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A Guide to the Most Useful Smart Devices Sold on Amazon

5-Minute Crafts gets commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Let’s be straightforward here — could we imagine our everyday lives without smart devices nowadays? Probably not. However, choosing the right smart device is not the easiest of tasks. This is why 5-Minute Crafts has prepared a list of Amazon products that are not just considered smart devices, but smart purchases, as well.

1. Echo Dot (4th generation) with clock and Alexa

This popular smart speaker/clock combo with Alexa Echo Dot technology (4th generation) will not leave you unsatisfied for sure. It is perfect for your bedside table both aesthetically and tech-wise, due to its sleek, smart design. You can ask Alexa to help you set alarms, play the news or music, or even tell a joke! Besides that, it helps you control the other smart technology in your home and connect with others — all this while keeping your privacy protected.

Promising review: "The 4th generation Echo Dot with LED display is my first smart speaker and I am really impressed by it. Easy to set up and sounding good as it comes out of the box. I don’t think that I could ask for more.

This is a pleasant surprise as the Dot is small — roughly the size and shape of an orange with the top cut off to provide a flat base. It was simple to set up with the help of the Alexa app on my mobile. Once I had logged into my Amazon account in the app it was just a matter of letting the app find the Dot and then answering a few questions. It took me roughly 7 minutes from start to finish. I didn’t even have to enter any network name, although the option was there.

The 4th generation Echo Dot is a well-designed piece of equipment. It looks great and feels comfortingly solid. The firmware and software are clever. When plugged in for the first time I was greeted in several languages on the built-in display and sound (I spotted English, Spanish, and Italian but I was not really paying attention). The ring of LEDs around the base is used as a status display. The colors look to be orange for connected, blue when Alexa is active, and switch to a rotating light to indicate that the Dot is waiting. There’s a light sensor on the top that adjusts the LEDs to match the ambient light. It’s a quality feature and something that I find very reassuring.

It is the sound quality that I find amazing. I am a Prime member so my first experiment was to say “Alexa play Beethoven’s fifth.” After a moment I was given details of the recording before the piece started playing. I was taken aback by the quality of the sound, rich and warm, that seemed to fill the room. Much better than I had expected from such a small device. Just before I started writing this, I called out, “Alexa play Enya” and have been equally impressed. The tracks are a little bass-heavy for my preference but are perfectly acceptable.

The 4th Generation Echo Dot gets 5 stars from me without any hesitation. I can see that it is going to be a great addition to my den." — Greycynic

Buy the Echo Dot 4th Generation here.

2. The Echo Show 8 (2nd generation) smart display with Alexa

The Echo Show 8 (2nd generation) was released in 2021 and it truly makes your life easier. This HD smart display with Alexa has an 8″ HD touchscreen and stereo speakers that helps you stay entertained by streaming TV shows and films from Netflix, Prime Video, and more, but also by playing music from Amazon Music, Spotify, or Apple Music. The Echo Show 8 allows you to make video calls, check your calendar, set timers, and other day-to-day tasks. Not only that — its built-in camera helps you manage your smart home when you are away. Do not miss this new smart experience.

Promising review: “We have moved a family member into an assisted living complex and the Alexa Show is perfect for us to keep in touch many times a day.
When the device is set up to ‘Drop-in,’ it does this automatically without the person having to press any buttons to answer. We previously had problems with using mobile phones and FaceTime due to this.
It has enabled us to encourage their recovery as we do daily exercises with them, read the newspaper together, and do crosswords. It is like having them in the room next door but we can see and hear each other very clearly.
It has also helped with calling assistance when they have been unwell or fallen.
It is taking a while for staff members to get used to the Alexa Show as I am sure they have concerns about the device being able to watch them. It is today’s technology being used to help the well-being of individuals. Brilliant!” — Sylvia Grayson

Buy the Echo Show 8 2nd Generation here.

3. Amazon Smart Plug

Amazon Smart Plug is the next-level smart plug that works with Alexa, allowing you to add voice control to any electrical socket. It does not require a smart home hub and is simple to set up and use. You won’t lose your patience or nerves while controlling your home appliances remotely and scheduling lights and coffee machines. A smart buy in every sense.

Promising review: “This was super simple to set up and does exactly what you’d expect. I use it with a table lamp whose switch is hard to reach. Saying ‘Alexa, TV lamp off’ is so much easier than crawling behind the furniture! You can call the plug whatever you want in the Alexa app and add it to ’groups’ for actions like switching all your stuff off with one command.

Physically, it’s a very simple white box and not too big so it will fit into any room and control anything you plug into it.

To use this you need an Echo device and a smartphone or tablet with the Alexa app on it.

I can see me buying a few of these.” — Androo

Buy the Amazon Smart Plug here.

