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What are people up to while staying at home?
Well, now that we’ve all piled up as many essentials as possible (from cleaning products to cans of soup to masks to TP), certain tech items are having a moment. It’s interesting to see what the latest tech bestsellers at Amazon are—a good reminder of things that might help us get through this tough time and make our current situation a little bit easier.
Whether it’s about staying on track fitness-wise, upgrading entertainment options, or getting some home improvement done (like that security system you’ve been meaning to install), folks are using tech tools to make the most of sheltering-in-place.
Here are the tech items flying off Amazon shelves right now.
The Echo Dot (3rd generation)—which is on sale for $40, or $10 off—is one of Amazon’s most popular tech finds for good reason. It’s a small-yet-powerful Bluetooth speaker that seriously improves your home audio with clarity and richness. And if you sync it to another Echo Dot, or Bluetooth speaker, you can get an even more robust stereo sound.
The speaker is also one of the easiest ways to access the Amazon Alexa virtual assistant in your home, for news reports, weather updates, or even games. Says one five-star reviewer, “I had no idea I'd love Alexa so much—I wake up in the morning and she does the routine I've set up, and she's so comforting and useful and fun overall. My husband and I played Skills trivia games for hours last night...we even had a goodnight story read to us by Alexa and it was awesome. I'm really loving it.”
The Fitbit Versa 2 can log all your daily activities, keep track of your sleep cycle, and grant you quick access to both Spotify and Alexa. It’s an excellent lightweight tracker option—especially if you use an Android phone (a great alternative to the Apple Watch).
“Very happy with this smart watch/fitness tracker,” wrote a five-star Amazon reviewer. “If you are looking for a fitness tracker that has incredible battery life, a fantastic app, and sleep tracking there is no better product on the market. I think it is nice that it also includes some of the essential smart watch features like messages on your wrist and connectivity to control Spotify. The Alexa integration is also a nice bonus feature.”
If you’ve been working from home the last few weeks, it’s easy to see why a computer monitor like this one from Sceptre is a top seller on Amazon. The Sceptre Ultra Thin Frameless LED Monitor (E205W-16003R) has a 20-inch display—a considerable upgrade from a 13-inch laptop screen—with a sharp HD resolution and a buttery smooth refresh rate (75Hz). This means crisp, clear quality, in addition to more screen real estate. And it sits at eye level, saving your aching neck.
“Like half of America right now, I am forced to work from home. When we got the news I thought there is no way I can use my laptop screen to work full time on,” wrote an Amazon five-star reviewer. “Hooked it up via HDMI with my laptop, set my laptop display so I could use it as a dual monitor and I couldn't be happier. Actually this monitor is nicer than the one at work. So, now when things ever get back to normal I will have a monitor at home I can use on days I work remotely.”
Equipped with a pristine five-inch display, the Echo Show 5—which is on sale for $60, or $30 off at Amazon—is a compact nightstand companion. It can be used for video chats with friends and family or up-to-the-minute news reports—and it can even stream Hulu Plus and Prime Video (so you can sneak in an episode of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel before lights out).
This smart home device doubles as a futuristic digital alarm clock with Alexa built-in, and a number of customizable clock faces. “I love my new Echo Show 5,” said a satisfied shopper. “It [makes it] much easier to see the numbers. I like that it dims itself while I’m asleep, too.”
This all-new Fire 7 tablet was introduced in late 2019. It’s lightweight and compact, making all your entertainment portable, so you can move from your bedroom to your living room to your kitchen with ease.
But don’t be fooled by its size or its incredibly low price; this Fire 7 tablet is a beast that’s packed with a glorious seven-inch LED display with color accuracy, wide viewing angles, 1GB of memory, and 16GB of on-board storage—expandable up to a whopping 512GB with a microSD card. It even has up to seven hours of battery life. Its two-megapixel front-facing “selfie” cam is ideal for video chats.
“I love the fact that the Fire 7 is light and easily held in one hand,” shared a happy shopper. “Makes reading and doing tasks easy with all the apps available. The brightness is adjustable to all light and the size of the type is easily adjustable for ease on eyes in reading and in viewing media. It's a little larger than a paperback and can be tucked into a bag or small backpack.”
