UPDATE:

Baby born on I-75 in Dayton

Alexa enhanced by compatible gadgets


Voice control is the tech that is sweeping appliance and device sector this year. And so far, Amazon’s Alexa platform is leading the pack. The number of devices that Alexa plays well with is growing almost weekly, and these are four of the best Alexa-compatible gadgets CNET has found so far. (But if your household isn’t so Alexa-centric, remember to check in next week when we look at Google Home-compatible devices.)

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Ecobee4

Product Review: https://www.cnet.com/reviews/ecobee4-smart-thermostat-review/#ftag=CAD187281f

CNET rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 (Outstanding)

The good: Ecobee’s $249 Ecobee4 Smart Thermostat has a responsive display, a remote sensor and tons of smart integrations, including a built-in Amazon Alexa speaker.

The bad: The price is high, particularly if you don’t care about the Alexa speaker or the Ecobee4’s other smart capabilities.

The cost: $247.00 to $249.00

The bottom line: There’s no comparison — the Ecobee4 is the best smart thermostat available today.

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Neato Botvac Connected Robot Vacuum

Product Review: https://www.cnet.com/reviews/neato-botvac-connected-robot-vacuum-review/#ftag=CAD187281f

CNET rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 (Outstanding)

The good: The Neato Botvac Connected is the best-performing robot vacuum we’ve ever tested. The new Neato app is well-designed and easy to use, and finally brings remote control functionality to the Botvac line, and it can now be controlled via Amazon’s Alexa voice platform.

The bad: We encountered a few usability quirks during testing.

The cost: $499.99 to $583.86

The bottom line: The Neato Botvac Connected is better at cleaning floors than any other robot vacuum on the market, and it costs less than its app-enabled rival, the iRobot Roomba 980. If you’re willing to live without remote controls, you can save some money by sticking with the previous generation of Neatos — but we think this one’s worth the splurge, particularly with its Alexa functionality.

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Amazon Cloud Cam

Product Review: https://www.cnet.com/reviews/amazon-cloud-cam-review/#ftag=CAD187281f

CNET rating: 4.0 stars out of 5 (Excellent)

The good: The $120 Amazon Cloud Cam’s crisp 1080p HD live feed, prompt motion notifications and free 24-hour clip storage set a new value standard for indoor home security cameras. And, of course, Alexa functionality is a given.

The bad: Only Amazon cloud subscribers can set motion zones and receive person alerts. Continuous recording is not available (even for subscribers), and there’s no local micro SD card storage.

The cost: $119.99

The bottom line: Amazon’s Cloud Cam is affordable, reliable and easy to use, but it’s the free storage that ultimately makes it more appealing than Nest security cameras and many other home security competitors.

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Amazon Echo (2017)

Product Review: https://www.cnet.com/reviews/amazon-echo-2017-review/#ftag=CAD187281f

CNET rating: 4.0 stars out of 5 (Excellent)

The good: With a variety of new designs, the new Amazon Echo is better looking than the original, just as smart and a lot less expensive. The addition of an aux-out jack lets you connect it with your existing audio setup. It’s also a slightly better listener than before.

The bad: Though fine for casual listening and strong enough to fill a room with music, the Echo still doesn’t sound as good as premium high-fidelity speakers. The volume ring of the original is gone, replaced with the cheaper volume buttons of the Echo Dot.

The cost: $99.99

The bottom line: Alexa is still the most compelling voice control platform, and the improved Echo should only boost its momentum. It’s well worth $100.

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The following CNET staff contributed to this story: Senior Associate Editor Ry Crist, Senior Associate Editor Megan Wollerton and Senior Editor Laura K. Cucullu. For more reviews of personal technology products, please visit www.cnet.com.



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