Smart devices have become even smarter with built-in Amazon Alexa. The virtual voice assistant does everything and anything for you, and all you have to do is holler a command. Dim the lights, play Spotify, set reminders or listen to the news. Alexa has your back.
This all-in-one convenience is also why Alexa-compatible devices make for excellent gifts. From speakers to TVs, the voice assistant significantly cuts tasks around the house, when your hands are full. Our smart home expert finds Alexa a cost-effective solution over investing in dedicated smart hubs.
"Alexa supports thousands of integrations with different vendors," explained Hisham El Zahhar, owner and managing director of Digital Homes in Dubai, who has 27 years of experience in smart homes, offices and cities. "For instance, when you have a Ring camera, a Nest thermostat and other multiple apps on your phone, it can get overwhelming. With an Alexa device, you could integrate all of these under one app, which also provides voice control."
How can built-in Alexa help?
The right Alexa gadget for you depends on what tasks you'd like scratched off from your to-do list. Devices in the Amazon Echo range let you create morning and night routines with Alexa. A simple 'good morning' can set off a sequence of actions, so that you don't have to exert effort - from drawing the curtains to switching on the kettle for coffee - as long as you have the required smart gadgets at home.
El Zahhar's own family relies on the virtual assistant to tweak the cooling in different rooms, see who's at the door, dim the lights and so much more. He said: "Alexa is the stepping stone to having a smart home. One of the features that make Alexa stand out is profiling. You can train it to distinguish between you and your family members by voice or face IDs. Alexa will then personalise the experience by detecting who's speaking or in the room, like suggesting a Netflix show for you."
Our expert personally uses the Amazon Echo Show 8, the all-rounder Alexa device with a built-in camera. He recommends the addition of a screen since this lets you tap into your smart doorbell, make video calls and create an Alexa visual ID for profiling. Its upgraded successor, the Echo Show 10, has a moving display that always faces you, if you'd like a contraption that doubles as a monitor.
Thanks to Alexa's ubiquitous integration, the assistant is built into the latest headphones, cameras and even kitchen appliances. We sought out the best Alexa-compatible devices on Amazon, during the holiday sale, that will make your life even easier. Don’t forget to become a Prime member before ordering; you’ll receive your package the very same or the next day!
1. Best Overall: Amazon Echo Dot (5th generation), Glacier
- Manages day-to-day chores for you, with Alexa voice assistance
- Sets alarms and reminders, recites Quran and controls smart home devices
- Has an indoor temperature sensor
- LED display shows time and weather at a glance
- Understands and speaks both English and Khaleeji Arabic
Amazon’s latest 5th generation Echo speaker is a fantastic upgrade from the last. Plug in the device, connect it to your Wi-Fi and ask your all-rounded voice assistant to do anything. Say ‘Alexa’, followed by your command – it can set prayer reminders, check the weather, play your music and link with other Echo and Echo Dots around the house. Alexa handles your smart locks, lights and thermostats, so that you can voice control your home. It comes with a built-in indoor temperature sensor, too, with which you can create automated cooling routines. This smart device understands and speaks Khaleeji Arabic, along with English. Five-star reviews say that they can't live without the assistant, since it does nearly everything for them - from controlling robot vacuums and smart lights to playing the radio, music and more.
2. Best Display: Echo Show 10
- 10.1-inch HD screen, with motion tilt
- Built-in 13-megapixel camera
- Helpful in the kitchen with recipe guides, say reviews
- Built-in Zigbee smart home hub
- Understands both English and Arabic
- Some features are region-specific
Echo Show 10 works just like the Dot speaker, except it has a 10.1-inch high-definition screen to go with it. Besides answering your questions, setting reminders and performing its usual set of tasks, Alexa also plays movies and TV series from Prime Video and Netflix. What’s more is that you get access to a built-in 13MP camera, which lets you make video calls, even doubling as a nanny cam for your pets that you can tap into, via your Alexa app. The best part about the Echo Show 10 is its motion detection sensor, meaning the screen automatically turns to wherever you are. Reviews say this feature makes the device especially helpful in the kitchen for recipes and light cooking entertainment. It's also going to come in handy if there are smart cameras around the house, letting you see who's at the door. Unlike the Echo Dot 5th Gen, this assistant can control compatible Zigbee smart home devices, too.
3. Best Security Camera: TP-Link Tapo 2K QHD Outdoor Security Camera
- Two-way audio
- 2K high-definition video
- Motion detector with built-in siren
- Colour night vision of up to 30 metres
- Water- and dust-proof
- Rain might trigger a false alarm
- Alexa needs a screen
TP-Link’s outdoor camera is the best surveillance device you’ll ever get, with Alexa in mind. This Amazon-approved device listens to your voice commands using an Alexa screen, like the Echo Show above or your phone. See who is at the door via the 2K HD stream and ask them to leave the package by the door via the camera’s two-way audio feature. With this camera installed, you also get instant alerts to your phone whenever it detects any sound or motion, giving you the option to trigger a siren. Don’t worry about leaving the device out through all the seasons – its IP66 guarantees ultimate weatherproofing. Reviewers call it a feature-rich solution that's surprisingly more affordable than others on the market. According to buyers, the video quality is great in low-light conditions. Check out other smart security cameras.
Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh18 and two years for Dh29.
