What are the amazon smart devices?

Amazon isn’t just an online retailer. The company also makes a huge range of products, from voice assistants and media tablets to security cameras, e-readers and more, that can streamline your daily tasks and make you more productive, both at home and at work. 

Each Amazon product comes with a number of different versions, and knowing which one you want (or even what it does) can sometimes be a little confusing. So we've put together this special guide to Amazon's own products to help you out.

From Echo smart speakers to Kindle readers, Fire tablets to Deals Buttons, we'll help you decide which device is right for your needs – and show you the best deals on each, at Amazon and beyond. 

 

AMAZON ECHO VOICE ASSISTANTS

Remember that future you were promised by sci-fi TV shows, in which you could chat to a disembodied computer voice and they would do everything for you? Well, it's here, sort of. While Amazon's voice assistant Alexa is not exactly Knight Rider's KITT, it does let you play music, search the web, create to-do lists, order online shopping, get the latest weather reports, and control popular smart-home products, all just by talking to one of Amazon's Echo speakers.

There are many reasons why you might want one of these smart wireless speakers in your home. Most obviously, the more you can make your home life easier and more streamlined, the more time you have to get your work done and relax afterwards. It's also kind of fun to do things like turning on lights just by talking. 

Furthermore, if you work in web design, it's vital to start getting your head around these kinds of interfaces, because designing for voice is likely to be a big part of your work in the near-future, if it's not already. 

In this first section of our Amazon device guide, we run through the different versions of Amazon's Echo smart speakers, so you can decide which is the best for your needs.

 

Amazon Echo (2nd gen)

A solid choice for your first smart speaker

Weight: 821g | Size: 148 x 88 x 88 mm | Drivers: 2.5" woofer and 0.6" tweeter | Aux-out: Yes | Screen size: no screen

  • Reasonable price
  • All-round performance
  • Basic product
  • Poor sound quality

The standard way to get started with the Amazon Echo ecosystem, the Echo is a very capable and good value smart speaker. If you’re looking for a voice-activated device that will perform a range of tasks, from adding things to your calendar to ordering a takeaway, then this is a very capable and reliable device. The sound is basic, but decent enough for such tasks, although if you want to play a lot of music, you might prefer to connect it to a better-quality speaker via Bluetooth or the 3.5mm jack. You can even use it to control smart home devices, from lights to thermostats, although like all the products on this list except for the Echo plus, that will need to happen via each device’s own smart home hub. 

 

Amazon Echo Dot (3rd gen)

 

 

The smaller and cheaper way to try out a voice assistant

Weight: 300g | Size: 43 x 99 x 99 mm | Screen size: no screen

  • Low cost
  • Portability
  • Basic product

Not sure about whether this whole Alexa thing will work for you? Then the Echo Dot is the cheapest way to try it out. A nice-looking little device, that’s small enough to fit into your pocket, this comes in a much lower price than the Amazon Echo. But it retains almost all its voice recognition features, so it’s a great way to try out this tech and see what it can do for you. The sound is the weakest in the range though, so you almost certainly will want to connect it up to another speaker if you want to listen to music.

 

Amazon Echo Show 5

 

A smarter speaker with a touchscreen

Weight: 410g | Size: 148 x 86 x 73 mm | Screen size: 139mm

  • Good touchscreen
  • Video call functionality
  • Sound quality

Frustrated by the idea of only using voice to communicate with your smart speaker? The  Amazon Echo Show 5 comes with a 5.5”-inch touchscreen and a 1-megapixel camera with built-in shutter, which means you have many more ways to interact with Alexa. You can also use it to make video calls to friends and family with Echo devices. The sound is better than that of the standard Amazon Echo, although there’s still room for improvement when compared with Bluetooth speakers designed mainly for playing music. But brilliantly, when you play tracks through its Prime Music service, the lyrics to many (if not all) of the songs appear on your screen.

 

Amazon Echo Dot Kids (2nd gen)

 

A smart speaker that's child-friendly

Weight: 163g | Size: 32 x 84 x 84 mm | Drivers: 0.6" tweeter | Aux-out: Yes | Screen size: no screen

  • Shields your children from inappropriate content
  • Rubber case
  • Weak sound quality
  • Basic product

This child-friendly version of the Echo Dot is essentially the same device, but with the features simplified for the younger audience. It comes in a colourful rubber case and is accompanied by a colourful comic-book guide. Plus the Echo Dot Kids version of Alexa behaves more like a parent, praising the child, for example, for saying 'please' and 'thank you', and shielding them from inappropriate content. Not yet released in the UK at time of writing, the device comes with a year's free subscription to the FreeTime Unlimited kid-focused service in the US, which includes curated content from partners like Nickelodeon, National Geographic and Disney, including things like family friendly radio stations and tailored alarms from well-known characters.

 

Amazon Echo Spot

Portable speaker for use around the house

Weight: 419g | Size: 104 x 97 x 91 mm | Drivers: 1.4" full-range driver | Aux-out: Yes | Screen size: 2.5in

  • Compact size
  • Screen 
  • Screen too small for some tasks
  • Weak sound quality

The Amazon Echo Spot is a mini-version of the Show, but comes with a 2.5-inch circular screen instead of a 7-inch rectangular one. It's not really the right size or shape for watching video, then, but it’s fine for reading messages and clockfaces, or for making video calls. The smaller speaker means that sound isn’t quite as good either. But it functions well at what it does, and its size might be considered an advantage in terms of portability, meaning you can use it around the home, from kitchen to bedroom with the minimum of fuss.

