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Amazon Alexa the holiday 2023 star with “millions” of Echo Dot sold
Amazon’s Alexa has stormed the holidays, with the voice assistant – and the Echo devices that embody her – a huge sales success at Christmas 2023. The Echo Dot, Amazon’s most affordable Alexa device, and the Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote were the retailer’s number one and number two top-selling products, respectively, Amazon confirmed today. That only underscored evidence from the Apple App Store suggesting Alexa had spread considerably on Christmas morning.
Signs that Echo had been a frequent discovery inside the gift wrap began midway through December 25. App Store download chart watchers spotted the Alexa companion app climbing in the most-downloaded list; the app is required to set up a voice-only Echo, Echo Dot, or Echo Plus, including logging into an Amazon account and teaching the smart speaker WiFi credentials.
Amazon, as always, isn’t sharing specific sales numbers. However, in an announcement today, the retailer said that it had sold “millions” of Echo Dot speakers alone. In fact, it was “the best-selling product from any manufacturer in any category across all of Amazon,” it confirmed.
Unsurprisingly, that wasn’t for altruistic reasons. Amazon’s goal is undoubtedly to get as many households as possible onboard the Alexa train, on the assumption that in doing so it’ll be in a stronger position to see off voice assistant rivals. In that sense, a cheap Echo Dot is a “gateway drug” that means owners are more likely to buy a second Alexa-powered device rather than pick a completely different smart speaker ecosystem.
That puts it head to head with Google, whose success with Google Home and the Google Home Mini seems to have trailed that of Echo. Again, Google hasn’t announced any numbers, but the Google Home app – which is required to set up the company’s Google Assistant powered smart speakers – is currently sitting at number six in Apple’s free app download chart. Google made a late push with discounts and bundles on the Google Home Mini in the run up to the holidays, but not to the same extent as Amazon pushed the Echo Dot.
Waiting in the wings, meanwhile, is Apple. The Cupertino firm conspicuously missed the holiday sales period with the HomePod, its own entrant into the smart speaker market. Apple has not given a specific reason for the delayed launch of the Siri-powered device, but is expected to focus on music performance, rather than smart home integration, when it finally does bring HomeKit to market in early 2023.
MORE Echo Spot Review
In the meantime, Amazon is still working hard to pitch Echo. The Echo Dot, and the recently released Echo Spot and Echo Buttons, are all currently out of stock, with new orders being placed in a queue. Sales for the Echo Dot were particularly popular on mobile, the company says, along with the Alexa-powered Fire TV Stick and the TP-Link Smart Plug that Amazon included as part of an Echo Spot smart home bundle.
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Rings to help you find it
Backlit buttons are great in the dark
Requires Echo or Alexa / Fire TV app
Almost as expensive as a Fire TV StickOur Verdict
The Alexa Voice Remote Pro is too expensive to recommend as a nice-to-have upgrade, but a decent choice if your old Fire TV remote is broken or lostBest Prices Today: Amazon Alexa Voice Remote Pro
Amazon’s Fire TV remotes have steadily improved over the years, with extra buttons added for controlling TV volume and shortcuts to open popular apps.
The Voice Remote Pro is the company’s flagship remote with exclusive features including backlit keys, a ringer so you can track it down when it’s lost between the sofa cushions and a pair of customisable buttons that you can program to do a variety of things.
In the UK, it isn’t bundled with any of Amazon’s Fire TV devices – even its actual TVs. This means it’s an accessory – an option for anyone wanting to upgrade their standard remote to get the Pro’s features.
In the US, you can buy it as part of a bundle with a Fire TV Stick 4K or Fire TV Cube. Oddly, though, it’s supplied as a second remote with a Fire TV Stick 4K and it’s no cheaper (or wasn’t at the time of review) than buying the two products separately.Features & design
Find my remote
At a glance, there isn’t much to distinguish the Voice Remote Pro from the 3rd-gen Voice Remote. The design is very similar, as are its dimensions and weight.
Look closer, though, and you’ll spot a few new buttons. Top right is a headphone button. This brings up the Bluetooth devices panel on your Fire TV, making it fast to connect to paired Bluetooth headphones – or speakers – and to pair some new headphones.
Jim Martin / Foundry
It’s a good idea, too, as those settings are buried fairly deep in the Fire TV’s menus and using Bluetooth headphones means you’re not disturbing others while you watch. Conversely, using a Bluetooth speaker is a good alternative to buying a sound bar, improving upon your TV’s speakers and potentially making better use of a device you already have.
