Best Budget: Amazon Echo Dot
The Amazon Echo Dot is priced far below most other Smart Hubs without lacking functionality. While it does not have a larger speaker like its older sibling, the on-board microphone is just as capable of picking up voices from across a room, thanks to the seven far-field microphones. The Dot’s capabilities go well beyond ordering pizza; it can set alarms, read news headlines, sports scores and weather reports and more. The addition of a 3.5mm audio input adds the functionality of being able to connect to speakers or headphones for listening to music. Measuring 1.3 x 3.3 x 3.3 inches, the Echo Dot is truly compact enough to fit just about anywhere in any room.
Setup with the Echo Dot is as easy as its use. Just plug it into a wall once it arrives, download the Android or iOS Alexa app and follow the on-screen directions. Once you’re online, the simplest of voice commands will put the Echo Dot to use, including changing the temperature on your Nest thermostat. Even with its capability to control televisions, lights, fans and even some coffee makers, Amazon takes things up a notch with Amazon “Skills” and third-party developer support where the sky’s the limit for its different uses.