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Best Buy Guides Find the Best Amazon Echo Devices for Your Smart Home in 2022
Find the Best Amazon Echo Devices for Your Smart Home in 2022
Best Buy Guide

Find the Best Amazon Echo Devices for Your Smart Home in 2022

Homey lets you control your entire smart home with any voice assistant of your choice – be it Google Home, Siri, or Alexa. We've decided to look at the latter and review popular Amazon Echo devices, including the most affordable and premium ones. If you need advice on which Alexa speaker is the best for your smart home with Homey, you're in the right place!

Pros of the Amazon Ecosystem

The Amazon Echo and Fire TV devices are great accessories for controlling your Homey. If there's one highlight, the execution of voice commands and your favorite Homey Flows is typically faster with Alexa than with Amazon's competition.

The Echo speakers are designed to be easy to control so that your entire family can handle them. Nonetheless, they won't disappoint even if you're a smart home pro, and the same goes for the Echo displays.

Their UIs were a bit restrictive in the previous generations to accommodate beginners first, but Amazon is now rolling out new modular interfaces with widgets and other customization options that will satisfy any smart home enthusiast. Moreover, they make building a Homey dashboard a breeze.

Design-wise, the latest generation of Amazon Echo is not a letdown, either. Gone are the days of black plastic cylinders with tinny speakers – the current Echos are nice to look at, sound great, and their fabric finish fits easily into any interior.

All of that comes at an unbeatable price. This is the most significant advantage of Amazon's range of smart home products – they are affordable by default, and most stores that carry them tend to put them on sale quite frequently.

On the downside, there's the question of privacy. The latest-generation devices feature protection for the mics, and there's a physical shutter for the camera on all the Echo smart displays that have one. With that said, unlike Apple, Amazon is not known for being privacy-minded, and Alexa users have experienced multiple data breaches and other privacy issues in the past.

If you're concerned, it's better to be safe than sorry. It's easy to actively prevent Amazon devices from snooping in on you, as long as you use the right tools. For starters, it's best to let Homey handle your devices as a dedicated smart home hub, protecting your privacy in multiple ways.

On top of that, your Alexa setup can be made more secure by creating a dummy Amazon account decoupled from your existing purchases, search history, or app usage. You'll lose access to some functionality like shopping lists and personalized suggestions, but it might be worth the extra peace of mind.

The Most Popular Alexa Devices

We’ve reviewed six popular Amazon devices that make a great addition to any smart home. Let’s find the best solution for you!

ModelRegular PriceRelease YearStereo Pairing3.5m OutputMulti-room AudioColor OptionsHomey Pro SupportHomey Beta Support
Echo 4
€1002020YesYesYes3YesYes
Echo Dot 3€502019YesYesYes3YesYes
Echo Studio€2002019YesNoYes1YesYes
Echo Flex€302019NoYesNo1YesYes
Echo Show 8€1302021YesNoYes2YesYes
Fire TV Cube€1202019NoNoYes1YesYes

Amazon Echo 4

Available at EUR 100

Amazon Echo 4
  • Great sound quality
  • Combined 3.5mm audio output/input
  • Good bass

The 4th-gen Amazon Echo's sound is on par with the competing brands. With an adequate bass, it's suitable for mid-sized and bigger spaces like living rooms or bedrooms, and it can be paired with any other Echo for stereo or multi-room playback.

The device sports a minimalist design that will work in any home, especially with the new Blue color option. You shouldn't expect that the build quality will match the premium feel of HomePod mini or Google Nest speakers. However, Amazon comes pretty close, and its devices are not an eyesore by any measure.

The company has made only a few compromises, and the new Echo is a well-rounded smart speaker. Most of all, the Echo 4 lets you manage your smart home with Homey, so go ahead and give it a try.

Amazon Echo Dot 3

Available at EUR 50

Amazon Echo Dot 3
  • Affordable
  • Compact size
  • Acceptable sound quality
  • Older model

Echo's little sibling from the 3rd generation doesn't sound as good as the newer models, but it serves its purpose. The device is ideal for casual listening in the Zones of your smart home where sound quality doesn't matter much, such as the hallway, bathroom, or kitchen. In these spaces, the device adds a nice touch, making you feel like you’re in a nice restaurant or a luxurious spa.

While you can't compare the Echo Dot 3 to the likes of HomePod mini regarding sound quality, its price is fantastic, especially when it’s on sale. Moreover, Amazon currently still sells two versions, one with a built-in clock and one without, adding another cool feature into the mix.

Just like the bigger Echo, the Dot provides multi-room audio and stereo pairing with other Amazon devices. It also has a 3.5mm audio output for interfacing with any existing sound system. This jack also works as an audio input, allowing you to play sounds from Homey plugged into the Echo.

Amazon Echo Studio

Available at EUR 200

Amazon Echo Studio
  • 360-degree audio
  • Dolby Atmos support
  • Optical audio input
  • Premium pricing

Amazon didn't forget about all the audiophiles and cinephiles out there. The Echo Studio is an entire sound system in a single package, rocking 3D audio and Dolby Atmos support.

Amazon’s biggest speaker can be used either as a standalone device or as a home theater accessory, in case you use a Fire TV device. You can also send an audio signal to the speaker via a built-in optical input or Bluetooth.

Design-wise, the Echo Studio is plain and a little bit bulky, and unfortunately, its color options are limited to Charcoal. We wish there were at least a Glacier White option that all other Echos have, but it's not a deal-breaker, considering the value this particular product brings.

