Home / Uncategorized / The Best of The ultimate guide to all Amazon devices

The Best of The ultimate guide to all Amazon devices

Amazon isn’t just an online retailer. The company also makes a huge range of products that can streamline your daily tasks and make you more productive, both at home and at work. 

Amazon Prime Day deals

Take advantage of thousands of Amazon Prime Day deals on Monday 16 July by getting a Prime membership or signing up for a free 30-day trial here:

_US free trial
_UK free trial
_Canada free trial
_India free trial 

There are now dozens of Amazon devices, ranging from voice assistants and media tablets to security cameras, e-book readers and more. But 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 just in time for Amazon Prime Day 2018 – when thousands of deals and offers will be available to Prime members around the world – we’ve put together this special guide to Amazon’s own products. 

From Echo smart speakers to Kindle readers, Fire tablets to Deals Buttons, we’ll help you decide which Amazon device is right for your needs – and show you the best deals on each to save you a wad of cash.

Jump to Amazon’s Prime Day homepages:  US | UK | India | Australia

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

The original Echo is still a great entry point into smart speakers

01. Amazon Echo

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 getting 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. 

Echo Dot

The Echo Dot is small and cheap, but with the same functionality as the Echo

02. Amazon Echo Dot

The smaller and cheaper way to try out a voice assistant.

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

Low cost
Portability
Basic product
Weak sound

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, and a little too tinny for listening to music, so you almost certainly will want to connect it up to another speaker for that.

Echo Show

The Echo Show has a lovely 7-inch screen, it’s handy for all sorts of info and video calls, too

03. Amazon Echo Show

A smarter speaker with a touchscreen too.

Weight: 1170g | Size: 187 x 187 x 90 mm | Drivers: 2 x 2.0″ full-range drivers | Aux-out: No | Screen size: 7 inches

Good touchscreen
Video call functionality
Sound quality not good enough for music
No in-built smart home functionality

Frustrated by the idea of only using voice to communicate with your smart speaker? The Amazon Echo Show comes with a seven-inch touchscreen and a 5 megapixel camera, 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.

Echo Dot Kids

Keep your children safe with the Echo Dot Kids, and teach them some manners too

04. Amazon Echo Dot Kids

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.

Echo Spot

The Echo Spot has a small screen that’s okay for limited tasks but you wouldn’t want to do anything complicated on it

05. 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.

Echo Plus

The Echo Plus offers smart home functionality in one box

06. Amazon Echo Plus

A capable hub for your smart home network

Weight: 954g | Size: 235 x 84 x 84 mm | Drivers: 2.5″ woofer and 0.8″ tweeter | Aux-out: Yes | Screen size: No screen

Best sound in the Echo range
Smart home functionality in one box
No screen
Expensive

The Amazon Echo Plus looks pretty similar to the standard Amazon Echo, but unlike all the other Echo device on this list, it has the ZigBee wireless protocol built in, so can connect up to your smart home network directly. Note that ZigBee is one of many smart home standards, although it is supported by many of the best known smart devices, including Philips Hue lights, IKEA’s smart lights, Samsung SmartThings, Osram Lightify and Honeywell’s thermostat. The sound of the Plus is also by far the best in the range, although it’s still not quite up to the quality of a high-end audio speaker.

Amazon Kindle e-readers

Whether you’re on the train to work, travelling to a design event, such as our own web design conference Generate, 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 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 basic Kindle provides a good reading experience in most environments

07. 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
No 3G
No backlight

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 4G of storage you can carry thousands of ebooks around with you wherever you go. And the touchscreen is perfectly usable, although there’s no backlight. So you might have difficulty reading it in dim lighting, as well as bright sunlight, and there’s no 3G functionality. That said, those are all compromises you may well be willing to make for the lower price.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite is a big step up in quality from the basic model

08. 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 is 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 Voyage

The Amazon Voyage offers an premium screen reading experience with some nifty features

09. 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 PagePress, which lets you turn a page just by pressing a little harder on the screen. 

Amazon Kindle Oasis

The Amazon Kindle Oasis is all you could ever want in an e-reader, and more

10. 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 aluminium), 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 Amazon’s low cost Fire tablets instead. Read on to find out which ones best for you.

Amazon Fire 7

The Amazon Fire 7 is the basic starter model of the media tablet range

11. 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 Amazon’s 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.

