Best Products With Amazon Alexa Android Central 2020
Whether you're looking for holiday gifts, or you want to outfit your smart home with more Alexa-enabled gadgets, there are a lot of options. These are some of our favorite devices that are made to work with or be controlled by Amazon's smart voice assistant. If you don't already have an Echo smart speaker, we recommend you pick up the revamped Amazon Echo (3rd Gen) to get started. It sounds great and comes in at a reasonable starting price. Of course, if you already have an Echo and just want to build out your smart home capabilities, well, we've got you covered there too.
- Best Smart Speaker with Alexa: Amazon Echo (3rd Gen)
- Best Smart Screen with Alexa: Amazon Echo Show 8
- Best Tablet with Alexa: Amazon Fire HD 10
- Best Wireless Earbuds with Alexa: Amazon Echo Buds
- Best Alexa Car Device: Roav Viva by Anker
- Best Phone with Alexa: Motorola One Action
- Best Smart Light for Alexa: LIFX Color Bulb
- Best Home Security Camera for Alexa: Ring Stick Up Cam
- Best Video Doorbell for Alexa: Ring Video Doorbell 2
- Best Toy for Alexa: Amazon Echo Glow
- Best Smart Thermostat with Alexa: ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control
- Best Smart Home Accessory with Alexa: Amazon Echo Flex
Best Smart Speaker with Alexa: Amazon Echo (3rd Gen)
The original Amazon Echo that debuted in late 2014 gave us our first introduction to Alexa, and we've been hooked ever since. What started out as a stark, black tube has evolved over three generations to a softer, gentler looking Alexa vessel, and has spawned an entire line of other Echo devices such as the Echo Dot with Clock, Echo Studio, and even the Echo Auto.
This third-generation "regular" Echo is the best of the series yet. It boasts an improved sound architecture over the first two generations and one that it borrowed from its more expensive Echo Plus (2nd Gen) sibling. As with several other Echo devices, you can connect two of these to create a stereo pairing, or you can connect it with your Fire TV for enhanced audio to go with your visual content.
The Amazon Echo (3rd Gen) is the Alexa smart speaker to get if you want great sound, but don't want to spend more than $100. If you don't care as much about the sound and want to save a few bucks you could get one of the Echo Dot varieties, or if you REALLY care about sound go for an Echo Studio. The Echo does not have a camera or screen, which is great for those concerned with privacy, but it does diminish its overall utility just a bit. Even still, this is our pick for the everyday Echo for most.
- Improved sound architecture
- Softer new design
- Can pair with another Echo or Fire TV for stereo sound
- Gorgeous new Twilight Blue color
- No screen or video calling
- Expensive compared to siblings
Best Smart Speaker with Alexa
The best place to start with Alexa
The Echo (3rd Gen) speaker is plusher than its predecessor and comes in a new color (Twilight Blue). It also has an improved sound architecture!
Best Smart Screen with Alexa: Amazon Echo Show 8
The Amazon Echo Show 8 is one of our favorite smart home devices of 2019, and our pick as the best Alexa device with a screen. It continued with the design cues of the earlier Echo Show (2nd Gen) and Echo Show 5, and borrowed some of the best features from each of those devices.
On its 8-inch screen, this Show boasts the same 800p resolution as the larger Echo Show (2nd Gen), but it also features the privacy-focused controls that debuted on the Echo Show 5, including a physical camera shutter and mute switch. The Echo Show devices are all still only available in Charcoal or Sandstone and not in the fun Twilight Blue or Plum colors of the third-generation of "regular" Echo and Dot speakers, but we think the design still looks nice. Plus, if you get an optional stand, you can change the angle/position of your Echo Show 8 as you wish.
While the Echo Show 8 is a great device for managing your smart home devices, watching videos, or even Amazon Prime content, it isn't the best speaker Amazon makes. There is no Dolby processing built-in, and the speaker sort of fires backward. It is also a nice device for video chatting, though the camera, which only clocks in at 1-megapixel, could afford to improve for the next generation. All-in-all though, we love this device for managing our smart home life with Alexa!
