In Short

Android Central Choice Award

The Amazon Echo at its heart is a Bluetooth speaker, able to connect to just about anything. But its real power lies in its brains. Amazon's basically crammed what you'd expect to find from Google Now or Apple's Siri into this little cylinder. And that means you can ask it question. Tell it to play music. Or add items to a shopping list. Or order things directly from Amazon. Get news, weather and more. And it's integrated all sorts of other services into it.

All from one 9-inch speaker.

Echo for most of 2015 was only available via an invite system. But in June Amazon opened purchases to anyone and everyone, for $179. (That's a good bit more than the early adopters had to pay.) But the Echo has easily become one of our favorite accessories of the year.

Buy Echo at Amazon

On March 3, 2016, Amazon introduced a newer, more compact version of the Echo, dubbed the Echo Dot. The Echo Dot features many of the same features as that of its older sibling, but doesn't feature the larger Bluetooth speaker. It can however connect to external speakers, bringing more options to its voice functionality in your smart home.

Echo Dot can currently be purchased by Prime members through their Amazon Echo devices (weird, right?)