Think of the Amazon Fire 7 as a wallet-friendly alternative to the Apple iPad Mini—especially since this one is only $50, compared to Apple’s $399 starting price.
One of the best ways to upgrade an older TV for video streaming is with the Roku Premiere—which is on sale for $30, or $10 off. Just connect it to your TV via HDMI and you’ll instantly have access to more than 500,000 streaming channels—including Netflix, HBO Now, Disney+, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and so much more—thanks to the Roku platform. And the best part? You can finally ditch cable.
“I bought myself a Roku TV as an upgrade from my old TV and decided to buy my grandpa a Roku device for his TV, thinking he might enjoy watching it from time to time. He doesn't get technology like computers very well, but the RokuOS is really straightforward so I wasn't concerned,” wrote a satisfied shopper. “About a week later, he ended up canceling his cable service and asked me to order him a second Roku for his other TV.”
Now your favorite movies and TV shows are presented in HD and glorious 4K, so, in a way, the Roku Premiere converts your old TV into the ultimate video-streaming powerhouse.
In late 2019, Amazon released a new Echo Dot that addressed one of the biggest user complaints about the previous model: It didn’t have the time displayed on it. Amazon fixed the problem with the Echo Dot with Digital Clock, which is on sale right now for just $45, or $15 off. It has all the goodness of the Echo Dot, plus an LED display that shows time and temperature. It even dims automatically at night.
Like the third-generation Echo Dot, it has quick access to Alexa, smart home voice features, and seamless syncing to your smartphone via Bluetooth. Shared one happy reviewer, “The Echo Dot with smart clock is the perfect bedside aid. It replaced my alarm clock, bluetooth speaker, light switch, and many other devices I use. The implementation of a smart LED display is very impressive...whenever the lights are turned off, or even dimmed, the smart display will also dim to remain easily visible, but not bright enough to keep me awake...”
It seems home security is on shoppers’ minds, because this Blink XT2 Smart Security Camera (two-pack) is one of Amazon’s current top sellers. If you’ve been thinking of setting up a system, this one’s a breeze.
These all-weather cameras (for indoor or outdoor use) come with two-way audio, motion detection, night vision, and an impressive two-year battery life. Blink Home Security also throws in free cloud storage, so you can save footage in case you need it. Just place these cameras anywhere you’d like in or around your home and sync them to your Wi-Fi network. That’s it. You’ll have instant access to each camera via the Blink app.
And shoppers are raving. “I am the envy of my circle of friends with this power system,” wrote an excited five-star reviewer. “No wires! No complicated setup! Extremely easy installation and setup with the app on my phone and Fire stick. I tell Alexa to show me a camera, it displays on the TV. When I tell her to stop, the Fire stick resumes my previous viewing activity. How awesome is that?!”
With more people in your home using phones, streaming devices, and laptops all at once, you might notice that your internet isn’t as speedy as it used to be. A new internet router like this TP-Link AC1750 Smart Wi-Fi Router can drastically improve the situation. And it’s on sale for $65, or $15 off at Amazon.
This router can deliver up to nearly 2GB of speed, which means no matter what is going on in your home—one person is watching Netflix on a Roku device, another playing Fortnite on an Xbox One S, a third video chatting with friends on Zoom—without dealing with extra buffering or lag. Just smooth sailing and a happy crew.
“This is the router that I have been dreaming of for the past 10 years. The setup was so easy it was a shock. I was in disbelief that I was finished with the setup, no lies,” says a five-star reviewer. “The signal is amazing, the smartphone app works, the setup worked, the price is amazing...this is a dream come true.”
This is the new eight-inch version of the Echo Show that’s designed with a brilliant HD display and crystal clear stereo sound—two features not available on the Echo Show 5. While this might be too big for your nightstand, the Echo Show 8 HD—which is on sale for $90, or $40 off at Amazon—might be suited for the kitchen with quick access to recipes and cooking how-to guides from Food Network Kitchen. It can also be used in the living room as a digital photo frame that cycles through your albums on Amazon Photos.
“We keep the Amazon Show 8 in our kitchen, and the whole family enjoys using it,” said one delighted shopper. “Display is the perfect size on the kitchen counter. We enjoy playing music (sounds great) and of course, we enjoy asking Alexa for the temperature or the weather forecast...Recipe feature is excellent too.”
The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.
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