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Home / Technology / Best Alexa Devices for 2021: Call, Wyze and more

Best Alexa Devices for 2021: Call, Wyze and more



The holidays are upon us, and if you are looking for gifts, smart home gadgets are an increasingly popular option. Amazon’s annual fall event brought announcements of dozens of new ones Amazon products and Alexa features as usual, including our new favorite Amazon Echo smart speaker. Also new are a number of new Alexa-compatible devices. In 2020 alone, the popular camera developer Wyze, for example, has released Wyze Cam v3, Wyze Cam Outdoor, Wyze Thermostat, Wyze Video Doorbell, Wyze Robot Vacuum, Wyze Sprinkler Controller and ̵

1; amazingly enough – even more.

Alexa has long been at ease when it comes to smart home integration, and this year Amazon’s voice assistant brings even more impressive integrations to your tablet. This list of the best Alexa devices is updated regularly, so check back often for the most up-to-date recommendations.

Chris Monroe / CNET

Amazon’s Echo Dot with Clock was our previous favorite Alexa speaker, but with this year’s new product line, the flagship fourth-generation Echo speaker gets a nod. At $ 100, the spherical new speaker is slightly more expensive than the $ 50 fourth-generation Echo Dot, but the improvements in sound quality and some exciting smart home features justify the extra cost.

This smart device’s new shape sets Amazon’s new Echo speaker apart. Where the third-generation Echo offered a barely noticeable improvement in sound quality over its predecessor, the ball-shaped fourth-generation version has noticeably better sound output, including respectable bass for a speaker in its price range.

On the smart home front, the fourth-generation Echo also gets a built-in Zigbee receiver, which transmits a function from the now defunct Amazon Echo Plus. The Zigbee receiver allows the new Echo to act as a smart home connection point for compatible light bulbs, plugs and other Zigbee-based accessories. This means that you can use the echo itself as a hub, without the need for additional hardware to get these devices online.

The new Echo Dot has the same shape as the new Echo speaker, but the improvement over the third generation Echo Dot is not very clear. It also costs $ 50, where you can regularly find third-generation Echo Dot still on sale for $ 30 or less. Read our Amazon Echo (2020) review.

Wyze

The third generation Wyze Cam, like previous iterations, costs an incredibly low $ 20, but this smart home device is one of our favorite cameras in general, despite the price. It comes with weather-resistant housing, sharper night vision than its predecessor, a wider field of view, a loud siren and more – including 14-day storage of video clips and a built-in microSD card slot for local storage.

If you have an Echo Show smart screen, you can also throw the Wyze Cam feed on the screen with a simple voice command.

Wyze Cam is available for pre-order now, and shipping is scheduled for mid-November. Read our Wyze Cam (2020) review.

Lauren Routt / CNET

Ring’s $ 80 Peephole Cam is a unique product for the Amazon-owned company. Instead of mounting on a door frame or elsewhere on the side of your door, the Peephole Cam replaces a traditional peephole.

This means that this Amazon Alexa-compatible device is perfect for people living in apartments who want a smart doorbell but do not want to handle a fixed wired device – or otherwise damage a door frame for installation. None of Ring’s main competitors offer this type of seamless solution for homeowners, making this doorbell particularly innovative along with the other devices available today.

Not only that, but the Peephole Cam has the simplest installation of any doorbell I have tested to date. It also has advanced Alexa integration. Yes, you can pick up the live stream on a smart Amazon screen, but you can also chat with whoever is at your door via the built-in speaker on the smart screen with the command, Alexa, answer the front door.

The two-way talk feature via an Alexa smart screen is unique to Ring devices.

Editor’s note, 14 December: Ring has been called out for its partnership with local police departments in the United States, and has led privacy attorneys to express concern about the data Ring shares with law enforcement and how they use this information. In December 2019, thousands of Ring users’ personal information was revealed, which led us to stop recommending Ring products.

Since then, Ring has updated the security guidelines, from offering customers a control center dashboard for easier access to privacy and security settings to requiring two-factor authentication. We have resumed recommending Ring’s products with this warning: If you are concerned about Ring’s privacy policy, please familiarize yourself with the privacy statement. You can read more about how we take Ring’s privacy policy into account in our recommendations here. Read our review of the ring peephole.

Chris Monroe / CNET

The Ecobee Smart Thermostat is a $ 249 connected thermostat with Alexa compatibility. This model replaces the Ecobee4 smart thermostat, but has many of the same great features.

Control your smart thermostat via the Ecobee app and use Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri voice commands to adjust the pace of the smart thermostat. It’s Alexa’s voice control that really stands out here, since the thermostat itself has a built – in Alexa smart speaker.

