dropping the price down to just $78. This scale is a great way to easily track your weight loss or gains and help you stay on track to hit those 2017 goals you set for yourself. Normally priced at $130, you won't want to miss out on this $52 savings on the scale that can track your weight, BMI, body fat, muscle, bone mass and more.

If you are looking for a great way to track your progress and keep yourself motivated, be sure to pick one of these up now! Odds are it won't last long at this price, so be sure to act quick!

See at Amazon

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4 months ago

Best External Drive for your Chromebox

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Chrome doesn't only run on laptops.

Chromeboxes make great computers for plenty of people. In households where there are kids, they're the perfect desktop computer for homework, and attached to your TV they bring the internet and everything that comes with it to your big screen. But you might need more storage to get the most from one.

Chromeboxes aren't laptops. Chances are you're not tossing one into a backpack and setting it up at Starbucks; instead, it sits quietly behind a screen of some sort and is always ready. That means there is no reason to try and get by with 16 or 32 GB of storage. Most models are easy to take apart and upgrade if you're the DIY type, but adding more storage for your stuff is as easy as plugging in a cable.

While any USB powered hard drive will work, we like these options.

Western Digital My Passport

Simple and cheap is what plenty of people are looking for when it comes to file storage. I'll add in dependable and say the WD My Passport is the best bargain external hard drive you can buy. It's a spinning disk drive so you won't be breaking any read speed records, but it's perfect for storing photos or music or video. If you plan to install Plex on your Chromebox this is your cheap storage option.

It's available in 1TB to 4TB options and starts around $60. They also come in a handful of different colors if it's sitting somewhere it will be seen. You'll be able to store plenty of stuff on the cheap with this one.

See at Amazon

Samsung T3

This is the other end of the spectrum. High-capacity and fast SSD drives are not cheap.

If you need a big boost in storage for your Chromebox but need to have SSD speeds, the Samsung T3 drive is one of the best ways to make it happen. They use Samsung's own 3D V-NAND to bring read/write speeds of up to 450MB/s over a USB 3.1 connection, are future-proof with a USB-C port, and aren't much bigger than a credit card. You can store and retrieve all of your stuff really fast if that's what you need.

All this comes at a price. The 250GB model starts about $120, and as size climbs higher so does the price tag until you get to the $700+ 2TB option.

See at Amazon

Anker 2.5 Inch USB 3.0 Hard Drive Enclosure

This enclosure from Anker will let you use almost any 2.5-inch drive as a USB 3.0 device that can plug right into your Chromebox.

Slide it open and drop any 7.5 or 9mm 2.5-inch drive inside, slide it shut and you're ready to plug it in. You don't need any tools and it only takes a few minutes — there is no need to have anxiety about building "computer stuff" because it really is this easy.

For less than $20 you can use one of your old hard drives or something like this 500GB Samsung 850 EVO to have those fast speeds without such a high price.

See at Amazon

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4 months ago

Keep your phone safe in the car with this $10 magnetic car mount!

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One of your resolutions for 2017 should definitely be to keep your phone out of your hands when you are driving, and this awesome magnetic car mount makes that so much easier. Anker's magnetic car mount is a simple way to keep your phone out of your hands but still in view so you can use it for navigation, music streaming and more. The strong magnet allows it to work universally with just about any phone, so it won't matter how often you switch you can use it with any device you have with you that day.

This $20 discount isn't likely to last very long, so you're going to want to pick one up sooner than later. Something like this makes for a great investment for each car you own, so be sure to grab a couple to keep your loved ones safe on the road.

See at Amazon

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4 months ago

Apple's AirPods may be the best Bluetooth earbuds for Android

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Can you use the AirPods with an Android phone?

I picked up a pair of AirPods last week, and have been using them with my iPhone, Mac and other Apple devices. The experience is fantastic — seamless, even — and the sound isn't half bad, either. When you first open the dental floss-like lid and place an iPhone nearby, the two gadgets talk to one another, and a little window pops up on the iPhone's screen to begin pairing.