There’s also a combined up/down button which goes with the TV button. It’s for changing channel when watching live TV on your Fire TV, but like previous Alexa Voice Remotes, can also work with compatible TVs to change channel.
In fact, a lot of the buttons including volume and direction pad work with compatible devices. This means you can use the Voice Remote Pro to replace your TV or soundbar remote for the most common functions.
The Voice Remote Pro has two big draws: backlit keys for use in a dark room and a ringer which sounds when you ask Alexa to find your lost remote
Like any universal remote, there will always be device-specific buttons that you might miss, but when watching shows on the Fire TV specifically, being able to adjust volume without picking up a second remote is convenient.
What’s missing, and which makes the Voice Remote Pro less suitable as a TV remote replacement is the absence of the four coloured buttons – red, blue, green and yellow. And, of course, a number pad for entering channel numbers. The remotes that come with Amazon’s Fire TVs have these extra buttons, so the Voice Remote Pro could be considered a downgrade from those.
Jim Martin / Foundry
The Voice Remote Pro has two big draws: backlit keys for use in a dark room and a ringer which sounds when you ask Alexa to find your lost remote.
The bad news is that although it’s simple to say, “Alexa, find my remote”, you need a second device for that. An Amazon Echo will do, but you can use the Alexa app on your phone or the Fire TV app if you don’t have an Echo or another device with Alexa built in.
It works well, with the ringer sounding almost immediately after you ask Alexa. You need to press one of the remote’s buttons to silence the beeping, meaning you have to track it down and retrieve it first. (It didn’t work for me, but that’s because I already had two remotes set up with Alexa using Tile Stickers. I had to go into the Alexa app, find the Voice Remote Pro, rename it from “First Remote Control” to “Fire TV remote” and then say, “Alexa, find Fire TV remote”.)
Roku’s Voice Remote Pro (which isn’t compatible with Fire TV devices) does finding better. It uses its built-in microphone to listen out for “Hey Roku, find my remote”.
Amazon doesn’t do this, perhaps because the remote is powered by the usual pair of AA batteries rather than a rechargeable battery built into the remote, as is the case with Roku’s version.Customisable buttons
Another extra feature you get with the Alexa Voice Remote Pro is customisable buttons. Marked 1 and 2, you can set these to do a variety of different things.
Jim Martin / Foundry
Most people will probably choose to have them launch apps. There are already four buttons for Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+ and Amazon Music (the latter being Hulu in the US) which aren’t customisable.
If you wanted to launch BBC iPlayer, Discovery+ or any other streaming service on a normal Alexa Voice remote, you’d need to press and hold the Alexa button and say “Alexa, open iPlayer”.
But with the Voice Remote Pro, you can set one of the two buttons to do that. It’s simple to do: just launch the app you want to assign then press and hold either 1 or 2. The app will be displayed in the list of options, so it’s just a case of selecting that.
Alternatively, you can choose other shortcuts such as the Guide, Watchlist, Notifications, My Stuff and Profiles.
The final option is to set the button to launch an Alexa command. You press and hold the Alexa button, say your command and wait until it completes. Then you press and hold the shortcut button and select that recent command from the list. Subsequently when you press the button, that command will be issued.
You could, therefore, use it to run an Alexa routine that sets up your room for watching a movie: dimming your smart lights and lowering a smart blind. Or, you could make it run your ‘Good night’ routine that might turn off all the lights, except your bedroom lamp, which is turned on.Price & availability
The Alexa Voice Remote Pro costs $34.99 / £34.99 from Amazon. That $5 / £5 more than the 3rd-gen Voice Remote – surely money well spent – but both remotes are more expensive than you’d expect.
Roku’s Voice Remote Pro (again, not compatible with any Fire TV device) is cheaper at $29 from Amazon which suggests that Amazon could sell them cheaper if it wanted to.
Also, it’s impossible to ignore that you can buy a Fire TV Stick for $39.99 (£44.99 in the UK) which comes with the 3rd-gen Voice Remote. It’s hard to believe that the streaming stick itself accounts for only $10 of the total price.
In fact, there are lots of affordable streaming sticks and boxes that you can buy – if your reason for reading this is because you simply need a new remote for your Fire TV Stick.Verdict
If your old Fire TV remote has stopped working, was eaten by the dog or permanently lost, the Alexa Voice Remote Pro is a good choice for a replacement.
It’s a shame that it doesn’t have a rechargeable battery, but as long as you already have an Echo in the house and don’t have to buy one just to use the ‘find my remote’ feature, it’s certainly handy to be able to ask Alexa to find it when you – inevitably – lose it.
But if the remote that came with your Fire TV is still very much present and working, it simply isn’t worth spending so much just to get the extra features that the Pro has.
