When Amazon first launched its Alexa voice assistant in 2014, you had one option for bringing it into your home: the now-classic cylindrical Echo speaker. Since then, Amazon has introduced a slew of new hardware, including the dainty Dot, the portable Tap, and the touchscreen Show.
Tip within a tip: The Echo has become such a popular household item because there are so many things you can do with Alexa. Click here for seven unexpected Alexa abilities that will make your life easier.
The Show is the priciest of the bunch, coming in at $230, but you don’t have to drop a bundle to welcome Alexa into your life as a digital roommate. Here are some very budget-friendly ways to either get started with Alexa or expand your Alexa ecosystem.
It’s OK if you haven’t heard of Eufy. It’s the home-goods brand from Anker, a company known for its popular battery backup and power products. The Eufy Genie is the newest Alexa device on the scene and it comes ready to rumble with a $35 price tag. The Genie will draw comparisons to Amazon’s own Echo Dot. It’s a small puck-shaped device with a built-in speaker, but it features a more graceful design with a tapered top. You will need to download Eufy’s own app to set it up, but afterward, it will behave and respond like any other Alexa gadget.
The biggest difference (besides price) between the $35 Genie and the $50 Dot is the Genie’s lack of Bluetooth. That means you will need to use a 3.5 mm cable to connect it to an external speaker. If Bluetooth is important to you and your Alexa enjoyment, then you will want to skip the Genie and instead check out the next most affordable Alexa speaker, the Dot.
Right now, the Eufy Genie is on sale on Amazon! Click here to buy it for just $30.
Amazon’s Echo Dot is the big retailer’s entry-level Alexa device, now in its second generation. The $50 gadget has a built-in speaker, but it’s not going to deliver high fidelity sound. If you don’t care about the sound quality, or if you already have a good set of external speakers (connected via Bluetooth or a 3.5 mm stereo cable), then this is the go-to affordable made-by-Amazon way to get Alexa.
Right now you can save $5 on the Echo Dot. Click here to buy it for just $45.
Fire TV Stick
The Echo suite of devices get all the glory when it comes to Alexa products, so it’s easy to overlook the Fire TV Stick, which costs just $40. The Fire Stick comes with an Alexa-enabled remote control. However, you have to push a button on the remote to activate the voice assistant.
It won’t just respond to a wake word like the Echo devices will. If you need a streaming-media gadget for your television anyway, then this is a smart bargain. The Alexa capability is a nice added bonus. Plus, you can use your voice to control the Fire TV Stick by giving commands like “Launch Hulu” or “Play House of Cards.”
Amazon is very interested in getting its Alexa-enabled devices into as many homes as possible, especially with the growth of the rival Google Home and the looming specter of Apple’s upcoming HomePod. That’s a big reason why Amazon is constantly running sales on its Alexa gear. If you’re patient, you won’t have to pay full price for your Dot, Tap, Echo or Show.
Sometimes the deals come with a catch, such as having to buy two Shows in order to get $100 off. Past sales have included a $35 Echo Dot and a $90 Echo. Amazon Prime Day, which happened in July this year, is a reliable time to get Alexa deals, but sales pop up all year round.
You can also save a little by buying a refurbished unit, which comes with the guarantee it will look and work like new. Even those refurbished devices occasionally go on sale, so find an opportunity and stack those discounts.