When science fiction was dreaming about how we'd interact with computers, one of the first ways we saw gain traction on TV was voice commands. Star Trek, for example, didn't come up with a touch screen but instead a speaker. This isn't surprising as speaking is the primary way we communicate with others so it makes sense to build tech that adapts to that.
The Amazon Echo Dot series is an affordable line of smart speakers that connect to Wi-FI and use Alexa to answer questions and complete actions. This is helped by the massive Alexa library of Alexa skills that help control your smart home tech. Amazon Echo devices are some of the best Alexa devices you can buy thanks to their size and price.
You can use Alexa on your Echo speaker to control Wi-Fi access, check your door locks, change the temperature, or even just play some music. Speaking of music, the Echo Dots have solid sound for their size and are great for some background music or listening to podcasts. This can all be controlled with your voice so you don't need to touch your phone each time you want to change the song which is especially useful with an Echo in the kitchen or bathroom.
Since Echo can do so much, it makes sense to be within earshot of one at all times. Luckily, Cyber Monday savings have made these smart speakers cheap enough that you can get one for every room your frequent.
Get two Echo Dots for $50 or bundle one with a Philips smart light for maximum savings
Amazon Echo Dot (5th gen):
$49.99 $24.99 at Amazon
Amazon's Echo Dot is available in three colors: Glacier White, Charcoal, and Deep Sea Blue. This smart speaker has some big upgrades over older generations with a slightly larger speaker at 1.73 inches and some extra features like a temperature sensor, motion sensor, and eero support built-in. That is, this can act as an eero mesh extender.
The light ring on the bottom makes it easy to see when the Echo Dot is listening and the dedicated mic off button helps you to be confident Alexa isn't listening to anything you don't want it to.
Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (5th gen): $59.99 $39.99 at Amazon
With all of the features of the standard Echo Dot, Echo Dot with Clock adds a digital clock to the front. That clock display can also be used for other tasks too, such as displaying a song name or the current weather. Echo Dot with Clock is an excellent addition to a bedside table, or really, any room where you get ready for school or work.
You can also get your Echo Dot with a free Philips Hue smart lightbulb so make sure you add the right bundle to your cart. There are a few other bundles as well as one including an eero router. Since the 5th generation of Echo Dot supports eero mesh expansion, you can start a mesh Wi-Fi deployment with just a single eero and an Echo Dot.
These bundles are on the same product page so be sure you're adding the one you want to your cart.
Amazon Echo Dot Kids (5th gen):
$59.99 $29.99 at Amazon
This Echo Dot has a special colorful design to appeal to kids. You can get one with a dragon design or an owl to help your kids express themselves a bit. Rather than asking if they've remembered to turn off the hallway light, you can ask if they told Alexa to do so.
Amazon Echo Glow: $29.99 $16.99 at Amazon
Echo Glow is simply a smart light in a form factor that matches your Echo Dot. It's smart thanks to Alexa and can act as an automated night light or even as a light to help you wake up in the morning. With RGB control, you can set it to be whichever color works best for the room or time of day. You'll need an Echo device to use this light.
Amazon Echo Dot (3rd gen):
$39.99 $14.99 at Amazon
This older Echo Dot is simply a smart speaker with Alexa. It has a slightly smaller speaker driver than the current generation Echo Dot but should still be fine for spoken word programs or hearing responses from Alexa. If you're looking for the cheapest way to get Alexa in a room, this is it.
Keep in mind that this Echo Dot doesn't come with the temperature sensor, motion sensor, or eero-built in like the fourth and fifth generation Dots.
As mentioned, Amazon Echo Dot now works with eero mesh systems. If you have an eero mesh or are ready to upgrade to one, you can use either Echo Dot (5th gen) or Echo (4th gen) as an eero mesh extender. Echo Dot (4th gen) is getting eero support with a software update. These aren't the fastest eero mesh extenders in the world but they can help keep your internet running smoothly in all parts of your home.
If you want an Echo for listening to music, it's worth it to upgrade to the Amazon Echo (4th gen) or the Echo Studio. Amazon Echo (4th gen) looks a lot like Echo Dot in pictures but it's quite a bit bigger and has much more speaker power.
Looking for bigger sound? Amazon Echo and Echo Studio are on sale too
Amazon Echo (4th gen):
$99.99 $49.99 at Amazon
This Echo speaker is available in three colors: Glacier White, Charcoal, and Twilight Blue. This Echo is a beefier unit with a three-inch woofer for bass tones and two 0.8-inch tweeters for high-pitched tones. This speaker array allows the Amazon Echo to deliver much richer audio and will sound better in a large room.
If you're getting an Echo with the intent of listening to music on it, it should be this Echo, or the next one down.
Amazon Echo Studio:
$199.99 $154.99 at Amazon
The Amazon Echo Studio is an Echo that's focused on delivering the best audio experience possible. There's a large tweeter on top for high tones, three mid-tone speakers in the middle, and a large 5.3-inch subwoofer on the bottom. This speaker even as an optical input so you can plug a wide range of CD players, game consoles, or TVs into it.
Our Echo Studio review noted the powerful bass and rich audio thanks to its speaker array. This speaker packs the most punch and will be the best pick for bass-heavy music. The extra speaker range due to the component layout may also help you notice more depth in your favorite music such as a bass line or percussion rhythm that would be drowned out on a single small speaker
Amazon has an Echo device so just about any size room or use. Getting a powerful Echo can help eliminate multiple devices from your room since you won't need a speaker system with the Echo Studio nearby. Still, if you want an Echo in a room where you already have a speaker system, the built-in 3.5mm auxiliary out port makes it quick and easy to hook into a speaker system.
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When Samuel is not writing about networking or 5G at Android Central, he spends most of his time researching computer components and obsessing over what CPU goes into the ultimate Windows 98 computer. It's the Pentium 3.