Amazon Echo Flex

Available at EUR 30

Amazon Echo Flex
  • Tiny
  • Plugs directly into an outlet
  • Expandable via USB-A
  • Limited use cases

Alexa comes in many shapes and sizes, and the Echo Flex is the smallest one – it’s a device that fits discreetly into a standard socket. Mind that the Flex is not meant for playing music – it is conceived as a hands-free input for Alexa. Its built-in speaker is quiet, but it gets the job done if you just need to talk to your voice assistant.

There’s no multi-room audio, which is a pity, considering that the Echo Flex can be connected to a Bluetooth speaker or an older stereo via the 3.5mm input. For multi-room support, we recommend you either get an Echo Input or a previous-generation Echo Dot.

The Echo Flex manages to add something unique, though – an integrated USB-A port that, for example, works as a charger for your phone or a power source for a Zigbee network repeater. Amazon itself offers many USB extensions for the Flex, such as a night light, a clock, and a motion sensor. The last one can even trigger your Homey Flows and control your smart home devices.

Amazon Echo Show 8

Available at EUR 130

Amazon Echo Show 8
  • Great screen quality
  • Lots of customization options
  • Physical camera shutter

As its name suggests, the Echo Show adds a proper display and camera to an Echo smart speaker. It’ll find many uses in your household – as a voice-controlled recipe book, a Homey smart home dashboard, a photo frame, a mini TV, or a feature-packed alarm clock. 

During the day, the screen shows context-based information on rotation, and a simple glance can give you an insight into the latest news or the weather forecast for your location. At night, the Echo Show automatically adjusts the brightness according to the available ambient light and only shows the time and upcoming alarm. This ensures its glow will never become a nuisance at night.

The display also functions as an accessibility feature for people who might not find voice control useful. When enabled, the Echo Show gives you captions for all your Alexa interactions and video content, and commands can be given by typing on the touch screen.

Amazon Fire TV Cube

Available at EUR 120

Amazon Fire TV Cube
  • 4K HDR support
  • Hands-free Alexa control
  • Android TV
  • Ads included by default

Fire TV is Amazon's take on Android TV, so users get the best of both worlds – Alexa and a massive catalog of Android apps.

If you want a smart speaker, we recommend that you avoid the Fire TV Stick and opt for the Cube instead. The main reason is the Cube's hands-free control – the device itself acts like an Echo speaker, and Alexa listens for commands continuously. When your TV is powered off, the assistant responds via the Cube's internal speaker, allowing you to control your smart home with Homey regardless of the TV's output. 

As for its video playback capabilities, the Fire TV Cube handles even high-bandwidth 4K HDR videos. Amazon also allows users to pair the player with other Echo devices to create a connected sound system, providing a complete home theater experience. 

If there's one disadvantage to the Fire TV devices, it's Amazon's bloatware and built-in ads. Luckily, the issue can be quickly resolved by installing an ad blocker or an alternative Android TV launcher. The OS also allows installing a VPN, adding another layer of privacy and ad protection.

The Best Alexa Device for Your Smart Home

There’s something for everyone on our list, and we’d hardly make a better decision than you can. However, if you’re looking for the most versatile product, the Echo Show 8 can be many things in a single package, and the additional visual context comes in handy when controlling your Homey smart home with Alexa.

As for high-end solutions, Amazon's ecosystem allows you to pair a Fire TV with an Echo Studio, hitting that sweet 4K HDR Dolby Atmos jackpot.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Echo Flex is a no-brainer when you just need an affordable hands-free Alexa to trigger your favorite Homey Flows.

Amazon Echo Alternatives 

If Amazon is not your love brand, but you still want first-hand experience with Alexa, consider purchasing Alexa-enabled smart speakers made by other manufacturers. 

The alternatives that immediately come to mind are the Sonos One and the Sonos Beam, both capable of switching between Google Assistant and Alexa. Keep in mind that Sonos integrates Alexa in a limited way and doesn't support multi-room audio with Echo devices, however, the smart home control with Homey is still flawless and worth checking out.

Amazon also has a handy Alexa mobile app. On Android and Wear OS, it’s possible to make Alexa your default voice assistant and launch it with the dedicated assistant button. Meanwhile, iOS lets you create a widget that wakes Alexa, and you can quickly open the Alexa app via the double-tap accessibility feature.

Controlling Homey Devices & Accessories with Alexa

Interfacing with Homey Bridge or Homey Pro is possible via the official Homey Skill for Alexa. The communication setup is pretty straightforward – add the Skill, sign in with your Homey account, and you’re done! 

Once it’s up and running, the integration lets you ask Alexa to turn on your lights, lock your doors, or remind you to turn on the security alarm as you leave for work. Alexa can also trigger any of your favorite Homey Flows

Controlling Alexa Speakers & Displays with Homey

Thanks to the Spotify App, HTTP requests in Homey Logic, or the community Alexa App supported by Homey Pro, the commands between Alexa and Homey can also go the other way around. With these applications installed, Homey will send requests directly to your Echo speakers and displays, asking Alexa to make an announcement or set up a morning alarm, for example.

Technically speaking, the integration allows Homey to interact with the available Alexa Skills and Games, and the Alexa Blueprints let you have fun with further customization of your smart home with Homey Pro, especially if you’re an advanced user.

Conclusion

Whether you get an Echo or a Fire TV device, both can be great accessories to your smart home built with Homey. Only you can tell how to make the most out of your setup, however, we hope we’ve made your options clearer.

There are many uses for Alexa – the most obvious one is running your favorite Homey Flows or creating a dashboard for your Homey device. Of course, you can also try other applications, and we’ve prepared an entire list of creative things you can do with your Echo and Homey.

The setup process of communication between Alexa and the new Homey, Homey Bridge, or Homey Pro doesn’t take much time for a seasoned pro or even a smart home newbie, so go ahead and try it yourself!

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