Gadget Gift Guides: Digital Assistants

When looking for a gift, wouldn’t it be great to have something you could dictate instructions to? Something that could take notes and remember things so you don’t have to? This next holiday gift idea would be great for both you and the tech-savvy relative in your life.

Digital assistants are small, mug-sized towers that sit in your home and listen for your voice. When you say the keyword(OK Google, Hey Alexa), you can issue voice commands to them. They can search Google, buy a gift or other purchases, remind you of things, set calendar events, play music, look up the weather, and even control other smart devices in your home!

There are currently two main competitors in the digital assistant market that you can gift. The Amazon Echo series, and the Google Home series.

Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo Dot Smart Speaker
Source: Flickr

Echo – The basic model of the Echo series, the Amazon Echo can connect to other smart devices around your home. It also has a slew of useful ‘skills’, such as making reminders, sending emails, and playing music off of Spotify and other platforms. It’s the perfect gift for someone who likes music but doesn’t have a lot of smart devices.

Echo Dot – Half the size of the Echo, the only thing missing from this model is the 60mm speaker. It can still serve your needs perfectly well with the 16mm one, but the sound will be diminished and tinny. You can connect it to a speaker over cord or Bluetooth, but otherwise this one isn’t recommended for music. If that’s not that important, it’ll make a great gift.

Echo Plus – The Plus has all the functionality of the Dot and the Echo, but with an extra ZigBee smart hub. This means it’s easy to connect to those WiFi light bulbs. More than the other two, which require either extra apps on your phone or additional hardware. For instance, for one of the aforementioned light bulbs, you need a special plug off Amazon for $10.

Basically, the Plus is the gift for someone with a lot of smart devices. The Echo is the gift for someone who really likes listening to music but doesn’t have many smart devices. The Dot is the gift for the person who doesn’t have many smart devices and doesn’t really care for out-loud music.