About David Murphy
David Murphy was formerly the Senior Technology Editor at Lifehacker. Across his 15+ year career in technology journalism, his reviews and how-to guides have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Wirecutter, CNN, USA Today, PCMag, Reviewed.com, Computer Shopper, Laptop Mag, PCWorld, PC Gamer, Tom's Hardware, World of Warcraft: The Magazine, Maximum PC, Buzzfeed, Engadget, and Ars Technica.
This tiny speaker/microphone combination connects your car up to Amazon's digital assistant, but who is it for, exactly?
The second-generation Amazon Echo Auto is a smaller, detachable contraption that does exactly what you'd imagine: bring the powers of Alexa to your dashboard courtesy of a little microphone/speaker combination that you attach somewhere in your car. Plug the Echo Auto into a spare USB port or 12V power output (commonly known as the "cigarette lighter"), go through a pretty comprehensive onboarding process, and Alexa will be waiting for you at the end, ready to receive your commands. But do you really need it?
An extremely pricy light show without much to offer
GE's Cync Full Color Dynamic Effects Smart Light Strip is a mouthful to say, but its name is perhaps the most impressive part of this 16-million-color, diffused string of LEDs. A big, diffused strip of LEDs whose length you can easily modify is held back by a ho-hum controller application — so much so, I'm not sure it makes a lot of sense to buy GE's lights when you can get other, just as lovely looking solutions for mood lighting that cost half as much (or less).
A solid camera meets a subpar app experience and a pretty high price tag
There are a lot of great security cameras out there, and the Nooie Pro Cam is decent if all you need is a powerful 2K camera for day and night that you can check in on from time to time. While its battery life is formidable, the camera's in-app experience is subpar at best. The lag you'll experience when accessing your camera or adjusting its settings will be enough to dissuade you from using it much. And that defeats the point of a security camera, doesn't it?
A strong security system even without the pricey subscription
Amazon's Ring Alarm Pro is an absolute beast. It's a powerful all-in-one home security system that comes with a speedy Eero router as an added bonus, and it's priced pretty fairly for all the hardware you get — $249 to start, going higher depending on what different accessories you mix and match into your desired setup. But if you're not opting for Amazon's $20/month subscription to unlock (and maintain) its fortress-like functionality, you can save yourself some cash and headache with Amazon's simpler Ring Alarm alternative.
Hey, you got your Echo in my Fire TV!
I'd understand Amazon's desire to saturate its third-generation Fire TV Cube with annoying advertising a bit more if this super-speedy streaming box, which doubles as a makeshift Echo, cost as much as a typical streaming stick. However, for $140, a price that puts it directly into either Apple TV 4K or Nvidia Shield TV territory, Amazon's advertising-drenched UI feels a bit too overpriced.
The fifth-gen Dot with Clock's new display is worth an upgrade
Third verse, same as the first: Amazon's latest Echo Dot with Clock is here. Technically an upgraded version of the fifth-gen Echo Dot, the third iteration of Dot with Clock brings a few noteworthy upgrades that make it well worth its often-discounted price. (Seriously: Amazon always seems to have these on sale.)
This small and mighty fitness tracker nearly does it all
I love having endless stats about the mundane and fitness-filled moments of my daily life. Sometimes, they're just interesting; other times, they help me improve my fitness — or, at the very least, give me a data-driven way to feel better about the progress that I might not actually see, but what the little device anchored on my wrist has deduced. The Fitbit Luxe is the company's smallest wrist-anchored fitness tracker.
You don't have to be a marathon runner to benefit from Apple's chunky, flagship watch
It shouldn't come as a shock that most of us here at Android Police are using Android smartphones and rocking Wear OS watches. Even so, we like to keep an eye on what's happening across the industry — including in Apple country. To that end, we wanted to give Apple's newest, flashiest wearable a spin.
When having every option ever is too much of a bad thing, not a good thing
Amazfit's GTR 4 could have been an incredible smartwatch, but its mind-numbing user interface and sloppy companion app make messing with this device a chore, and I can't emphasize this any stronger.
Get an incredible sounding speaker for nearly the price of its smaller, spherical sibling
Amazon is slowly transitioning its smart home speakers from hockey pucks and cylinders to big, bulbous spheres—or that's how it feels, at least, with the fourth-generation Amazon Echo. This smart speaker looks exactly the same as Amazon's third-generation Echo Dot, just bigger. In fact, the design and naming similarities are getting a bit confusing at this point, so we'll make it easy: The $100 Amazon Echo (fourth-generation "sphere version") is a big, booming smart speaker-turned-smart-hub that's worth it for those attributes alone, especially if you can grab it during one of the many sales that makes it almost as expensive its smaller sibling, the fourth-generation Echo Dot.
Your smartphone probably beats this budget tablet's sluggish performance, but not its price
If you're looking for an Android tablet that can do it all for under $100, you should prepare for disappointment—especially if you're eyeballing Amazon's Fire 7 (2022 edition). We're not going to dunk on this tablet, because there are certainly some people out there who might want a cheap, lightweight device for reading books and watching YouTube, Netflix, or whatever other streaming service you love. To that, this $60 tablet (with ads; $75 without) isn't the worst buy. But if you already have a decently sized smartphone, even a hand-me-down from the past few years, you're better off sticking with that and saving up for a higher-performing tablet (or a Paperwhite, if you're a voracious reader).
Even with Alexa helping out, this "smart" device is a mess
To say Lenovo's Smart Clock Essential (with Alexa) is disappointing would be an understatement. It's a borderline-pointless product thanks to its limited features and head-scratching, app-based configuration—so much so that I held off looking up its price until the very end of my analysis because it wouldn't be the worst addition to your smart home if its capabilities cost nearly nothing. But at $50, or roughly the price of Amazon's Echo Show 5 (from 2021), there's little reason why you should get this tiny clock over a more sophisticated smart display.