So I wanted to go back to basics with this list of Amazon smart speakers that work with Alexa. You won't see any third-party devices with built-in Alexa speakers here -- or Amazon products like the Echo Input and the Echo Link, which work with Alexa, but don't have the voice assistant built-in. This is all about the core lineup of Alexa-enabled smart speakers, how they compare and which one might be right for you.
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The Echo was Amazon's inaugural smart speaker, the device credited with kickstarting the now-mainstream trend of voice control in the smart home. Now in its second iteration, the Echo looks and sounds better than ever.
This device, like the other Amazon speakers listed here, responds to the wake word "Alexa." Ask about the weather right before you head outside, catch up on a new podcast episode and set timers while your cook -- all handsfree with voice commands.
The Echo Dot is the darling of the Amazon smart speakers. It's affordable, works well and doesn't take up a lot of space -- really, there's little to object to. Now in its third generation, it's also undergone the most iterations out of the Echo lineup: The Echo, Echo Plus and Echo Show are all on version 2.0.
The Echo Look is a quirky one-off product that deviates a lot from other Amazon smart speakers. While it looks like a home security camera, the Echo Look actually analyzes your outfits and helps you decide what to wear when you say, "Alexa, how do I look?" Compare outfits side by side in the related app and Amazon will tell you which one it prefers and even make suggestions.
The Echo Plus is part smart speaker, part smart home hub, complete with a built-in Zigbee radio and a temperature sensor.
The Zigbee component makes it even easier to connect select LEDs, smart plugs, motion sensors and other devices, negating the need for a separate hub. The Echo Plus' integrated temperature sensor makes it a good supplement to your thermostat's temperature readings. Set the temp-sensing speaker in your living room and program the ceiling fan to turn on if reaches 73 degrees.
It will be interesting to see how the Echo Show compares to the newly-announced 10-inch Nest Hub Max, due to hit stores this summer. Like the Echo Show, the Hub Max has a built-in camera, which Nest left out of its first-gen 7-inch Google Home Hub, now called the Nest Hub.
Unlike the Nest Hub, the Echo Show 5 has a built-in camera, as well as a built-in privacy shutter. You're now supposed to be able to say, "Alexa, delete everything I said today" to remove audio recordings from Amazon's database.
The Echo Spot is a pint-size smart speaker with a built-in screen. Because of its smaller footprint, it comfortably doubles as an alarm clock on a bedside table. Say things like "Alexa, set a repeating alarm for weekdays at 8 a.m." and "Alexa, snooze/stop" and your Spot will happily oblige. It also works with other standard Alexa commands -- everything from the latest weather and traffic report in your area to adjusting a thermostat or turning on a light.