According to Amazon, Alexa’s engagement has quadrupled in the past four years, and more people than ever are using the voice assistant to cook, play music, and even control their smart home devices. With Smart speakers and displays from Amazon Echo, Alexa can monitor visitors to your door ring, control the speed of your ceiling fan or switch it on Philips Hue lights up when you enter a room.

Since Amazon launched its first Echo speaker in 2014, Google Assistant and Siri jumped on board with their own intelligent speakers and voice control. However, the Alexa voice assistant was the first to advocate voice integrations in the smart home and still offers the most integrations across the room.

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Let's take a look at the best Alexa devices available today.

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

Amazon has added an LED watch to its third generation smart speaker to create the Echo Dot with watch. For this price, it's our favorite speaker. This third generation dot from 2019 not only offers an impressive sound for its modest profile, but also makes helpful information – such as time, timer and outside temperature – clearly visible.

While there are many Amazon Alexa devices to choose from, the Echo Dot with watch is a leader with its impressive performance, small footprint and practicality. At just $ 60, this pint-sized smart speaker is an excellent entry into the world of Amazon Alexa devices.

Read the Amazon Echo Dot with Clock Test.

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

Despite being priced at $ 463, the two-pack Arlo Pro 3 is a great surveillance camera with local storage, high quality 2K streaming, and compatibility with Google Assistant and Alexa. The Arlo Pro 3 is our most popular high-end smart cam. It offers quick warnings and numerous functions such as an integrated siren, a motion sensor, color night vision and a 12x zoom.

You can also view your camera stream on Amazon Echo smart displays, although Arlo's previous 7-day free event-based cloud storage option is no longer available. You must therefore sign up for the monthly plans (from $ 3 per month). to store footage in the cloud.

Read the Arlo Pro 3 review.

Lauren Routt / CNET

Ring's $ 80 Peephole Cam is a unique product for the Amazon-owned company. The Peephole Cam is not mounted on a door frame or on another side next to your door, but replaces a conventional peephole.

That said, this product is perfect for people living in homes who want an intelligent doorbell but don't want to deal with a hard-wired device – or otherwise mess up a door frame for installation. None of Ring's main competitors offer such a seamless solution for residents, making this doorbell, among other devices available today, particularly innovative.

In addition, the Peephole Cam offers the simplest installation of all doorbells tested so far. It has also expanded Alexa integration. Yes, you can access the live feed on an Amazon smart display, but you can also chat with the person standing in front of your door using the built-in loudspeaker on the smart display with the command "Alexa, answer the front door".

This bidirectional call function via an Alexa smart display is only available for ring devices.

Other notable ringtones include the battery-powered or hard-wired Ring Video Doorbell 2 for $ 199 and the hard-wired Ring Video Doorbell for $ 249 per.

Read the report on the Ring Peephole Cam.

Chris Monroe / CNET

The Ecobee SmartThermostat is a connected thermostat for $ 249. This model replaces the Ecobee4 Smart Thermostat but has many of the same great features.

Control your SmartThermostat via the Ecobee app and use the voice commands Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri to adjust the temperature of your Smart Thermostat. However, it is Alexa’s voice control that really stands out because the thermostat itself has a built-in intelligent Alexa speaker.

That means you don't need a separate Echo device. Simply connect your thermostat, activate the speaker and ask Alexa questions.

Read the Ecobee SmartThermostat test.

Chris Monroe / CNET

The Amazon Echo Show 8 is the latest smart display from Amazon. For $ 130 (though it is currently available for $ 100), you get an 8-inch screen with the best resolution of any echo show to date, a camera shutter, and all the smarts of previous Amazon smart displays.

The Echo Show 8 has a built-in Alexa speaker. That said, you can use this smart display to ask Alexa to bid, whether you're playing music, telling the weather, or just telling a joke. Since it is an intelligent display, it also offers expanded compatibility with Alexa-enabled surveillance cameras.

