Amazon Astro Robot FAQ: Your Biggest Questions, Answered
What even is the Amazon Astro robot and how does it work? Look no further, we have answers to all of your questions.
Macy MeyerEditor I
Macy Meyer is a N.C. native who graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2021 with a B.A. in English and Journalism. She currently resides in Charlotte, N.C., where she has been working as an Editor I, covering a variety of topics across CNET's Home and Wellness teams, including home security, fitness and nutrition, smart home tech and more. Prior to her time at CNET, Macy was featured in The News & Observer, The Charlotte Observer, INDY Week, and other state and national publications. In each article, Macy helps readers get the most out of their home and wellness. When Macy isn't writing, she's volunteering, exploring the town or watching sports.
ExpertiseMacy covers a variety of topics across CNET's Home and Wellness teams, including home security, smart home tech, fitness, nutrition, travel, lifestyle and more.Credentials
Macy has been working for CNET for coming on 2 years. Prior to CNET, Macy received a North Carolina College Media Association award in sports writing.
Amazon's Astro is the first robot designed for your home to be powered by the voice assistant Alexa (although it's got its own little personality, too). While the idea of "Alexa on wheels" might freak a lot of people out -- and I'm right there with you -- this little robot is competent, smart and cute as a button.
But what is it really capable of?
Can Astro grab me an ice-cold beer from the fridge? Will it vacuum as it roams around my house? You ask the hard questions, and we have the answers. Here's what you need to know.
Wall-E is adorable. Astro is adorable. They don't have too much more in common. While Wall-E and Astro do both communicate with simple robotic beep-boops and buzzes, Astro has the added functionality of Alexa, including the ability to answer questions, respond to commands and tell jokes -- though Astro's personality is distinct from Alexa's.
Plus, we're not living in a dystopian future with Astro as the only inhabitant left on Earth, cleaning up the immense garbage build-up the humans left before moving society into space… at least not yet, anyway.
Yes! Good catch. Amazon's newest robot has the very same name as the loving family dog from The Jetsons. However, Astro's advanced technology, voice, design and rolling movement makes it much more similar to Rosey, the robot maid and housekeeper of the Jetson family, than the four-legged Astro.
Can Astro climb stairs?
While Astro is packed with fun features, a pair of legs isn't one of them. Astro is currently not able to climb stairs, so for now, it can only work on one level of the house.
Be careful, though. Recent reports stated that Amazon sources who worked on building the robot said Astro does not handle stairs well and will certainly "throw itself down" the stairs "if presented the opportunity." (Seems like Astro has a flair for the dramatic, right?) That said, we have yet to experience this flaw in our own testing -- and Astro's navigation is improving all the time.
Is Astro also a vacuum?
No, unfortunately. But like a robot vacuum cleaner, Astro has an array of sensors, cameras and mapping technology that will let the robot know where it is in your home and what's going on around it. Plus, Astro is battery operated and will get itself back to its charging station when running low. In other words, Astro is very similar to a robot vacuum cleaner… minus the whole actually vacuuming your floor thing.
Is Astro good with kids?
Astro isn't just an errand-bot, it has real personality that makes it more of a toy than a cold, hard robot. Its pet-like persona, cute face and playful personality makes it fun for the whole family. When two of my coworkers introduced their kids to Astro, they had a field day when Astro acts like a dog, burps and even raps a cleaner version of Ludacris's Get Back. (You can watch all of this in our 22-minute Astro review video here.)
The kids did have genuine fun with Astro -- especially when they found out they could make Astro the robot do the robot dance -- but there was a drop in interest once the novelty of the robot's features wore off.
Will I trip over Astro?
You're already tripping over your kiddos' Legos, dog toys and that pair of shoes that magically appear in the most inconvenient places, so what's one more tripping hazard? In its defense, Astro does make a humming sound when it moves, so you should hear it before it sneaks up behind you.
Watch this: Meet and Greet Amazon's Earnest Astro Bot
Yes -- and any other drink for that matter. Astro has built-in cup holders on its back so it can fetch any beverage of your choosing around the home. The one caveat, however, is it doesn't have arms, so someone else would have to load it up for delivery.
Is the release of Astro like the beginning of a Black Mirror episode?
I'd rather not watch a season of Black Mirror produced by Amazon, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see…