4. Samsung Galaxy SmartTag item finder and key finder

If you tend to lose your keys or struggle finding them, look no further. Get yourself a Galaxy SmartTag to make your life less stressful. Just tag your precious things and finding them will be super simple, as this smart device lets you track them within a range of 120 meters. Galaxy Find Network and SmartThings Find are there to help you if the signal is lost or the item is out of range. Don’t worry about security and privacy, Galaxy SmartTag has got it all under control.

Promising review: “The applications for these tags are endless. I have them attached to both my keys and wallet. I’ve placed one in the head rests of each of our cars just in case they are ever stolen. My girlfriend has put one in our kids school bags and in their coats so even if they don’t answer their phones we can still know roughly where they are in an emergency without being intrusive. And I would recommend these to any parent that worries about their kids when they are out of the house on their own. They do sometimes take a while to update due to the way they use other people’s phones to calculate their position. But having something is better than nothing if your child has gone missing and you can’t contact them by phone for any reason. These tags have given us a little bit of peace of mind and have allowed us to keep a look out for the things and people we care about most without being more intrusive than absolutely necessary. Would recommend them to anyone who feels the same way.” — Shaun Woosnam

Buy the Galaxy SmartTag here.

5. Arlo Essential wireless doorbell camera

Home security is surely important to keep in mind. The Arlo Essential wireless doorbell camera offers a unique square viewing angle and a wide 180-degree field of view that helps you see everything that’s going on at your doorstep. The built-in motion detection triggers the alarm, deters intruders, and video calls your mobile directly. Other features include night vision, HD video, and flexible battery power. It’s even waterproof!

Promising review: “Purchased the Arlo Doorbell to go with my existing Arlo Pro2 camera setup. Installation was incredibly simple; the wireless version has a rechargeable battery so it’s not dependent on your existing doorbell transformer to power it. However, the beauty of the kit is you can then have an existing bell power supply trickle charge the battery. Best of both worlds! Wiring up to my existing bell was a doddle, just unplug the 2 wires on the old button and wire it into the Arlo. My existing chime still works, so no need to invest in another. The kit includes a flat and an angled mount to suit most door positions. Calling from the bell to mobile phones works really well. I’ve found the delay between the button being pressed and my phone/tablet ringing to be within 1 sec — just have it as near as possible to your wireless router. Works great with existing cameras so you can include them in existing recording schedules and have other cameras trigger when the doorbell detects motion. Works with Alexa just like the other Arlo cameras do; I often have the video displayed on an Echo Show and Fire TV.” — Leon

Buy the Arlo Essential Doorbell Camera here.

6. Jalo optical smoke alarm Kupu 10 for home

It is never a bad idea to get a smoke detector for your home. Jalo Optical Smoke Alarm Kupu 10 for Home is operated by a 10-year lithium battery and can be installed fast with adhesive tape on a wall or ceiling. A great idea for a thoughtful gift too!

Promising review: “Very smart and easy to install, taking care to align it as the adhesive pad works on contact.

If someone from Jalo reads these comments — please note that a chrome carbon monoxide detector model would be a welcome addition to your product range.

Sited in a kitchen. Not tested with smoke yet.” — Redhunter

Buy the Jalo Kupu 10 here.

7. Philips Hue smart light base unit

If you are into playing with light in your home or into setting up a real gaming experience, then you might consider purchasing the Philips Hue base unit designed for entertainment lighting. This device can play 16 million colors to create an atmosphere for any mood or occasion. You can create a cinema-like experience in your own home or enjoy a sporting event at a new level. Gamers will appreciate Philips Hue immensely, as they can use it to bring in-game environments and effects into their room. The device offers smart control with the Philips Hue Bridge and via the mobile app, as well as voice control.

Promising review: “Really happy with this purchase (I’ve actually gone ahead and ordered another pack!).

Super bright and small, the usual simplicity — plug it in, open the app, and find the devices. Currently have one on either side of the TV and it adds a really pleasant ambiance. I have ordered another pack so I can have a central light too (I’ll find somewhere else to put the 4th!).

Good build quality that I’ve come to expect from Philips Hue. Not the cheapest product, but certainly one of the brightest I have seen... I can think of multiple uses,
but certainly works well as a TV backlight.” — Ben

Buy the Philips Hue Smart Light here.

8. Google Chromecast

Google Chromecast is another smart device designed for entertainment purposes. It allows you to watch films, shows, and live TV and play music by streaming on your TV from any of your family devices. Just plug Chromecast into the HDMI port on your TV to power and stream whatever you wish. Plus, you can start streaming with just your voice and continue using your phone while streaming.