That means you do not need a separate Echo device – just connect the thermostat, activate the speaker and start asking Alexa questions. Read our Ecobee SmartThermostat review.

Chris Monroe / CNET

Amazon Echo Show 8 is Amazon’s latest smart screen. For $ 130 (although currently on sale for $ 100), you get an eight-inch screen with the best resolution from any Echo Show yet, a camera shutter and all the smarts from previous Amazon smart screens.

Echo Show 8 has a built-in Alexa speaker. That means you can use this smart screen to ask Alexa Digital Assistant to make your bids, whether it’s asking it to play music, forward the weather or just tell you a joke. And because it’s a smart display, it also offers advanced compatibility with Alexa-enabled security cameras.

Ask Alexa to “answer the front door” when someone calls Ring Peephole Cam, and you can watch the live broadcast on Show 8 – and actually talk to the person, right from the smart screen. Read our Amazon Echo Show 8 review.

Chris Monroe / CNET

August’s Wi-Fi Smart Lock is a great smart lock. It retrofits most standard dead bolts so you do not have to deal with a complicated installation. The built-in Wi-Fi device allows you to access and control your smart lock remotely via the Android or iOS app without the need for an August Connect module.

This product comes with an open / close sensor, also called DoorSense – which attaches to the door where Wi-Fi Smart Lock is installed. That way, the app can not only tell you if the door is locked or unlocked, but also if the door is open or closed.

August Wi-Fi Smart Lock is an Alexa-compatible device, so you can lock and unlock your door from an Alexa-enabled smart speaker using your voice. Read our Wi-Fi Smart Lock review in August.

Chris Monroe / CNET

SimpliSafe is a solid DIY home security system with lots of accessories, so you can scale the system up as needed. The starter kit costs $ 210 for the hub, keyboard, keychain fob, a motion sensor and a door / window sensor.

SimpliSafe also works with Alexa, so you can connect the system and check the status with simple voice commands.

SimpliSafe requires no contract, but monthly fees start at $ 15 to access the app and go up to $ 25 if you want professional monitoring. Read our SimpliSafe review.

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

The latest version of the Philips Hue White LED smart bulb works with ZigBee and Bluetooth. The addition of Bluetooth is important for Philips Hue, because it means you do not need a Philips hub to make these smart bulbs work.

Instead, smart bulbs connect directly to your phone – and they work with Alexa voice commands. Ask Alexa to turn on the lights in the living room, or dim the smart light of the dining light to 70%.

Philips Hue white LEDs cost just $ 15 each, which means you don’t have to shell out a ton of money for these simple Alexa-enabled bulbs. Read the Philips Hue White LED article.

Chris Monroe / CNET

TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini is a big name for a small smart plug that costs only $ 14. A smart plug like this connects via the Wi-Fi connection directly to an electrical outlet and converts non-smart lamps, fans and other gadgets for smart devices.

Use the TP-Link app to connect and control devices – or enlist Amazon Alexa and use your voice. Say, “Alexa, turn on the reading light” to get the Plug Mini smart plug to control the devices connected to it without any problems. Read our TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini review.

Chris Monroe / CNET

Amazon Echo Flex is a small smart speaker that connects directly to an electrical outlet. For $ 25, it offers all the smarties of Alexa, plus a USB port for add-ons – like a motion detector and night light.

As the name suggests, Flex can fit in many features, helping to enhance the home’s security and expand Alexa’s hearing area for when you need help in less central corners of your home.

The addition of a motion sensor also means that Alexa can create automations based on your movement, turn on lights when you enter a room or deliver your morning news when you sit down for breakfast. Read our Amazon Echo Flex review.


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The Alexa landscape

Amazon’s voice assistant makes it easier to control the devices in your home, set timers and find out how long your commute to the office will take. But privacy has become a growing concern as smart speakers and monitors grow in popularity.

Report it Amazon keeps records of your voice calls, even after deleting the Alexa audio recordings, it raised concerns about users’ privacy. Senator Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat, wrote a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos seeks answers about Amazon’s Alexa user data and how it is stored. Amazon has since introduced the “Alexa, delete everything I said today” feature. The technology giant says that it is too working in new ways for customers to delete their transcripts.

Amazon’s latest smart screen, the Echo Show 8, comes with a built-in camera shutter, unlike previous Echo Show devices.

Amazon is not alone. Facebook, Google and other large technology companies have faced their own privacy issues, and have questioned data usage.

Fortunately, it seems that Amazon and others are working to regain our trust. Have these privacy issues prevented you from purchasing a voice assistant (Alexa or otherwise)? Weigh in the comment field below.

Do you still have questions? Read more about Alexa.

More for your smart home


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