Whether we’re leaving on a trip and relying on the Echo’s smart home accessories to keep our homes secure, or just relaxing at home, we’re big fans of Alexa compatible devices!
Here’s 28 of the best Amazon Echo accessories to automate and secure your home in 2017– including accessories for the new Amazon Echo Show!
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What is the Amazon Echo?
The Echo is Amazon’s smart speaker. It can act as a personal assistant, answer questions, and automate tasks around your home. This can be anything from turning lights on and off, to locking your doors, and streaming music.
“Alexa” is the voice interface for the Echo, the AI voice you speak to when using the voice commands. 3rd party manufacturers can develop Alexa “skills” that allow you to control their electronics through Alexa voice command.
The Echo Look adds a camera that can be used to take selfies and record videos. At this point, Amazon’s main smart feature focus with the camera is for taking outfit photos and receiving style recommendations.
The Echo Dot is a smaller, more compact version of the Echo.
The Echo Tap is a battery powered version of the Echo, making it more portable.
The Echo Show features all of the capabilities of the full size Echo (including great speakers), with an added video screen that allows for streaming videos, connecting to front door cameras, baby monitors and more.
All of the Echo devices require an internet connection to function.
Which Amazon Echo device should I buy? What’s the difference between the Echo and the Echo Dot? And what about the Echo vs the Tap?
When it comes to the Echo vs the Echo Dot, the only real difference is the speaker size and quality. Because the Dot is smaller, it features a smaller, quieter speaker. If you already have other high quality speakers that you can integrate with Alexa, save some money and go with the Dot. If, however, you’d like to play music directly through your Echo device, the original Echo is worth the cash.
The Echo Tap is a similar in size to the original Echo, and offers nice speaker quality. Rather than being designed to be plugged in all the time, the Tap is battery powered with a charging cradle, and a 9 hour battery life. Because it’s battery powered, Alexa isn’t “listening” for your commands all the time; you’ll need to tap the device before you ask a question or make a command. Honestly, this is sort of a pain. We get why it might be helpful to have a portable, battery powered Echo, but having to get up to tap the device each time kind of defeats the point of the Echo’s advertised convenience.
What can the Amazon Echo do?
There’s a long list of things that the Echo can do, and it’s only getting longer as more and more brands work to integrate their smart tech with Alexa. Here’s some of the cool things you can do with the Echo:
- Order pizza or call an Uber
- Answer your questions: Let the Echo do your searching for you and ask Alexa about traffic and the weather, info on local businesses, sports scores and schedules.
- Read to you: Alexa can read you the news, and audiobooks from Audible
- Automate your home: Control lights, fans, switches, thermostats, garage doors, sprinklers, locks, and more.
- With the new Echo Show, Amazon has added even more functionality, allowing you to do things like stream videos, connect the video screen to security and doorbell cameras, baby monitors, and make video calls.
Is there a monthly fee for the Amazon Echo?
There is no monthly fee, once you’ve purchased an Echo there aren’t any additional costs (unless of course you want to add more smart home automation like the items recommended above!).
However, Amazon Prime members do get some additional perks. You’ll get free music to steam through your Echo, as well as additional apps.
Is the Echo always listening to me?
With the exception of the Tap, all Echo devices have a default setting of always “listening”, that is, waiting for your “wake word.” After you wake the device, Amazon does record your speech, and retains those recordings to improve AI response to future questions you might ask Alexa.
If you’re concerned about privacy, there are several things you can do: First, you can set the device to only “listen” once you turn it on, as the Tap normally does. Next, you can delete any stored recordings of your speech by going to the Manage My Device page in your Amazon.com account, or by contacting Amazon customer service. Note, however, that both of these may impede function of your Echo.