About this Amazon Echo Dot (5th gen) review: I tested the Amazon Echo Dot with Clock over a period of 7 days, and updated it to use the latest software available at the time. A unit was provided by Amazon for this review.
Update, May 2023: Noted Matter support going live in December 2023 for Android users, followed by iOS in May 2023.
Amazon Echo Dot (5th gen): $49.99 / £54.99 / €59.99
Amazon Echo Dot (5th gen) with Clock: $59.99 / £64.99 / €69.99
Amazon Echo Dot (5th gen) Kids: $59.99 / £64.99 / €69.99
The Clock version is a nice upgrade, but not essential unless you’re using it to wake up in the morning.
While it’s available on some other Echo devices via a software update, another notable feature is Eero Built-In, which lets the Echo Dot (5th gen) double as a Wi-Fi extender if you have an Eero mesh router. Despite having three Eero Pro 6Es, I was unable to test this as it was automatically disabled due to the proximity to a Pro 6E that would offer better signal quality. Given how good the coverage of an Eero mesh is by default, it seems like Eero Built-In is only going to be useful in a handful of edge cases, like extending Wi-Fi outdoors if you place a Dot in a shed or near a window, or if you only have a single router and want an affordable way of extending your network. Just don’t expect similar performance to the real thing; many users report speeds dropping by half when connecting to the mesh via the Dot.
It should also be noted that Amazon enabled the Dot as a Matter controller in December 2023. This let Android owners pair any Matter-branded accessory with Alexa, and iPhone/iPad support for Matter pairing was added in May 2023. It’s unlikely to get Thread networking like the 4th gen Echo, which is a shame, since the Dot now has integrated motion and temperature sensors like its bigger sibling.
The Amazon Echo Dot (5th gen) is available to buy from Amazon and other major retailers in North America, Europe, and other major markets. It comes in Charcoal (non-Clock version only), Deep Blue Sea, and Glacier White (pictured) colorways. There is also an Amazon Echo Dot (5th gen) Kids version with further parental controls and child-friendly features that comes in a Dragon or Owl design.
What I like about the Amazon Echo Dot (5th gen)
Roger Fingas / Android Authority
Audio quality has improved once again. The 4th gen Echo Dot was already decent-sounding for a budget speaker, but the 5th gen has superior audio thanks to extra bass as well as reduced distortion in its highs and vocals. Let’s be clear — it still isn’t going to compete with an Echo Studio or even the 4th gen Echo, but Amazon has improved the Dot to the point that some people might be legitimately happy using one as their only smart speaker.
As you might expect, the Dot slots neatly into an existing Alexa smart home. It’s extremely easy to set up — once you plug it in, all you have to do is open the Alexa app to the Devices tab and you’ll be guided through essential steps. You may, of course, want to change your speaker’s name and/or group associations. If you’re new to Alexa the process will take a little longer, since you’re going to be setting up preferences and linked services, but you might not have to touch the Alexa app again for weeks or months.
For a compact speaker, the Echo Dot (5th gen) can take up a lot of room.
Amazon has explained that it was waiting to deliver Matter and Thread simultaneously. Matter is now available on the Dot, but the 5th gen model seems unlikely to ever get Thread. If you’re building a smart home for the first time you might be better off buying a 4th gen Echo, or choosing an option from Apple or Google if you’re willing to commit to their ecosystems instead. Thread can be that much better than Wi-Fi for a smart home’s speed and reliability. Of course, if you don’t play on dabbling with Thread and are happy with a cheaper alternative, the Echo Dot (5th gen) will work just fine over Wi-Fi.
In fact, there’s really little else to complain about for a budget price tag, but it’s worth pointing out some of Alexa’s flaws. For some people, the omission of YouTube Music may be a deal-killer, as might the automatic collection of anonymous voice command history (you can turn this off). Also, Alexa still doesn’t support multiple commands in the same sentence like Google Assistant, or do as good a job at interpreting context.
The Echo Dot (5th gen) is pleasantly affordable, easy to set up and use, and has just enough fidelity to rock or chill out with.
This all makes the Echo Dot (5th gen) something of a Swiss Army knife. Really, the only people we’d actively steer away are audiophiles, most owners of the still-great 4th gen Dot, and those already invested in Apple or Google’s smart home ecosystems. As nice as the 5th gen Dot may be, it’s not such a dramatic leap that you should worry about holding on to the 4th gen for another year. For everyone else, it’s an easy recommendation.
Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen) with clock
Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen) with clock
Alexa assistance • Easy to set up • Motion and light sensors
An affordable smart home speaker with motion and temperature sensors
The Echo Dot (5th gen) is easy to set up, and the motion and temperature sensors give useful smart home possibilities.
See price at Amazon
$0.99Should I wait for the Amazon Echo (5th gen)?
Eero says it extends range up to 1,000 square feet (about 93 square meters). Speed is limited to 100Mbps, however, and each Dot can only handle 10 simultaneous connections.
No. The Amazon Echo Dot with Clock will only show the time and simple contextual notifications, like a song name or weather forecast.
No. The only Echo with Atmos support is the Studio.
The Kids model comes decorated as an owl or a dragon, and is bundled with a year of Amazon Kids Plus content such as books and Alexa skills. Parental controls are also on by default, but it’s entirely possible to remove these if you want to use it as a regular speaker.
Yes. You can make free calls in the US, UK, Canada, or Mexico, and some mobile carriers support calling via your phone account. You can also make direct Alexa-to-Alexa calls if you know the recipient has a supporting device.
On Apple Music, you can find almost any kind of music you want. However, finding the right playlist to suit your tastes for the holiday season can be a challenge; there are a lot of options to sort through. In this article, we list 10 holiday playlists for you to choose from. Our top playlists span music genres, and we provide a brief description for each playlist. Enjoy!The top 10 Holiday Playlists How to Listen
No real explanation needed here. It’s Mariah Carey singing Christmas songs, including duets with Khalid, Kirk Franklin and John Legend.
31 songs, 1 hour 23 minutes playtime
An interesting and huge list with a whole variety of popular artists from various genres. You get Nat “King” Cole, Kelly Clarkson, Steve Perry, Frank Sinatra, Randy Travis and many more.
191 songs, 9 hours 51 minutes playtime
This is a list of comedy songs for the holidays. Comedians and singers perform holiday music parodies and other funny holiday-themed tracks. You’ll hear Jimmy Fallon & Dolly Pardon, Ryan Reynolds, “Weird Al” Yankovic and more. At least one track is labeled Explicit.
59 songs, 2 hours 57 minutes playtime
Jayde says, “This playlist was made to bring sunshine and good vibes to your holiday season.” There is a wide variety of music types here. Artists include Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, Snoop Dogg, John Legend, Afroman and Madonna. At least one track is labeled Explicit.
30 songs, 1 hour 34 minutes playtime
This is a huge playlist you can listen to in Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos. “…this heartfelt playlist will fill your days and warm your nights with some of music’s most cherished artists performing old and new seasonal favorites-all heard in stunning clarity and three-dimensional sound.” At least one track is labeled Explicit.
126 songs, 6 hours 56 minutes playtime
This is a selection of tracks by IDK, Lil Nat X, Sofi Tukker, Kanye West and more. At least one track is labeled Explicit.
22 songs, 1 hour 5 minutes playtime
This is a nice list that takes some of the best holiday songs from a variety of artists. You’ll hear Jose Feliciano singing Feliz Navidad, Wham!, Ariana Grande, Pentatonix and more.
38 songs, 2 hours 7 minutes playtime
This one is huge. It includes most of the holiday songs you might want to hear — new or old. You’ll hear Mariah Carey, The Ronettes, Wham!, Kelly Clarkson, Frank Sinatra, Pentatonix and a lot more.
200 songs, 10 hours 44 minutes playtime
As the name of this playlist suggests, these won’t be the classics sung by the most popular holiday music artists. “… punk bands, alt-rock heroes, and indie darlings put their irreverent stamp on old-time carols.” Included are tracks by Jimmy Eat World, The Smashing Pumpkins, Coldplay, Beck, Cracker and more. At least one track is labeled Explicit.
56 songs, 3 hours 13 minutes
“Add some soul to your holiday season with this collection of reworked standards and brand-new snow jams from R&B’s biggest names. Singers and groups flaunt their festive spirit with both celebratory and solemn songs that they’ve discovered through the hymnal and the radio, raising their voices in joy and celebration as they summon the true soul of Christmastime.” At least one track is labeled Explicit.
67 songs, 4 hours 5 minutes
Last Updated on October 11, 2023
The Prime early access RTX 3080 deals are going to be a great opportunity to save on high-end Ampere cards. We’re seeing some historic rates on both RTX 3080 stock and RTX 3080 Ti prices across the board. The world’s largest online retailer is home to some of the deepest savings we’ve seen on the RTX 30 series, too.
That’s why we’ve got such a good feeling about the Prime early access RTX 3080 deals. We’re seeing great prices already on both powerful Ampere cards, especially now with the news of the RTX 4000 release just around the corner. Although the RTX 4080 will be with us in November, so we’re not holding our breath for offers in winter sales events there just yet.
