Amazon Echo speakers, powered by the Alexa voice assistant, are a glimpse into a hands-free future, where our mission is handled by a disabled helper and his legion of robotic domestic followers.
Watch how evolution turns our hands into wasted pieces of flesh and muscle mass that disintegrate in the coming millennia in little more than smart-ring trotters. However, that future is not yet entirely with us – there is still a place to touch to help you keep your smart home under control.
That's where the redesigned Echo buttons come in – and they're worth a lot more money now.
Although the buttons were originally intended as controllers for audio and party party games, a new update has greatly expanded the capabilities of the devices, which is the main reason we are now confident to recommend them.
Using the Alexa app, the echo buttons can now be programmed to control multiple smart home devices simultaneously, allowing you to build routines to instantly set a scene with just a tap.
Do you want your lights to go out, lock your doors and heat your thermostat in one go? With a programmed Amazon Echo button you can do that now, or any other combination of Alexa-compatible functions. You are only limited by your connected equipment and your ingenious imagination.
What is an Amazon Echo Button?
Echo buttons connect to your Amazon Echo devices and give you a different, easy and fun way to play games and control skills.
They do not look surprisingly big buttons and measure 75 mm wide, making them large enough to push quickly, but compact enough to sit on your coffee table.
You can connect up to four buttons to each of your Amazon Echo gadgets via Bluetooth and the entire Echo range is compatible, whether you have a Plus and the Spot or the Show and the Dot.
They are powered by a pair of triple-A batteries and glow in different colors, depending on the role they currently play.
Amazon currently offers more than 75 different Alexa game skills for which you can use the buttons, such as Trivial Pursuit, Guess The Logo and Would You Rather.
However, it is not just about fun and games, because Echo Buttons can be practical and trigger commands such as playing music, turning off lights or telling them that the family dinner is ready. You can easily customize the use of your buttons from the Alexa app.
Are there alternatives?
Yes – there are enough smart switches out there, but most are intended purely for controlling smart lighting – the For example, Philips Hue Tap.
The Amazon Echo Button distinguishes itself by allowing you to run very smart home routines from a single press of a button – without breaking the bank.
However, if there is a drawback to the buttons, the fact is that they only work on batteries. If you depend on their programmed routines and discover that the battery is empty at night, you should talk to your house all over again.
Do I have to buy an Amazon Echo Button for Black Friday?
With little on the market to offer a similar function for such a low price, we would say that the time is right to buy an Amazon Echo Button.
In fact, the timing of the update seems very coincidental. With Black Friday around the corner, and the Amazon Echo line-up that is central to Amazon's deal offerings every year, we would expect the Echo Buttons to appear in one way or another.
We only work within Amazon's Amazon ecosystem and at leading prices, we think they will receive a small discount, or be bundled with the smart home accessories that they can serve. In that respect you may want to know what the deal season brings.
But as an affordable extra option for driving your smart home, they are worth a try and a great way to familiarize people who are unfamiliar with a connected home with their interactive capabilities.