Ask Alexa to "open the front door" if someone calls your Ring Peephole Cam and you can see the live feed on your Show 8 – and actually speak to the person directly from the smart display.

Read the Amazon Echo Show 8 review.

Chris Monroe / CNET

August's Wi-Fi Smart Lock is a great Smart Lock. Most standard bars are upgraded so you don't have to worry about a complicated installation. The integrated Wi-Fi enables remote access and control of your Smart Lock via the Android or iOS app without the need for an August Connect module.

This product also has an opening / closing sensor called DoorSense that attaches to the door where your Wi-Fi Smart Lock is installed. In this way, the app can not only determine whether the door is locked or unlocked, but also whether the door is open or closed.

The August Wi-Fi Smart Lock works with Alexa, so you can lock and unlock your door with your voice using an Alexa-enabled smart speaker.

Read the Wi-Fi Smart Lock review in August.

Chris Monroe / CNET

SimpliSafe is a solid do-it-yourself security system with a lot of accessories, so you can scale the system as needed. The starter kit costs $ 210 for the hub, keyboard, keychain tag, motion sensor, and door / window sensor.

SimpliSafe also works with Alexa, so you can activate the system and check its status with simple voice commands.

No contract is required for SimpliSafe. However, the monthly fees for accessing the app start at $ 15 and increase to $ 25 if you want professional monitoring.

Read the SimpliSafe test.

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

The latest version of the Philips Hue White LED works with ZigBee and Bluetooth. Adding Bluetooth is important to Philips Hue because you don't need a Philips hub to get these smart lights up and running.

Instead, the smart lights are connected directly to your phone – and they work with Alexa voice commands. Ask Alexa to turn on the living room lighting or dim the dining room lighting to 70%.

Philips Hue White LEDs only cost $ 15 each, which means you don't have to spend a lot of money on these simple Alexa-enabled lamps.

Read the article Philips Hue White LED.

Chris Monroe / CNET

The TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini is a big name for a tiny smart plug that only costs $ 14. A smart plug like this connects directly to an electrical outlet through your Wi-Fi connection and converts your non-smart lights, fans, and other devices into smart devices.

Use the TP-Link app to connect and control devices – or sign in to Amazon Alexa and use your voice. Say "Alexa, turn on the reading lamp" so that the Plug Mini Smart Plug can easily control the devices connected to it.

Read the test report for TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini.

Continue reading: Best smart plugs for 2020

Chris Monroe / CNET

The Amazon Echo Flex is a tiny intelligent speaker that plugs directly into an electrical outlet. For $ 25, it offers all Alexa smarts and a USB port for additional modules – such as a motion detector and a night light.

As the name suggests, the Flex can perform many functions to help improve your home security and expand Alexa listening area when you need help in less central corners of your home.

With the addition of a motion sensor, Alexa can automate based on your motion, turn on the lights when you enter a room, or send your morning messages when you sit down for breakfast.

Read the Echo Flex CNET test.


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The Alexa landscape

Amazon’s voice assistant makes it easier to control devices in your home, set timers, and find out how long it will take you to get to the office. However, privacy has become an increasing problem as smart speakers and displays become more popular.

Report that Amazon transcripts your voice callsEven after deleting the Alexa audio recordings, there were concerns about user privacy. Senator Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat, wrote a letter to Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon Find answers to Amazon's Alexa user data and how they are stored. Amazon has since introduced the feature "Alexa, delete everything I said today". The technology giant says that's the way it is work on new ways for customers to delete their transcripts.

In contrast to previous Echo Show devices, the Echo Show 8, the latest Amazon smart display, has an integrated camera shutter.

Amazon is not alone. Facebook, Google and other large technology companies had their own privacy issues and asked questions about data usage.

Fortunately, Amazon and others seem to be working to regain our trust. Did these privacy concerns keep you from buying a voice assistant (Alexa or otherwise)? Weigh in the comments below.

Do you have anymore questions? Read more about Alexa.

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Originally published in 2019 and updated regularly.

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