Amazon Prime 30-day FREE trialBest RTX 3080 deals in 2023
We’re still a couple of days away from the Prime early access sales reaching full swing. These are the kinds of offers that our available at Amazon right now. They give us a rough indication of what to expect on the day, except, we’re hoping for far deeper discounts than what’s retailing at the moment.Prime Early Access RTX 3080 deals 2023
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10GB GDDR6X, 1740MHz, PCI Express Gen 4, 320-bit, 3x DP v 1.4a, HDMI 2.1 (Supports 4K)
*Prices are subject to change. PC Guide is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn moreWhen will the Prime Early access RTX 3080 deals begin in 2023?
Prime early access officially takes place on October 11 and 12 exclusively for Amazon Prime members. If you’re not a current subscriber, you’ll need an account in order to have access to the savings. Fortunately, you can do this risk-free with a 30-day free trial period to see if the service is for you.How do I get the best Prime Early access RTX 3080 deals?
You can stay one step ahead of the competition by analyzing the market history of RTX 3080 and RTX 3080 Ti graphics cards. This can be done in the easiest way through the browser extension The Camelizer, or through the CamelCamelCamel website. Simply put, this free tool gives you access to the historic lowest rates and pricing histories of many RTX 3080 / Ti cards.Will RTX 3080 graphics cards be on sale in the Prime Early access event?
Yes is the simple answer to this question. We’re now not only seeing RTX 3080 GPUs selling at MSRP, but RTX 3080 Ti video cards are undercutting MSRP by close to $400. What does this mean for the two-day sales event? Well, we should have historic lowest-ever prices from many different manufacturers. The new cards are coming, which means all current stock must go.
10 Ways to Safely Enjoy the Patriots’ Day Holiday
Things-to-do10 Ways to Safely Enjoy the Patriots’ Day Holiday It may not be the traditional ‘Marmon’ celebration, but you can still enjoy the day.
With temperatures rising and flowers sprouting, Patriots’ Day has arrived again to greet us. Though we won’t be able to cheer on Boston Marathon runners this year, there’s still plenty of fun things to do during the holiday. Here’s our list of the best alternative activities to do during Patriots’ Day.1. Walk the esplanade
With everyone spending so much time indoors and on screens during the pandemic, getting outside is more important than ever. With the esplanade extending all the way to the BU beach, it’s perfect for students to get out and soak up some sunshine.2. Picnic at the Boston Common
If you’re looking for a place to layout and picnic, then look no further than the Boston Common. It’s big enough that you won’t need to worry about finding a space far enough away from people. Plus, you can explore downtown Boston after your lunch.3. Check out Coolidge Corner
Are shops more your speed? Coolidge corner has so many great local shops from records to books to ice cream. Anyone can find something to enjoy there. Plus it’s not far from campus, so you won’t have to worry about overcrowding on the T.4. Walk the Freedom Trail
If you haven’t already done so, walking the freedom trail is a must. It’s a great way to connect with the history of the city, and on a nice day, it’s a refreshing tour through the best parts of Boston.5. Explore the North End
Ever been to the North End? Take the opportunity this Monday to check it out. It has historic sites, cobbled streets, and amazing food. Not to mention some amazing local businesses would love the support during the pandemic.6. Visit Newbury Street
As the weather gets warmer, Newbury Street gets nicer. This street is filled with great food and fancy shops. But, you don’t need to buy anything to have a good time. With Copley Square and the Prudential Center a stone’s throw away, there’s always something to do in the area.7. Get takeout with friends
If you want to spend the holiday with your friends, then grab some takeout from your favorite restaurant in the area. Restaurants always appreciate the support. Plus you and your friends can relax, have fun and chow down on the day off.8. Attend a Virtual Event
While most in-person events have been canceled this Patriots’ Day, there are still virtual activities you can do to get in the spirit of the holiday. The Old North Church will live stream its annual lantern lighting on April 18th. Some museums like the Concord Museum have digital exhibitions celebrating those who fought in the revolution.9. Take a Bike Ride Around the City
With the weather getting nicer, a bike ride around the city could help clear the mind. Take a ride around your favorite spots in Boston. You can maybe even visit a park or the esplanade to really reconnect with nature. Either way, it’s a fun way to get out of the house.10. Visit the Seaport District
There’s something soothing about looking out across the harbor. If you’re looking for a spot to relax for a bit, this is the place. Plus, there’s some amazing seafood to try while you’re there!
Enjoy your day off, Terriers! Happy Patriots’ Day!
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