- Great size for screen
- Same screen resolution as larger Echo Show (2nd Gen)
- Privacy-focused camera shutter and mute switch
- No Dolby processing built-in
- Lower-quality camera than larger Echo Show
Best Smart Screen with Alexa
The Goldilocks zone
The Echo Show 8 comes in a more natural size that's easier to place than the Echo Show (2nd Gen). It's still comfy enough to watch recipes and videos on.
Best Tablet with Alexa: Amazon Fire HD 10
We can't say enough good things about the latest Fire HD 10 from Amazon. Now on its ninth version, this media consumption device continues to hit that sweet spot of affordability, durability, and family friendly-ness. For well-under $200 you get a hands-free digital voice assistant (Alexa), an HD screen, front and rear-facing cameras, expandable storage, and an easy onramp to all of the great content in the Amazon ecosystem.
We think the most underrated features on this device are its battery life and flexible storage options. For one thing, this tablet will last you 12 hours on a single charge, which is amazing for long flights or drives. You can also feel confident purchasing the base model with only 32GB of storage because then you can pick up additional microSD cards on the cheap and expand the storage up to 512GB.
While it is true that this device doesn't run Google Apps straight out of the box, even those who are not uber-nerds can follow the relatively simple instructions to add these after purchase. You can get into the Fire HD ecosystem for cheaper with the Fire HD 8, but it will cost you some extra screen real estate.
- Biggest and best Fire tablet
- Full HD screen
- Best-in-class family controls
- Mult-user support
- Expandable storage
- Doesn't ship with Google apps
- Most expensive Fire tablet that isn't for kids
Best Tablet with Alexa
One of the best media consumption devices you can buy
With its rugged build, low price, excellent parental control features, and multi-user support, the Fire HD 10 is a great family tablet.
Best Wireless Earbuds with Alexa: Amazon Echo Buds
It seems like every technology company has its own version of wireless earbuds these days. From Apple to Samsung, to Jaybird (and more), there are a lot of great options to stick some sound in your ear holes. However, if you want a pair of buds that give you hands-free access to Alexa, there is really only one option — the Amazon Echo Buds.
In addition to easy Alexa access (which works well by the way), the Echo Buds sound good. They feature a technology from active noise reduction (ANR), and a Passthrough mode that allows you to let him noises from the outside world instead of taking the buds out of your ears. Both features are great for when you want to be left alone, or when you need to hear your surroundings, and changing the state is as easy as double-tapping the buds. You can also go into the app and adjust the amount of outside noise you want to allow in while in Passthrough mode, and the EQ settings. Amazon also built in a way for you to easily invoke Google Assistant or Siri with just a tap, so you have the best of both worlds when it comes to smart assistants on the go.
As we mentioned in our recent review, the Echo Buds have about 4-5 hours of battery life on a charge, plus 20 with the case. That case charges only via micro-USB cable and does not feature the ability to wirelessly charge. It's also a little cheap feeling for a case. Bone of that matters when you're getting great sounding earbuds with Alexa for less than competitors are charging for their smart earbuds!
- Affordable truly wireless earbuds
- Great hands-free Alexa support
- ANR and Passthrough modes
- Can map Google Assistant or Siri to touch controls
- Charges via Micro-USB
- No wireless charging for case
- Case feels cheap
Best Wireless Earbuds with Alexa
Is there an Echo in-ear?
These wireless earbuds feel great and sound great, and you'll love having Alexa in your ears and available hands-free.
Best Alexa Car Device: Roav Viva by Anker
Apple has CarPlay and Google has Android Auto, but Amazon hasn't had a successful strategy to get Alexa into your car yet. Yes, it has Alexa Auto partnerships with some car manufacturers like Audi and Ford, but that hasn't seen as much adoption compared to its competition. So how can you get Alexa in your car? Amazon's answer was slow in coming and resulted in the Echo Auto, which received a lukewarm reception when it finally rolled out a year after being announced. Thankfully, other third-parties like Garmin and Anker/Roav have stepped in to fill the gap.