But, not being an active iPhone user, the experience was short-lived. I turned to my LG V20 and asked, "Are you willing to behave the same way?" I placed the AirPods nearby, opened the dental floss lid, and nada. (Strain your credulity for just a moment, please.) But unlike the vast majority of Apple's Lightning-specific accessories, the AirPods use a common standard, Bluetooth, to actually pair with devices and play music on them. So, knowing that this was a possibility on Android, I set out to test the universality of Apple's latest sales phenom.

The pairing process

AirPods pair to an Android phone like any other Bluetooth device: relatively clumsily, and through the settings. Opening the lid and holding down on the earbud case's single button, the system is placed into pairing mode when the LED turns white. It should then show up in the phone's Bluetooth menu.

I did this reliably — more so than with most other Bluetooth headphones — a dozen or so times with various Android products, from phones to tablets, and the AirPods were found and connected quickly every time. It's unclear how much juice Apple's W1 chip gives to non-iDevices, but if nothing else it seems to be pointing things in the right direction.

Using them

Say what you will about the AirPods' design, but you really shouldn't dismiss them until you have them in your ears, jamming away untethered while you walk around the house or run errands. I've had the displeasure of using Bluetooth headphones that had one or more damning flaws, from discomfort to poor battery life, and the only thing I'd say about the AirPods is that they look a little funny, and take some time getting used to.

Once paired to any Android phone the experience was superb.

But once paired to any Android phone — I mainly used them with the LG V20 and Google Pixel — the experience was superb. Pairing, as said, was reliable, and I have yet to experience a lost connection. Even better, I've found them to be far more trustworthy over long distances than most other Bluetooth headphones; I've climbed stairs, closed doors, and even gone outside, all with my phone sitting two or more dozen feet away with no skips. Your mileage may vary, but these are the most problem-free Bluetooth headphones I've used to date, and if Apple's name wasn't on the box it would be a must-buy for many Android users.

The accelerometer in each of the AirPods also works as a gesture tool on Android. When paired with the iPhone, a double-tap on the side of either earbud activates Siri; on Android, the gesture functions as a play/pause button which, I'd argue, is far more useful. And it works, every time. (Not unlike how the Samsung Gear IconX earbuds work, in fact.)

The AirPods' case provides around 24-hours of additional battery life to the five hours inside the AirPods themselves. And though it may seem annoying having to carry around a second thing to keep the earbuds going, in practice it means they last longer, and are more easily charged, than any Micro-USB-based Bluetooth headphones I've owned to date. That you can pop them into the case for 10 minutes and gain an extra couple of hours of uptime is an added bonus. And while the case itself charges using Lightning, if you have an iPhone or iPad in your house, you can easily charge these, and there's an extra cable in the box. All you need is a USB-A port.

Sound quality

Here's where things get a bit muddy, for lack of a better pun. AirPods sound a lot like EarPods, Apple's in-the-box wired headphones. And while there's a bit more oomph to the bass line and a slightly more even sound at the high-end, this is by no means an audiophile experience. That Apple discourages the use of seal-tightening ear tips makes it even harder to find an ideal placement, and while I have been lucky enough to find a position where the AirPods fit nicely and sound full, other people may not be as lucky.

Is this $160 sound? Definitely not. At best, it's $100 sound. But that doesn't mean it's not worth buying.

Should you buy AirPods with an Android phone?

Yes, you pay an Apple tax, and I too balked at the $159 price, but even as an Android user I feel comfortable recommending them.

There are plenty of great Android-compatible Bluetooth headphones that are both cheaper and sound better than the Apple AirPods. But there are none that I want to walk around in my ears with as consistently, and that leads to me listening to more music for longer. Unlike other in-ear Bluetooth earphones, AirPods are comfortable enough for me to wear for hours with no discomfort, and sound good enough that I'm happy to do so. They're great for phone calls, too, and I've yet to receive complaints about sound quality from people on the other end of the line.

