Just like a constant stream of new Kindle modelsThere seems to be an ever-growing list of Amazon Echo devices to choose from. There’s the Echo Dot and the Echo Show — there’s even the Echo Buds! Some of them have numbers attached to their names, and all of them have multiple generations. It’s a real whirlwind – which is why we’re here to help get you through it sound echo Room and find the best Amazon Echo device (or devices!) for you and your home.
What is the Amazon Echo?
Before we try to understand all of your different options, let’s just define what the Amazon Echo is, what it was, and what it has become. When this type of device first launched, the Echo was a tall drum that was basically a speaker that would respond to your voice commands, thanks to Alexa’s artificial intelligence. This is still the core of Amazon Echo devices today, as some still only offer audio while others offer audio and visual content. Today’s Echo devices also come in many different shapes and sizes, and Alexa’s capabilities have expanded exponentially.
Are Alexa and Echo the same thing?
Many people tend to use the terms “Echo” and “Alexa” interchangeably, but although their functions are closely intertwined, they are actually very different things. Amazon Alexa is an AI system that responds to your questions and acts on your voice commands (and all the countless other things Alexa can do—but we’ll get to that in a minute). On the flip side, Echo devices are simply the way to deliver that service to you. That’s why Echo devices take on so many different forms, from spherical speakers to video monitors to earphones you can take on the go.
What is Alexa and how does it work?
Whichever Echo device you choose, built-in access to Alexa’s artificial intelligence lets you do all of the following — hands-free — simply by asking Alexa a question or saying a command:
Control your smart home technology from a single central hub
Access your calendars and set reminders
Get answers to any question that comes to your mind
Make phone calls (and video calls with the Echo Show)
Get the latest weather news
Follow the recipes
Shop on Amazon
Stream music (and video on the Echo Show)
But honestly, this barely scratches the surface; exist More than 100,000 Alexa skills(opens in a new window) You can use them via your Echo device, and Amazon is always adding more.
It should also be noted that Alexa and Echo devices are built with many layers of privacy protections these days. You can turn off the microphone if you don’t want Alexa to listen, and you can also view and delete voice recordings. If your Echo has a camera, the latest models also include a shutter to cover it when not in use.
What can echo do?
All Echo devices are designed to take advantage of the superpowers of Amazon Alexa’s AI – it’s just a matter of what shape you want your Echo to take. Depending on the device you choose, your Echo may simply play audio, be it music, phone calls, calendar reminders, news alerts, etc. These devices are simply known as Echo or Echo Dot. On the other hand, Amazon Echo Show devices can do all of the aforementioned audio stuff, but they also feature color screens of different sizes to help you visually manage your day, make video calls, and stream entertainment, too.
Most Echo devices are designed to function as smart hubs within your home, but some Echo devices can also be used on the go. These types of Echo devices include the Echo Buds (Amazon’s foray into the wireless ear space) and the Echo Auto, which brings hands-free Alexa functionality to the car.
What smart home devices work with Echo?
According to Amazon, there are more than 30,000 smart home devices badged “Works with Alexa” — and if something works with Alexa, it works with the Echo, too. There are a whole host of smart home items that you can connect to your Echo device, including light bulbsKeys, locks, thermostats, fans and Smart plugs It can turn pretty much any electronic device into a “smart home” device.
Amazon’s own brands (like Blink and eero) make a slew of smart home devices that will connect seamlessly, but Echo devices—especially those with a Zigbee smart home hub—should be able to connect to just about any brand of smart home device. Fairly easily with the “Alexa, discover my devices” command. (To be clear, however, Zigbee is not wanted For connectivity it’s just a global wireless standard that makes communication between devices smoother, even if they’re made by different manufacturers.)
Echo devices also work very well with each other, as you should expect. You can link as many of them together as you want, and you can even have them play the same music at the same time for a complete home audio experience. Or, perhaps more practically, you could make announcements around the house with the words, “Alexa, announce” or “Alexa, tell everyone.” This allows all connected Echo devices to act as an intercom so you can tell your kids that dinner is ready, for example, even if they’re in multiple different rooms around the house.
Is there a monthly fee for echo devices?
Probably one of the best advantages of buying an Amazon Echo device is that there are no monthly fees to use it. It’s your entry point to Alexa’s amazing artificial intelligence and – aside from the purchase price of the Echo itself – it and its growing list of skills are completely free to use. The only reason you might run into a paywall while using your Echo device is if you’re asking Alexa to access another service, like a music streaming service. (And yes, that includes Amazon Music; you might be prompted to start a Music Unlimited subscription if you try to access a song that isn’t free. I can’t win them all, I guess.)
When is the best time to buy an Echo?
Echo devices are some of Amazon’s staples, so you can expect their prices to drop accordingly during Amazon Prime Day events, as well as other big shopping holidays like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. You may also see Echo devices on sale throughout the year, especially around Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and the back-to-school season.
Does Amazon only sell Echo devices?
You can find Amazon Echo devices and accessories for sale at retailers other than Amazon, like Best Buy, Target, Staples, and even The Home Depot. However, you may not have access to the wide variety of styles and colors that you would if you were shopping directly through Amazon. You’re also not likely to score the best price when shopping at a store other than Amazon, mostly because of the aforementioned sale periods when prices drop dramatically.