4. Best Headphones: Sony WH-CH720N Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones
- Uses the same noise-cancelling processor as Sony's expensive pairs
- 35 hours of battery life
- Connects two Bluetooth devices
- Has a dedicated voice assistant button on the ear can
- Doesn't come with a case
If the flagship Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones are out of budget, try this sleek pair. The WH-CH720N is noise-cancelling, goes over the ears, has a long 35-hour battery life and comes with Alexa built-in. This Sony pair carries the same Integrated Processor V1 as the WH-1000XM5, which makes crystal clear vocals and noise cancellation possible. You can link up to two Bluetooth devices at the same time, like your laptop and smartphone. One of the two ear cans has a dedicated voice assistant button, but you can always trigger Alexa with a voice command, too. Reviewers have called upon the assistant to set up reminders when they're far from their Echo Dot speaker. They also love how quickly the pair charges, giving them an hour of playtime in just three minutes. Check out more over-ear headphones here.
Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh29 and two years for Dh47.
5. Best for Video Calling: Facebook - Portal TV Smart Video Calling on Your TV with Alexa
- 12.5MP smart camera
- Use Alexa on TV with streaming apps
- Camera follows the speaker around the room
- Control smart home devices
- HDMI cable has to be bought separately
- Included remote controller could be of better quality, say reviews
Tired of video calling your loved ones on the mobile screen? Meet Portal TV by Facebook, which casts all your calls to the big screen at home so that the whole family can join in. This sleek device comes with a 12.5-megapixel camera that moves and pans when you do. Its built-in Alexa feature links to all the smart devices and cameras at home, immediately switching videos to show you who’s at the door. Portal TV brings you the hottest streaming apps from Prime Video to Spotify, all of which you can access by using just your voice. Buyers love the tracking feature, which can be programmed to follow a specific person in the room. Do note that it doesn't come with an HDMI cable and must be purchased separately.
Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh59.15 for 12 months with select banks.
Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh57, one-year accidental damage protection for Dh95 and two-year damage protection plus one-year extended warranty for Dh121.
6. Best Kitchen Appliance: WeeKett Smart Kettle, 1.7L, Silver
- Boil water remotely over Wi-Fi
- Can be voice controlled with Alexa
- Baby milk programme keeps water warm for an hour
- Use Alexa to set it up with your morning routine
- Variable temperatures up to 100 degrees Celsius
- Needs the 2.4GHz frequency on the Wi-Fi router
This Wi-Fi-enabled kettle switches on from anywhere in the house, with the app and its voice control support. Designed with parents and people with mobility difficulties in mind, the kettle turns on hands-free via Alexa and has a baby milk programme that keeps water warm for up to one hour. If you take your coffee and tea at a certain temperature, the Weekett kettle can be configured to heat at 40 to up to 100 degrees Celsius. Users say the smart appliance works seamlessly with Alexa and love having their water set to boil before their morning alarm goes off.
Warranty: The manufacturer offers a two-year warranty. Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh29 and two years for Dh41.
7. Best Smart Lights: Philips Hue White & Colour Ambiance Led Smart Bulb Starter Kit (3 Bulbs & Bridge)
- 16 million vivid colour options
- Control lights via voice commands
- Works with automated routines
- Comes with Philips Hue Bridge
- Needs an Echo or Alexa-enabled device for voice control
Ever heard of voice-controlled light bulbs? These three in a pack have 25,000 hours of lifetime each, 16 million colours, scheduled timings and even Wi-Fi connectivity. Just ask Alexa to switch to a colour of your choice, set a timer or dim the lights down to a certain percentage. Philip Hue's smart LED light bulbs work especially well with Amazon Echo devices, though you can run the controls just as well on your phone. It’s a perfect smart home addition for those who don’t want to leave their bed to turn the lights off. With the Hue Bridge in the starter kit, you can add up to 50 Philips light fixtures and control them remotely via the internet. Reviewers sync the lights with their Spotify playlists and have the colours change by the beats.
Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh47.50 for 12 months with select banks.
Warranty: The manufacturer offers a one-year warranty.
8. Best Smart Lock: August Smart Lock, 3rd Generation
- Renter-friendly option
- Pairs with Alexa and other assistants for voice commands
- DoorSense sensor alerts if door isn’t locked properly
- Locks and unlocks automatically when you approach it
- Too dependent on smartphone to operate
- Remote access requires an additional device to work
Upgrade your regular deadbolt with an August smart lock - it uses the August smartphone application to lock and unlock the door, but keeps the keyhole intact from the outside. So if you’re worried about completely transitioning to a smart lock, this gadget helps with the added security of a traditional key and even makes the installation renter-friendly. You’ll be relying on the August app for pretty much everything, from granting remote access to friends and family to keeping track of the times the door was locked and unlocked. Even if your hands are full of grocery bags, the app will automatically let you in after detecting your presence. And the best part, of course, is you can control it with the Alexa voice assistant! The bundle includes August Connect, a Wi-Fi bridge that locks and unlocks with voice commands. Reviewers love the geofencing feature the most, which locks the door after you leave, on its own. Check out other smart locks.
Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh48.80 for 12 months with select banks.
9. Best Television: LG C1 Series 4K Smart OLED TV, 2021
- OLED (organic LED) TV, so consumes less energy
- Built-in Alexa
- Automatic sound and picture adjustment
- Access to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, Disney+, Hulu, Spotify
LG's C1 Series makes it to the top 10 of nearly every review list all around the world - and all for good reason. Unlike LED TVs, an OLED screen is made up of pixels that light up individually, instead of relying on a backlight. All the greys you see when the screen is supposed to be pitch black is because you own a TV with LED technology. None of that is going to happen with your LG OLED 65-inch, which guarantees perfect black. Another added advantage of self-lit pixels is that the TV will consume less energy, and Dolby Vision IQ automatically adjusts the video to the brightness in your room. Its built-in Alexa ensures you don't have to rummage for the remote control - just use your voice. Check out other 65-inch televisions.
Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh466.58 for 12 months with select banks.
Warranty: The manufacturer offers a one-year warranty.
Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.