Yes, you pay an Apple tax, and I too balked at the $159 price, but even as an Android user I feel comfortable recommending them. AirPods are even more useful if you use a Mac, since the included W1 chip — the thing that makes it super easy to pair with an iPhone — also works with Apple's laptops, so it's easy to switch between phone and computer in a snap, if necessary.

I don't imagine I'll have much luck convincing the hardcore Android stalwart to buy a pair of AirPods — the product exudes "Appleness" in every atom — but Apple did so many things right with this product that I have to try.

See at Apple

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4 months ago

Best Clear Cases for Google Pixel

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What is the best clear case for the Google Pixel? There are a bunch, so let's take a look at some of them!

Want to show off your new Google Pixel but worried about it getting scratched up during daily use? A clear case is a great way to be able to let everyone see your shiny new phone, but most of the time they won't add a ton of protection to the phone. Some of them can add some extra grip, others are made from scratch-resistant materials, and most of them are pretty flexible and made to last for a long time.

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4 months ago

Amazon will sell you a 200GB microSD card today for just $63

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Amazon has once again dropped the price of the 200GB SanDisk microSD card to $63, which is a pretty great deal. While not the lowest price the card has ever hit, this is pretty close to it. Whether you need some additional storage in your phone, camera, drone, or even computer, you'll be thankful to have 200GB that is so portable. Load up your favorite pictures, movies, music and more to carry around with you all the time!

This deal is only good for today, December 30, so be sure to grab one now if you are interested!

See at Amazon

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4 months ago

Best Winter Accessories: What you need to stay warm and mobile

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If you're reading this in the Northern Hemisphere, it's winter time! You're probably huddled under your blanket with some hot cocoa and a warm laptop, trying to fend off Jack Frost in all his guises. But the sad reality is you're going to have to head outside sometime soon, for work or school or a snowball fight with the darned neighbor kids. You're not going to leave your tech behind when you go out, right? That laptop could probably protect you from more than a few snowballs...

MrMobile drops some holly-jolly knowledge about what you can wear this winter to look tight and keep your tech on you. If you need some winter gear, start your search right here with Michael Fisher.

PRODUCTS IN THIS VIDEO

SCOTTeVEST OTG Jacket [and end-of-year sale]: http://mrmobile.tech/5w

Brenthaven Collins Vertical Messenger Bag: http://mrmobile.tech/eb

LDWest Original Holster: http://mrmobile.tech/e9

Walli Smart Wallet: http://mrmobile.tech/ea

Star Trek USS Enterprise backlit schematic: http://mrmobile.tech/br

Star Trek Isolinear Chip Coasters: http://mrmobile.tech/c6

Stay warm, my friends

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4 months ago

Fashionable Touchscreen Gloves: Text With Style and Warmth

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 Text With Style and Warmth

Keep in touch with your phone, even when it's cold outside.

If you hail from colder climes, then you likely can't text outside from October until March — at least, not without some protection. Touchscreen gloves are a great way to keep using your phone outside, and function oftentimes trumps fashion in that market. But we've found some stellar style options that'll stand out and make your hands feel like they won the lottery.

If you're more into function than form, then check out our roundup of the best touchscreen gloves.

Men's

Burberry check wool and leather

Burberry

These checkered wool gloves from Burberry are the perfect way to keep your hands warm, while remaining fashionable and still able to text. They're sort of like driving gloves, with their flared cuff and sheep leather palms. They're also lined with 100% cashmere, for the utmost in luxury.

They come in either charcoal or navy.

See at Burberry


Barney's New York Tech-Smart suede gloves

Barney's New York

These fine suede gloves from Barney's come in black, blue, and "open", which is a dark, rich brown (my favorite).

They have three top-stitched, raised seams on the back to add an accent and design to the 100% real leather suede. The insides are lined with soft and warm cashmere.

See at Barney's New York


Gizelle Renee Theodore Gentlemen's Wooly Glove

Gizelle Renee

If the leather or suede looks don't tickle your fancy, then check out these wool gloves by Gizelle Renee. They have a contrast leather trim, which stands out from the sandy colored wool and adds an accent of sophistication.