Promising review: “At first I ordered the MPIO one (ASIN: B081R48WPG), which, when I received it, I couldn’t get to work (even after 2 hours), so returned it for a refund. Then I ordered this one (the official Google Chromecast one) and it couldn’t be more different. The television recognized it immediately, as did Google Home. The instructions were clear and precise and everything worked exactly as the manual described. 5 minutes after installing, I was already casting to my TV. Don’t bother going for any of the alternatives — they are all about the same price anyway — just get this one and you’ll be amazed how easy it is to set up. BTW, although supplied with a USB plug and cable, I plugged mine directly into the television USB socket for power.” — LJA

Buy the Google Chromecast device here.

9. Logitech Keys-To-Go wireless Bluetooth keyboard

Being able to use a free moment at a park or café to do some work is really convenient. Portable devices come in super handy in these situations. The Logitech Keys-To-Go wireless Bluetooth keyboard is ultra-thin and portable and you can take it literally anywhere, as it can even fit between the pages of a magazine. The battery life is 3 months. The durable cover is spill and dirt-proof so you can easily wipe the crumbs or liquid right off, and continue working with no stress about potential damage. And most importantly, it connects easily via Bluetooth pairing to almost any smartphone or tablet.

Promising review: “Tested on both an iPad and Surface Pro:

Pros:
— Extremely portable, light, and thin.

— Universal Bluetooth connection which is very stable. No connection / reconnection issues.

— Water- and dust-proof.

— Excellent materials and construction.

— Good battery life.

Con (sort of):
— Keystroke travel distance could be better, but then again, this is an ultra-portable keyboard.

— As I’m heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem it would be great if this used the smart connector, however that would detract from its universal appeal.

This has to be one of the best portable and universal Bluetooth keyboards I’ve used yet—I’ve knocked one star off simply because of the nature of Bluetooth and its fiddly pairing when switching devices. If you’re using one solo device then this is easily 5 stars.” — Koko E.

Buy the Logitech Keys-To-Go wireless keyboard here.

10. Kindle Oasis e-reader

Avid readers will just love the certified refurbished Kindle Oasis. The Paperwhite display now offers adjustable warm light. Just pick a screen shade you prefer. Designed to be thin and light, Kindle Oasis has also got page-turn buttons and a new fast page-turning E-ink technology. Not to mention it’s waterproof and works with Audible. Enjoy your new reading experience even in the bath!

Promising review: “Moving from a perfectly acceptable 2013/14 Paperwhite to this Oasis was something I weighed for a few weeks. It’s a bit pricey but the build quality is evident. The night reading function is sublime and the page change buttons, oh how I’ve missed those sweet buttons. So glad I spent a bit more and didn’t settle for the signature edition.” — S. P. Blackwell

Buy the Kindle Oasis here.

11. Bosch Smart Home Door/Window Contact

We all sometimes forget to close doors and windows. It happens. But the Bosch Smart Home Door/Window Contact is there to remind you. This reliable smart device detects open doors and windows and notifies you via smartphone. It is actually very versatile because it sounds an alarm in case of an intrusion and even informs the networked thermostats to turn the heating off when the windows are open. Now that is energy-efficient.

Promising review: “Good product! It satisfied the basic needs.” — MRS J A HALL

Buy the Bosch Smart Home Door/Window Contact here.

12. Google Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd generation)

Speaking of saving energy, check out the Google Nest Learning Thermostat. This remarkable device has saved over 4 billion kWh of energy in millions of homes across the globe since 2011. Its learning ability allows it to get to know your heating preferences while you are at home and to create a temperature schedule for you. It assists you perfectly when you are away because it automatically adjusts the temperature and even turns off your hot water when you travel. When it spots you entering the house, it lights up to inform you about the temperature, time, and weather. With a ton of other functions, this is a true energy-saving device that takes care of you.

Promising review: “Installed and working and this just oozes quality, stat was very easy to program to Wi-Fi and set up and even has a program schedule to work with the auto-learning. Stat body has some weight which just backs up the quality feel and touch.

With the installation, I wall-mounted my Nest room stat in place of the old stat, for this you need a 2-core cable but most existing room stats will have this so it should suit everyone who wants a fixed or mobile installation. I mounted my receiver base in the loft to the side of my combi boiler. To install the base for the Nest it requires 230v power and the room stat connection contact wires for the boiler and hot water demand cables if using to control water as well, on a combi boiler you would install this next to the boiler or in place of a wall-mounted programmer, while with a Y or S plan system you would install this next to the wiring control center that is normally found next to the copper tank.

Installation time with all wiring on place should take no more than around 1 hour in total for a skilled person including a few trips to the van / shed for tools and materials. I personally did this in around 25 minutes and had never installed a Nest before but I am a fully qualified electrician.

I am so impressed with this product I have now purchased the Nest Protect smoke alarm.” — Rick

Buy the Google Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Generation here.

Preview photo credit Amazon, Amazon
5-Minute Crafts/Tech/A Guide to the Most Useful Smart Devices Sold on Amazon
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