Statistically speaking, most of your holiday presents this year will have come from Amazon. Online ordering for the holidays has been growing over the years, surpassing the in-store experience. Amazon has a lot of great products after all, but what about the stuff actually produced under its name?
From the Echo to the Fire and everything in between, here are some great Amazon-made products that just about anyone on your shopping list would love to find wrapped in decorative paper under the tree.
Looking for even more options? Check out the following guides:
- 10 cheap tech gifts that only look expensive
- Best tech gifts under $25
- Best tech gifts under $50
- 6 geeky gift ideas that aren’t just for nerds anymore
Okay this isn’t a physical product, but it’s arguably one of the best things you can get from Amazon and it makes a great gift.
You probably already know about the free 2-day shipping and the Amazon instant Video, but there is a lot more to a Prime membership. For example, take a look at Amazon Prime Now. If you think 2-day shipping is great, try 2-hour shipping. In many metro markets, Amazon Prime Now offers you the ability to order any number of items and have them delivered to your door within hours. It’s great for last-minute needs and impulse buys.
Also included in an Amazon Prime membership is Amazon Prime Music. Amazon Prime music is a like a lot of music streaming services. It features 2 millions songs (as opposed to 30 million boasted by other services) but it also has Anthrax, so awesome. Add to that, Amazon Pantry, Amazon Dash buttons, Kindle Owner’s Lending Library, and you have a year’s worth of value for friends and loved ones.
Amazon also revolutionized the Home assistant market with its original Amazon Echo. Since then, the Echo line has expanded to include the Echo Dot and now its second generation Echo. The Echo adds a lot of functionality to your home, including home automation, weather, quick searches, and TV control. You can ask Alexa to play a movie on the TV or play a song from Amazon Music. Does your loved one already have an Echo? No problem. You can play the same song throughout the entire home and communicate with other rooms like an intercom.
Plus, Amazon’s voice recognition technology is top notch. Unlike some other home assistants, Alexa’s voice control is darn near bulletproof. Even in a noisy room, or even form three rooms away, Alexa will almost always recognize the command you give it. That’s handy if you forget to turn off a timer – not that that ever happens.
Don’t forget the Echo Dot, which is the smaller version of the Amazon Echo. It has smaller speakers, so it’s not great for music listening, but it is half the cost of the Echo, making it an affordable solution to have in multiple places around the home.
Of course, if you want to turn it up a notch, check out the Echo Show. This is Amazon’s screened personal assistant. A 7” touchscreen adorns a boxy Echo. Alexa is still here, of course, but now instead of talking with you, it can show you things. These include a video flash briefing, Amazon Video content, and the ability to monitor ghosts. Just kidding about that last one, but having a device with a screen takes your personal assistant level up to 11, even if it doesn’t run Netflix or YouTube.
Set top boxes allow you to access a lot of your streaming apps and services on your TV. Amazon happens to have a Fire TV that can do just that. Amazon has two devices available – the Fire TV and the Fire TV Stick. Both come with the Alexa Voice remote which you can use to navigate menus. You can also ask Alexa to open content, such as Prime movies or apps. The Fire TV supports 4K Ultra and HDR. There’s also a slew of accessories you can add to the Fire TV and remote including game controllers, and utilities you can add to your remote.
If you want to go bigger, Amazon has partnered with TV maker Element to release the Element 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV – Fire TV Edition.
Amazon’s Kindle Fire line of tablets are extraordinarily popular. The main advantage to the Fire tablet is price – they start at $50 and go up from there. The main disadvantage is the lack of Google ecosystem. Amazon makes up for that with its own extensive catalog of apps avaialble through it own app store, but it’s still worth mentioning. The Kindle Fire line of tablets covers a variety of sizes and styles.
The most popular Kindle Fire is also the cheapest. The Kindle Fire 7 is a bare bones tablet. It’s so cheap, Amazon sells it in a six-pack that allows you to get one for free. As far as basic tablets go, it’s ok, but it can be laggy at times – mostly when the memory is getting filled up. But for basic apps like Netflix or Kindle books, this tablet has the power to get through them. Just don’t plan on playing any heavy duty games.
Also available is the Kindle Fire 7 Kids edition. Basically, this is the Kindle Fire 7 with a rubber bumper around the outside of the device. The cool part is the Kids edition come with a 2-year, no questions asked guarantee. If anything happens to the tablet, send it in, and Amazon will replace it. This is certainly a case of knowing one’s audience.
On the high end, The Kindle Fire HD 10 features a better processor, more RAM, and more on board storage space. This isn’t a powerhouse tablet that you’ll be editing video with, but it does have more horsepower to get through heavy apps and games which can be very nice. The Kindle fire HD 10 also features hands-free Alexa, making it much like an Echo device. Use the key word and you can ask the tablet to display the weather, or show your agenda, much like an Echo Show.
Beyond tablets, we get to Amazon’s original bread and butter when it comes to physical products. The Amazon Kindle is the most popular e-reader. In the hand, it feels like a PADD from Star Trek. It’s very thin and light, making it ideal for reading. The battery life of the original Kindle was measured in weeks and months, rather than hours due to the E Ink display. The Kindle Paperwhite is measured in weeks. That being said, Kindle E-readers are ideal for one purpose – reading.
The Kindle Oasis is the largest Kindle offering. It boasts a seven inch high resolution display, built in Audible capability, and is the first waterproof Kindle to market. A single charge still lasts weeks on the Kindle Oasis. The Kindle fire is just 3.4mm thick, and is very lightweight. If you are a big reader, this is E-reader you want.
Finally we come to our last offering. With Home control and home security revolving around our personal assistants, Amazon could help but get into the game with the Amazon Cloud Cam. The Cloud Cam captures video in 1080p Full HD, sends notification when movement is detected, and offers night vision. You can even buy a three pack for under $300.
The Cloud Cam offers 24 hours of recordings stored to the cloud for free. You can upgrade your plan for a monthly cost that allows you to store video for up to 30 days. All the footage is available via the cloud cam app. Each camera comes with a 10 ft MicroUSB cable that it uses for power. The Cloud Cam also offers compatibility with Amazon’s new feature – Amazon Key. This is a service that allows Amazon delivery people access to the inside of your home for packages that arrive while you are away.
That that will do it for our roundup of Amazon tech you might like for the holidays. Is there anything you’d like from Amazon that we missed? Have you ever received any of these as a gift? Let us know, down in the comments!