The Roav Viva came out in early 2018 and is an ingenious little accessory that plugs right into the power port/cigarette lighter in most cars. It sports two USB-A charging ports so you can keep your phones or other devices charged while driving, and it provides a means for you to interact with Alexa in a hands-free manner. You have to download the Roav app and connect it to your Amazon account before you use it, and then it operates with its built-in microphones and outputs sound via Bluetooth through your car's speakers.
This device is cheaper than Amazon's own Echo Auto product and is arguably better looking and easier to mount in your car without extra charging cables or vent clips. The main downsides to the device are that it may not fit well in every vehicle, and because it's a third-party device that has its own app, it takes up to 90 seconds after starting your car for Alexa to be ready to roll. Despite those drawbacks, the Roav Viva is our choice over the Echo Auto for an Alexa road trip.
- Half the price of Echo Auto
- Plugs right into power port so no need for loose cord/clip
- Two USB-A chargers built-in
- Bluetooth connection can be finicky
- May not fit well in all vehicles
- Requires separate app
Best Alexa Car Device
Alexa on the road
The Roav Viva is an inexpensive way to bring Alexa with you in the car, and charge your phones at the same time!
Best Phone with Alexa: Motorola One Action
You know that all iPhones come with Siri, and Android phones have various levels of access to the Google Assistant, but did you know that Amazon sells a number of Android models with Alexa access built-in as well? Not only do you get ready access to Alexa, but you can also pick these up more cheaply than through other avenues, and they can be purchased unlocked so you can use them on any carrier.
Out of all the Alexa built-in phones currently available, our favorite is the Motorola One Action. It sports a grand 21: 9 aspect ratio, which is awesome for watching movies or as a viewfinder for its impressive triple camera system. This is the phone to get if you want to take and edit video on the go, as it sports an ultra-wide action video camera (think GoPro but on your phone). It also has a nice and small selfie-cam cutout on the screen, so you can maximize that gorgeous 6.3-inch display.
While we really like the display, it is a bit of an unusual form factor if you're coming from a traditional 16: 9 screen. It also ships with Android 9 Pie, so you won't be getting the latest and greatest from Google right out of the box. However, taken altogether it's still a compelling phone with Alexa available at the push of a button.
- Easy Alexa access with a double-tap of the power button
- Unique and powerful camera
- NFC for mobile payments
- Works on all U.S. carriers
- 21:9 aspect ratio form factor may be awkward for some
- Android 9 Pie
Best Phone with Alexa
The best overall Alexa built-in phone
The Motorola One Action offers easy Alexa access, a great display, and an impressive camera package at a competitive price.
Best Smart Light for Alexa: LIFX Color Bulb
One of the first products most people get when setting up a smart home is a smart lighting device. These are often affordable, easy to assemble (simply screw in a bulb), and have an immediate and obvious impact. There are tons of options available when considering a smart lighting solution, but one of our favorites is the Color Bulb series from LIFX.
These LIFX bulbs have an interesting design (something that sounds funny to say about a light bulb), with a flattened out exposed portion that showcases the 16 million color options available to you. The bulbs connect directly to Wi-Fi without requiring a hub and thus are extremely easy to pair with Alexa.
We recommend picking up several of these for different rooms and creating lighting groups and smart lighting routines in the Alexa app. You can even connect them to the Alexa Guard routine to have your lights turn on or off automatically when you tell Alexa that you are leaving the house.
Keep in mind that these bulbs may be a little heavy for smaller lamps, and they tend to get a bit warmer than normal lightbulbs. Some reviewers have also reported that the setup process in the LIFX app can be a bit tedious. However, once you have these bulbs set up and in place in your home, we now you're going to enjoy using them!
- No hub required
- Supports 16 million colors
- More affordable than Philips Hue
- A bit heavy for lamps
- Can get warm for an LED bulb
- Setup process in LIFX app can be finicky
Best Smart Light for Alexa
SO MANY COLORS
The LIFX Color bulbs are a great addition to any smart home. With over 16 million color combinations, you can set a scene for any mood.
