Are you in search of hi-tech gifts for your loved ones this year? Then look no further as we zero in on some of the hottest tech on the market that’s sure to be a hit on Christmas!
Black Friday is here once again and if your timing is right, you can score some incredible deals. You may recall that earlier this month, Amazon expanded free shipping to all customers with no minimum purchase amount. Now the retail giant is set to roll out deep discounts on some of their most popular devices beginning Thursday, Nov. 22.
But if you’ve if looked for those great deals in years past, then probably you know they don’t last long. So get ready to jump on those sales and put a smile on the faces of your family and friends with this Amazon-branded gear!
Amazon Echo (2nd generation)
The do-everything smart speaker that started it all got an updated look late last year along with a couple of modifications under the hood. It has the same functionality as its 2014 predecessor, including voice control powered by Amazon’s digital assistant, Alexa. It’s still just as easy to order a pizza or check the weather, and has the ability to control a wide range of smart home products, thanks to the growing list of Alexa skills.
On the surface, it has a smaller form factor than the original and comes in five styles, including two wood finishes and three fabrics. Inside, the second generation boasts a 2.5-inch downward-firing woofer powered by Dolby to add much more bass to your favorite music. The smart speaker can also connect to other compatible Echo devices for multi-room music as well as the Drop In feature that works in a way similar to an intercom.
All-new Echo Plus (2nd generation)
The Echo’s big brother, the Echo Plus, first debuted in 2017 but the all-new second generation was released just last month. This smart speaker was also redesigned and is now much more compact than the previous model, although still larger than the standard Echo. What’s different about the Plus?
The Echo Plus has a built-in Zigbee hub that allows you to set up and control other compatible smart home devices – without the use of a separate hub or app for each product. This model also has a larger, 3-inch speaker, also powered by Dolby, and a built-in temperature sensor. The updated Echo Plus also comes in three different colors.
All-new Echo Dot (3rd generation)
Amazon’s smallest and most popular smart speaker also received a aesthetic overhaul, and no longer resembles a talking hockey puck. It has many of the features included in the full-size Echo, but lacks the premium speakers because of its small size.
With that said, sound quality on the Echo Dot has improved over previous generations, but it still won’t qualify as the go-to speaker to stream music for many users. But remember you can connect the Echo Dot to a receiver or another external speaker via Bluetooth or auxiliary jack. This one also comes in three colors.
Echo Dot (2nd generation)
If you don’t mind stepping back to a previous generation of the popular Echo Dot, you’ll be able to get a 2nd generation unit for a very low price. As previously mentioned, the sound quality in this version is not quite as good as its newer counterpart but regardless, it’s still best to use external speakers with these tiny Dots.
The unit itself only comes in black but you can add an exterior case for $14.99 if you want to enhance its look (comes in six colors, including three fabric and three leather options).
All-new Echo Show (2nd generation)
The Echo smart speakers weren’t the only products to receive an overhaul this year. Take a look at the all-new Amazon Echo Show with Alexa – and a 10.1-inch HD screen! It’s a major upgrade from the first generation Show, released in mid-2017.
Of course, it has all the capabilities of the other Echo devices, including the Zigbee smart home hub built-in like the Echo Plus. But the screen is where the Show shines. For instance, would you rather hear Alexa read a recipe for pumpkin pie, or actually display the directions on the screen? I thought so. You can also ask for weather forecasts to see what’s coming over the next few days, or watch as lyrics follow along with songs you’re listening to. But that’s not the best part.
Connect it to compatible smart gadgets, like the Ring Doorbell, and see who’s outside via your Echo Show. Make video calls to other owners of video-enabled Amazon devices (and Skype as of this week!), or watch your favorite shows and movies with Prime Video or Hulu, including live TV (with subscription). And of course, you can use it to shop Amazon.
The all-new Show has a larger touchscreen and a much sleeker design that the original, with a fabric backing similar to other late-generation Echo devices that comes in two colors. It also got a speaker upgrade, with considerably improved sound over the first generation model.
Think of the Echo Spot as a great addition to your nightstand. It has many of the same capabilities of the Show, but on a much, much smaller scale. Definitely use it for video calling or to check your video doorbell, but don’t plan on its single speaker to take the lead at a party. Seriously – it’s cute, maybe even adorable, and it comes in two colors. So replace your alarm clock, and maybe even add one to your desk.
Bonus: How to make Alexa call 911
Amazon Smart Plug
Need some hi-tech stocking stuffers? Then add the Amazon Smart Plug to your list, which adds Alexa voice control to any electrical outlet. Once it’s plugged in, use your voice on an Alexa-enabled device (or the app on your phone) to schedule anything from your lights to control of a host of other household staples with routines. And no smart home hub is required!
All-New Fire HD 10 tablet and Show Mode Dock bundle
How about a bundle deal? First, you’ll get a Fire HD 10 tablet with Alexa built-in, sporting a 10.1-inch full HD display and up to 10 hours of battery life. With Amazon’s largest tablet, you can watch movies and shows, play games, stream music (Amazon Prime members get access to a wide variety at no additional cost) and make video calls to family and friends who have compatible Amazon devices. There’s no shortage of apps in the Amazon appstore, and storage is expandable up to 256 GB with optional microSD card (not included). Choose from three colors.
The bundle also includes Amazon’s all-new Show Mode Charging Dock! Just pop the included case onto your Fire HD 10 and place it on the magnetic charging dock to transform your tablet into, in essence, the Echo Show.
All-New Fire HD 8 tablet and Show Mode Dock bundle
Here’s a similar deal but with a smaller tablet. The all-new Fire HD 8 tablet has an 8-inch screen and will get about 10 hours of use, like the Fire HD 10. Otherwise, some of the specs aren’t quite on the same level as its 10-inch counterpart but all key features remain the same. It’s available in four colors and expandable up to 400 GB of storage. This bundle also includes a smaller version of the Show Mode Charging Dock.
All-new Fire HD tablet with Hands-Free Alexa
Not interested in the Show Mode Dock? No problem! You’ll still be able to get the same great tablet at a deep discount.
Fire 7 tablet with Alexa
If you’re looking for a great budget tablet, look no further than the Amazon Fire 7. The tablet with a 7-inch screen lacks HD but still has it where it counts, with Alexa built-in. It’s also available in four colors and will get you about 8 hours of battery life.
Kindle Paperwhite (7th generation)
This isn’t the latest generation of Amazon’s E-reader, but expect to get a great deal on the 7th generation Kindle Paperwhite during their Black Friday sale. The e-reader that reads just like paper packs a 6-inch display and built-in light that’s adjustable for day or night. And you can get weeks of battery life on a single charge.
Again, these sales start on Nov. 22, and remember they won’t last long!