Who It’s For
Smart-home enthusiasts not attached to Apple or Google services. The Echo — along with its smaller version, the Dot — is the best established of the three platforms and has the largest number of compatible devices and partners.
Similar to the others, though the Echo’s app requires a few additional steps to identify compatible products.
A Typical Day
Echo’s “Alexa” responds to the usual smart-home voice commands, such as adjusting the thermostat and the lights, even working with the iDevices Socket ($60; idevicesinc.com) to control standard bulbs. But the Echo really shines when paired with a Logitech Harmony Elite remote ($350; logitech.com). After a brief bit of setup, we said, “Alexa, time for Netflix,” which made the lights dim, the TV turn on, and the streaming service open. Meanwhile, Amazon continues to pull in partners, including Sonos.
The puck-size Dot doesn’t have great sound, but it can be placed out of view. [From $49; amazon.com]