Best Home Security Camera for Alexa: Ring Stick Up Cam
Even before Amazon purchased Ring several years ago, the Ring video doorbells, cameras, and lights worked well with Alexa. Now that the company is a legitimate part of the Amazon ecosystem, the integration is better than ever. If you're looking to pick up a smart camera (or multiple cameras) to protect and monitor your property, you can't go wrong with the Stick Up Cam devices from Ring.
The Stick Up Cam was updated in late 2019 and has several configurations to choose from. You can get a wired or battery-powered version, and whichever option you pick can be converted to the other after the fact. The Cam can be used indoors or outdoors and iseasy to install either way. It's also available not only in standard white but in a striking black color too.
Most home security cameras offer a subscription plan to access and store video recordings, and with Ring this is no different. While being one of the more reasonably-priced plans, it is still an additional expense that you'll need to consider. Also, if all you want is an indoor camera, Ring offers a version that only works inside but that is almost half the price of the Stick Up Cam. Whichever version you go with, you can easily ask Alexa to show you your camera feed on your Echo Show, Fire tablet, or Fire TV device, so that you'll always be connected to your smart home.
- Can be used indoors and outdoors
- Available in wired or battery versions
- Available in black or white
- Wired version may require professional installation
- Subscription required to access recordings
- Almost twice the price of Ring's indoor-only model
Best Home Security Camera for Alexa
The new Ring Stick Up Cam is a great upgrade. It has the same great features of its predecessor, like 1080p HD video, two-way talk, and real-time notifications.
Best Video Doorbell for Alexa: Ring Video Doorbell 2
The original Ring Video Doorbell was a sensation in smart home protection and convenience, and while it's still available it has been improved upon in its second generation. The Ring Video Doorbell 2 adds better video quality (1080p vs 720p) and interchangeable faceplates so you can customize the look of your doorbell to better match your house.
Like the Ring Stick Up Cam, you can ask Alexa to "show me who's at the door," which is perfect for those times when you are too lazy to get up off the couch or if you are not at home. You can also carry on a conversation with your guests through Alexa, no matter where you are.
Also similar to the Ring Stick Up Cam, you will need to subscribe to Ring's subscription service if you want to keep or access old video footage, so keep that extra expense in mind when considering this doorbell. For some reason, Ring restricted the field of view from the previous version to this second edition. That's not ideal, but in practice, it shouldn't matter all that much for monitoring your front porch. What you get with this device is added security, peace of mind, and a way to monitor your home with Alexa's assistance.
- HD quality video
- Can power with a battery or wired connection
- Uses infrared night vision
- Interchangeable faceplates
- Wired version may require professional installation
- Subscription required to access recordings
- Shorter field of view than previous gen
Best Video Doorbell for Alexa
A premium Alexa doorbell for a mid-range price
The Ring Video Doorbell 2 comes in battery or wired versions, offers 1080p video resolution, motion detection, and a wide field of view.
Best Toy for Alexa: Amazon Echo Glow
This might seem like a superfluous pick, but it's also super fun! The Echo Glow was introduced with Amazon's big fall 2019 product announcements; basically it's a smart light that works via Alexa commands to operate.
Once you have it connected to an Alexa-enabled device, you can use it to set visual timers and countdowns, enable fun Rainbow and Campfire modes, or just let it cycle through its various color options. You can also have awesome living room dance parties when you set it to music mode!
If you're considering picking one of these up, note that it is not a stand-alone device. It requires an Echo or Alexa device to operate, and it doesn't have its own microphone or speakers. It's just a good ol' smart lamp, sure to provide you with some good times!
- Inexpensive smart light
- Can do kid timers and fun lighting effects
- Dance party mode
- Doesn't work without an Alexa device
- No microphones or speakers
Best Toy for Alexa
Alexa, you light up our lives
The Echo Glow is a smart lamp that is perfect as a night light, alarm companion, or for sprucing up a living room fort!