 

 

AMAZON KINDLE E-READERS

Whether you're on the train to work, traveling to a design event, or just relaxing on a beach holiday, it's difficult to pick up your smartphone without getting sucked into social media or work emails. But it's not good for your mental health or overall productivity to never switch off from all that noise. So why not instead invest in an e-reader? The DigitalHome Amazon Kindle range has a number of different models to suit different people’s needs. Read on to find out which is best for you.

 

 Amazon Kindle

 

 

The original e-reader model

Screen size: 6-inch | Screen type: Pearl e-paper | Storage: 4GB | Resolution: 167ppi | Weight: 161g | Touchscreen: yes | Wi-Fi: yes | Battery life: up to four weeks

  • Low price
  • Stores thousands of books
  • Now with frontlight
  • No 3G

With the Amazon Kindle range you very much get what you pay for, and the Kindle is the most basic, and consequently cheapest, e-reader of the bunch. With 4GB of storage, you can carry thousands of ebooks around with you wherever you go, and the touchscreen is perfectly usable. The latest 2019 model improves on earlier versions with the addition of a frontlight, enabling you to read comfortably indoors or outdoors, day or night, so now the only real downside to the basic Kindle is the lack of 3G functionality. If you can cope with that then you may well be willing to make for the lower price.

 

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

 

A superior experience at a still-low price

Screen size: 6-inch | Screen type: E ink | Storage: 4GB | Resolution: 300ppi | Weight: 209g | Touchscreen: yes | Wi-Fi: yes | Battery life: up to six weeks

  • Sharp HD display
  • Lovely font 
  • Boring design
  • Lacks advanced features 

The Kindle Paperwhite is a clear step up from the basic Kindle. There isn’t just a blacklight, but a beautifully sharp HD display that looks striking close to the look of real paper. You’ll find it a lot easier to read ebook in bright sunlight than with the Kindle. And in fact, over several hours the sharper text, using Amazon’s custom font Bookerly, will be less of a strain of your eyes, whatever the lighting conditions.

 

Amazon Kindle Voyage

 

 

A beautifully designed Kindle offering a premium reading experience

Screen size: 6-inch | Screen type: Carta e-paper | Storage: 4GB | Resolution: 300ppi | Weight: 180/188g | Touchscreen: yes | Wi-Fi: yes | Battery life: up to six weeks

  • Beautiful display
  • Super-light
  • No audio
  • Not waterproof

The Kindle Voyage was originally a significant step up from the Paperwhite in terms of screen quality. But since the latter got an upgrade to 300ppi, the benefits of paying a higher price for the Voyage have lessened. That said, its Cara e-paper screen does offer a premium reading experience, it’s the lightest Kindle in the range, and it is also, in our view the most elegantly designed. There’s also a cool feature called Page Press, which lets you turn a page just by pressing a little harder on the screen. 

 

Amazon Kindle Oasis

The top of the range model

Screen size: 7-inch | Screen type: Carta E Ink | Storage: 8GB/32GB | Resolution: 300ppi | Weight: 194g | Touchscreen: Yes | Wi-Fi: Yes | Battery life: up to six weeks

  • Larger screen
  • Bluetooth audio
  • Waterproof
  • Expensive
  • No speaker

The only all-metal Kindle (it’s made of aluminum), the Amazon Kindle Oasis is waterproof so it’s a safe choice for reading in the bath or swimming pool, or just if you get clumsy around drinks. There’s a massive amount of storage (either 8GB or 32GB), so you’re never likely to run out of space. You can listen to Audible audiobooks, although you’ll need a Bluetooth speaker or headphones, as there’s no headphone jack. And of course, the larger (7-inch screen) and excellent backlight offer a top-class reading experience, including the inclusion of physical buttons for page turning.

 

AMAZON FIRE TABLETS

If you want a tablet for illustration or design work then you'll probably want to spend serious money on something like a Wacom or iPad Pro. But if you just want something for doing a bit of light surfing, or to watch a movie on in bed? Then you can save some serious money by opting for one of DigitalHome’s Amazon low cost Fire tablets instead. Read on to find out which ones best for you.

 

Amazon Fire 7

 

Cheap and capable media tablet

Display: 7 inches | Resolution: 1024 x 600 | Storage: 8GB/16GB | Battery life: 8 hours

  • Low price
  • Good battery life
  • Not HD
  • Poor camera

The Fire 7 is the cheapest of DigitalHome’s Amazon Fire tablets, but there are reasons for that. Most notably, it doesn’t have an HD screen, and the camera is pretty low quality. Beyond that, though, it does what you need it to do, the battery life is good and the low price makes it very tempting buy for a basic entry-level media and entertainment tablet.

 

Note: Digitalhomeph Incorporated is an authorized Amazon partner, thus any warranty from Amazon is we will cover.

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