Amazon Fire Kids tablet

The Amazon Fire Kids tablet will protect your little ones from harmful content 

12. Amazon Fire Kids

A great tablet for small children

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

Durable case
Two-year warranty
Not HD
Basic model

If there’s one eternal truth in life it’s that children break things. A lot. And so the Amazon Fire Kids version comes in a durable case that should protect it being dropped, and if that doesn’t work you’re protected by a no-questions-asked two-year warranty. The Fire Kids also comes with a year’s free subscription to Amazon’s FreeTime Unlimited service, which provides access to 15,000 kid-friendly books, videos, educational apps and games. Plus the software is specially designed to prevent your little ones from accessing inappropriate content, and you can even set screen-time limits.

Fire HD 8

With great storage and battery life, the Fire HD 8 offers superb value for a hi-def tablet

13. Fire HD 8

High-def display and Alexa voice control

Display: : 8 inches | Resolution: 1280 x 800 | Storage: 16GB/32GB | Battery life: : 12 hours

HD screen
Alexa
Looks cheap
Not 1080p

If you want a tablet that’s signicantly cheaper than an iPad but still offers HD quality, the Amazon Fire HD 8 is a great choice. It also comes with Amazon’s voice assistant, Alexa. Okay, so it’s cheap and plastic looking, and the camera isn’t much good, but otherwise it’s fine for browsing the internet, watching streaming videos and other well, and you’re unlikely to find a better bargain anywhere else.

Fire HD 10

The Fire HD 10 tablet offers the best picture quality, the biggest screen and the highest speed in the range

14. Amazon Fire HD 10

Great quality resolution and performance

Display: : 10.1 inches | Resolution: 1920 x 1200 | Storage: 32GB/64GB | Battery life: : 10 hours

10in screen
1080p display
Most expensive
Still cheap looking

If you’re looking for the top of the range Fire tablet, then the Amazon Fire HD 10 is the one for you. This tablet boasts a bigger screen (10.1in) and better quality picture (Full HD 1080p) than the HD 8, not to mention more RAM (2GB), which enables it to run faster. A shame, then, that it still looks cheap and has a poor quality camera. But with a price that’s still significantly lower than an iPad, that may not put you off buying what is essentially a very media tablet.

Fire HD 8 Kids

The Fire HD 8 Kids is a good choice for older kids who’ll appreciate hi-def content

15. Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids

A child-friendly tablet for older kids

Display: : 8 inches | Resolution: 1280 x 800 | Storage: 32GB | Battery life: : 12 hours

Rugged
HD screen
Higher price than the basic Fire Kids tablet
May be overkill for younger kids

For most smaller children, the Fire Kids tablet (above) is all you need. Yet what about when your kids get to an age when they’re demanding hi-def video and gaming content, but you still want the rugged build, two-year warranty, and year’s supply of Amazon’s FreeTime Unlimited service? Then there’s the Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids, which comes with a larger screen (8 inches), more storage (32GB) and a bigger battery life (12 hours) to keep up with all that HD content. All of which, in our eyes, justifies the higher price nicely.

Amazon Fire TV streaming products 

In 2018 there’s a huge range of ways to stream TV and video to our big screens. But our sets aren’t always able to keep up with ever changing technologies and services. In which case, you may find these Amazon devices provide a useful bridge between your telly and your streaming platform.

Amazon Fire TV

The Amazon Fire TV offers a handy way to get 4K onto your big screen

16. Amazon Fire TV

Stream 4K to your set with this device

Resolution: 4K UHD support at 60fps | HDR 10 support: Yes | Alexa Voice Remote: Yes | Quad-core processor: 1.5Ghz | Ethernet support: With optional Ethernet Adapter

4K support
HDR support
Requires separate power connection
Your TV’s own apps may be as good or better

Amazon Fire TV is a video streaming device that allows you to play 4K and HDR content on your 4K TV. There’s also support for Dolby Atmos. It comes with a remote plus a tiny cable that plugs into your TV’s HDMI port. Your TV doesn’t power it, though: you also need to connect a mains adapter for that. But the main question is why you would need it at all, since most 4K and HDR TVs come with their own apps to stream content. The most likely answer is that they either crash a lot in practice, or you don’t like the way they work, both of which seem to be surprisingly common complaints.

Fire TV stick

The Fire TV stick looks like a USB and you can use it to stream video to your set

17. Amazon Fire TV Stick

Steam video to your TV, but not in 4K

Resolution: 1080p | HDR 10 support: No | Alexa Voice Remote: Yes | Quad-core processor: 1.3Ghz | Ethernet support: With optional Ethernet Adapter

Easy to use
Can be powered by some TVs
May need separate power adapter (depending on TV)
No 4K

The Amazon Fire TV Stick looks like a USB stick and plugs into your TV, enabling you to stream content to it. It’s powered by a micro USB port or, if your TV doesn’t have that functionality, a separate power adapter is provided. It has any easy to use interface, and you can even operate it using Alexa. It’s very much geared to promoting Amazon’s own video but also supports other services like Netflix and the BBC iPlayer, as well as music services like Prime Music and Spotify. However, it only goes up to 1080pHD and offers no 4K support. 