The bespoke velcro fastener adds a standout accent as well, and the wrist features elastic, so you can tighten it as much as you like and still feel like you can move your wrists around.

See at Gizelle Renee


Dents Shaftesbury Touch Classic cashmere-lined leather gloves

Dents Shaftesbury

If you're looking for the classic black leather glove, but you still want touchscreen capabilities, then the Shaftesbury gloves from Dents of UK are the way to go. They feature the raised stitching on the back, classic cuff, and are, of course, lined with cashmere.

See at Amazon


Mujjo Double Layer touchscreen gloves

Mujjo

Mujjo's Double Layer gloves are the perfect marriage of function and fashion, made from durable wool, with rubber grips on the palms, a magnetic snap closure, and leather trim around the cuff.

If you live in colder climes (CANADA), but you still need to use your phone outside, then check out Mujjo's gloves and keep your fingers warm and your form fashionable.

See at Amazon


Women's

Echo Touch Long Knit leather glove

Echo

Want to look like a fair maiden who might ride side saddle on a horse and then slap someone in the face for thinking they're a damsel in distress? These are the gloves for you!

The Echo Touch gloves are a gorgeous blend of wool and sheepskin leather, with a cozy design that extends up the forearms ensuring warmth and that no snow gets in there (isn't that the worst?). The lace on the back is a lovely, simple accent and the added bonus of a touchscreen fingertip means you can keep warm and snap those Instas all day long.

See at Echo New York


UGG Classic Leather Smart Glove

UGG

Love the feeling of UGGs on your feet? Wouldn't it be great if hands were feet? OF COURSE NOT; WHAT ARE YOU, INSANE? But wouldn't it be awesome if that comfort and warmth could somehow be molded to fit your hands in the form of, say, a glove?

Well it can and is! The Classic Leather Smart Glove from UGG has the classic black leather glove look with a black rabbit cuff that adds a bit of flair and some assurance that snow won't sneak its way and and freeze your grabbers.

Comes in black, brown, chestnut and "Stormy Grey". Make sure you select the right size before checking out!

See at UGG


Marc by Marc Jacobs Rory Who

Marc Jacobs

If you love brand name, but want to have a bit of fun and stand out in the crowd, then the Rory Who gloves from the Spongebob tattoo-clad Marc Jacobs are a colorful way to stay warm and techy.

These gloves are red, yellow, blue, and white, with a fun striped pattern, made from 100% Merino wool with acrylic touchscreen-compatible fingertips.

See at Amazon


Glove.ly Metallic Leather touch screen gloves

Glove.ly

Glove.ly makes wonderful touchscreen gloves, and the metallic leather gloves are a shiny way to text in style. You have your choice of gold or silver, and you're not limited to one or two fingertips — you can use your whole hand on your touchscreen, thanks to what Glove.ly calls "Invisitouch" napa leather.

See at Glove.ly


Ralph Lauren Polo touch screen gloves

Ralph Lauren

If it's good enough for Rachel, then it's certainly good enough for all of us. These cashmere gloves from Ralph Lauren are beautifully knit and extended past the wrist for extra warmth.

If you don't think these are luxurious enough, just check out the colors they come in: Camel Melange, Belmont Purple Heather, Heritage Cream, and Montauk Purple.

They're all pretty and they're all touchscreen-compatible, so check it out.

See at Ralph Lauren


Your picks?

What's your favorite high-fashion touchscreen glove? Let us know in the comments below!

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4 months ago

This $15 accessory will transform the look of your Amazon Dot

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Accessorize your Echo Dot to fit the decor of every room in your house!

The Amazon Echo Dot allows you to access the power of Amazon's voice-controlled A.I. assistant Alexa from wherever you are in the room, with all that tech crammed into a package about the size of a hockey puck. And if you end up opting for the black color option, it'll really look like there's a hockey puck sitting on your end table. Or your kitchen counter. Or wherever you end up placing them around your house.

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