Best Smart Thermostat with Alexa: ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control
While the smart thermostat market is not as massive as other smart products, there are some heavy hitters in this space. One of our favorite smart thermostats and the best with Alexa is the ecobee Smart Thermostat with Voice Control. Not only do you get all the great smart features like a touch display and the ability to create schedules and routines with ease, but you get Alexa built-in. There's nothing cooler than seeing Alexa's blue LEDs light up on that black squircle on your wall whenever you make a request. It reminds us of HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey (only not as creepy).
Having that built-in Alexa integration is great for controlling the ecobee, but it's also useful for controlling your smart home in general. Perhaps your thermostat is in a place where you can't put an Echo (a hallway) or where you may not want one (an office or dining room). Well, this device has you covered!
This ecobee also comes paired with a smart sensor to help you better manage the temperature in rooms that may not have the same exposure as the base unit, and you can purchase additional sensors to put around your home for even better temperature callibration. The company claims that their smart sensors and intelligent thermostat can help you reduce your heating and cooling costs by up to 23% per year, so while this thermostat is pricey, it's cost effective.
The biggest drawback to this thermostat is that it's a little pricey when compared to other smart thermostats on the market. However, considering that it's basically a wall-mounted Echo and smart appliance, we think it's worthy of your consideration.
- Alexa is built-in
- Faster processor than the previous generation
- Far-field voice recognition
- Separate room sensor included
- Complicated interface
Best Smart Thermostat with Alexa
This device has pretty much everything you'd want in a connected thermostat. Alexa integration, music controls, and a smart sensor included!
Best Smart Home Accessory with Alexa: Amazon Echo Flex
In a kind of strange way, this was low-key the most interesting product Amazon announced at its fall 2019 product event. We know it doesn't look like much, but what it does is extend Alexa's abilities into areas of your home that other Echos weren't able to access before.
The Echo Flex is a small device that plugs directly into any standard outlet and gives you immediate access to Alexa. It has a tiny little speaker and microphone, but it can give you access to your favorite smart voice assistant in other areas. Put one of these in the garage, or in a guest bath and instantly smarten up more of your spaces. You can also purchase additional modules like a nightlight or motion-sensor to make it even more capable.
On the downside, the audio output is not the best, so we wouldn't recommend relying on this to listen to music or spoken content very much. Also, it doesn't have a built-in outlet onboard (it's not a "smart plug"), and it will take up one of the outlet spaces that you may need or want for another device. It does have a USB port on the bottom though, so you can plug in a phone or other device to charge. It also has a microphone mute switch for those moments when you want to be absolutely assured of your privacy. We think the Echo Flex is going to be an MVP of the gift-giving scene this holiday season!
- Great starting price
- Alexa is built-in
- USB-A port to charge devices
- Available nightlight or motion-sensor attachments
- Attachments not currently bundled
- Speaker for Alexa is not suited for music playback
- Can't be used as a smart plug
Best Smart Home Accessory with Alexa
Smart speaker, charger, and sensor in one.
The Amazon Echo Flex is a unique new offering that allows you to bring Alexa to tighter spaces where an Echo Dot might not fit.
Alexa gadgets galore
There are dozens of devices that have Alexa built-in, and literally thousands that work with the smart voice assistant. We've done our best to comb through all the options to share our favorites with you so that you can make the best purchase decisions when it comes to setting up your smart home with Alexa.
If you don't have an Echo already, we recommend starting out with the Echo (3rd Gen), as it offers a great balance of sound, functionality, and affordability. You can use it to control your other smart home and Alexa-compatible devices with just your voice, and you can pair two of them together to get a stereo sound system or connect them to your Fire TV for an even better Disney Plus binging session.
Now you know what our favorite Alexa devices are, so hop online now and pick some of these gadgets up for your household.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Jeramy Johnson is proud to help to Keep Austin Weird and loves hiking in the hill country of central Texas with a breakfast taco in each hand. When he's not writing about Amazon products and services, he's defending his relationship with his side-chick Alexa to his family. You can follow him on Twitter at @jeramyutgw.
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