The new Fire TV Cube is an all-purpose Alexa assistant that also streams to your TV

The new Fire TV Cube is an all-purpose Alexa assistant that also streams to your TV

18. Amazon Fire TV Cube

A smart speaker and streaming device in one

Resolution: 4K UHD support at 60fps | HDR 10 support: Yes | Alexa Voice Remote: Yes | Quad-core processor: 1.5Ghz | Ethernet support: Yes

4K streaming
Far-field voice control
Expensive
May be overkill

The Amazon Fire TV Cube is a speaker and streaming device in one, essentially combining best of the Echo Dot and the Fire TV. This means you can use it to do all the tasks associated with a voice assistant, and stream 4K HDR content at 60 frames per second to your 4K TV. As our homes start groaning under the weight and complexity of all our different devices, for Amazon to bring all these features together on one device just makes things easier for anyone seeking far-field voice control for both their 4K TV and general Alexa tasks. At time of writing it was on sale in the US but we were still waiting for a UK release date.

Security cameras

Want to keep an eye on your property while you’re away from home, and keep video recordings of any suspicious behaviour? One of these two products, both from Amazon, might be able help…

amazon Cloud Cam

Amazon Cloud Cam is a security camera that can do some neat stuff over Wi-Fi

19. Amazon Cloud Cam

A security camera with modern web smarts

Video resolution: : 1080p | Power source: : Standard outlet | Real-time streaming: : Yes | Cloud storage: : 24 hours | Subscription service available: : Yes

Real-time viewing
Works with Amazon Key
May need additional subscription service
Amazon Key not available everywhere yet

Want a security camera that will record in 1080p HD and stream live to your mobile or tablet? Then the Amazon Cloud Cam is a good option that comes at a very affordable price. Motion sensors can be set to notify you via your smartphone, and you can always access the last 24 hours of recordings (longer periods of storage are available for a monthly payment). And as you’d expect from an Amazon device, you can access the system using Alexa via various Amazon devices. But the headline feature is the Amazon Key, which allows you to open your home to delivery people on a one-time basis. If you’ve had bad experiences with packages being left with neighbours, it’s an intriguing idea you might well want to experiment with, although it’s only available in certain US locations at the time of writing. 

Blink XT Home Security Camera

The Blink XT Home Security Camera System is so easy to set up, although it’s a little limited in use

Security solution that’s easy to set up and go

Video resolution: 720p | Power Source: : 2 AA Batteries | Real-time streaming: : Yes | Cloud storage: : 2 hours | Subscription service available: : No

Simple to set up
Long battery life
Only two hours’ storage at a time
No subscription option to extend

Amazon isn’t putting all its security eggs in one basket. As well as the Cloud Cam (above), late last year it acquired security camera company Blink to add to its portfolio, and they’ve since released the Blink XT range, which are unsurprisingly integrated with the Amazon Echo. What’s great about these cameras is they’re so easy to set up. They’re wireless and so all you have to do is pop in some batteries, choose where to place them (there’s an included mounting plate with a single screw), scan the QR code with your smartphone and you’re all set. The camera talks to a standard base unit which is powered by the mains. They’re waterproof and batteries last an impressive two years without needing replacing. That said, the main downside is that you only get two hours’ free cloud storage, with no option to extend this via a subscription. 

Amazon Dash Buttons

Amazon Dash Button

Amazon Dash Buttons aim to take the fuss out of purchasing your favourite items

The Amazon Dash Button is a small physical device that you can be use to reorder household products you use regularly. For example, you might place a Dash Button near your washing machine and set it up, using your smartphone, to reorder your favourite brand of washing powder. So if that’s Tide, then you want the Tide Dash Button. Whenever you run out, you just need to press the button and it will automatically order you more via your Wi-Fi. 

If you prefer to shop around and compare brands then Dash Buttons are not going to be for you. But if you just want to streamline all that and make more time for the finer things in life, you might find them quite handy. 

And anyway, at present, you get a $4.99 credit every time you buy a $4.99 button, making them essentially free, so there’s no harm in giving them a try.

Related articles:

Check Also

The Best of Are you a true ‘Twitter original’?

Twitter is an incredible place for creators. You can share work, air opinions or gather …

The Best of Discover new concept art skills in ImagineFX 164

Buy issue 164 of ImagineFX hereNever miss an issue: Subscribe to ImagineFX hereFind your career …