After considering which system to buy from Choosing the right home system for me , you have decided on the Amazon Alexa System as the best smart home system for you. This is a great choice. Amazon has spent a lot of energy, dollars, resources and created a lot of 3rd party use of Alexa and Alexa based smart home devices and systems. This article will concentrate on the Amazon branded choices for the voice activated centers and speakers. Later articles will expand on these options but you can’t go wrong with the original designer of the system, Amazon.
What are the choices for Alexa command centers?
You can choose from 2 types of command centers
1. Video and Speaker Centers
- Amazon Echo Show version 2 – this is the premium video system and has recently been updated (9/2017). It has a 7″ rectangular hi-res touch screen. Dual speakers that have a good sound. A video camera and 8 microphones. You can see videos and websites on the screen. You can even have video chats with your friends and families.
- Amazon Echo Spot – This is a smaller spherical video center that has a 2.5″ circular touch screen and a single 1.4″ speaker. It has a front facing camera and can show internet, baby cameras or front door cameras. It can have a clock face and is OK for listening to music on.
2. Speaker Center
- Amazon Echo Plus – is similar to the sound quality and look of the Amazon Echo but it has the added benefit of having a smart home hub built into it. This means it adds in Zigbee communication as well as blue tooth and WiFi. This means you don’t have to add in a 3rd party Zigbee controller. This allows control of lights and thermostats and other devices that use Zigbee. It also has Dolby sound processing and 360º sound.
- Amazon Echo (2nd Generation) – They have improved the look and sound of the device as well as the microphone array. It looks and works better than generation 1 product. It has the same great sound as the Amazon Echo Plus without the smart home hub.
- Amazon Dot (2nd Generation) – They have improved the look and sound of the device as well as the microphone array. It looks and works better than generation 1 product. The sound quality of this unit is mostly for communicating with the user. You can listen to music but the sound quality is not great. You can easily attach an external speaker with Bluetooth or auxiliary cable allowing much better sound than the built in speaker. It is a low cost communication port for your Alexa system.
Comparison of Echo Command Devices
Other Amazon Echo Devices
There are other Amazon Devices and options that are not control hubs.
- Amazon Echo Look – Is a unique device that allows you to get fashion advice and comments on clothing you are wearing with Alexa Fashion. It has a camera to see what you are wearing and can take hands free pictures on voice command. It has a speaker for communicating and can integrate into your Alexa System. I do not think it can act like a command center but it can act as a device on the network. It does not have a video screen. Its speaker can talk to you and play music but it does not sound good. It is not recommended unless you are interested in getting fashion advice from Amazon. Note: it is not included in the Echo Lineup as it has limited uses.
- Amazon Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD and Alexa Voice Remote – This device attaches to the HDMI input on your TV and can play and stream 4K video. The remote can accept voice commands and it controls the Fire TV stick, it does not control the network. It can be controlled by Alexa Command Centers.
- Amazon Fire HD TV and Alexa Voice Remote generation 2 – This device attaches to the HDMI input on your TV and can play and stream HD video. The remote can accept voice commands and it controls the Fire TV stick, it does not control the network. It can be controlled by Alexa Command Centers.
If these functions are needed to make the best smart home system for you, then you should add them to the system. However, they are not control centers they are devices on your network.
What are my recommended choices for your best smart home system using Amazon Alexa?
I recommend the following:
Note: if you are adding additional 3rd party smart devices that require Zigbee control, then I would suggest replacing one Amazon Echo with an Amazon Echo Plus.
Amazon Alexa is a great choice and can easily control other home devices. You will enjoy this system and how it changes your life.
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