Amazon Affiliate Marketing Program

Amazon’s Fall Event Intros the Astro Home Robot, Echo Show 15 and a Smart Thermostat

Amazon’s Fall Event Intros the Astro Home Robot, Echo Show 15 and a Smart Thermostat
Written by publishing team

It’s early fall, which means it’s time for Amazon to drop a bunch of new smart home gear into the world. The company hasn’t released any new Alexa speakers this year, and Alexa smart displays and Ring cameras are standard Amazon fare, but robotics and smart thermostats are entirely new territory. Over the coming weeks and months we’ll be testing several of these devices to see if they’re worth your money. In the meantime, here’s a quick look at what’s coming.

Alexa on wheels and a bigger Echo Show

Image: Amazon

The grand finale of the Amazon event was the unveiling of Amazon Astro, an autonomous home robot that, as one Wirecutter editor noted, looks a lot like a mix of Wall-E and his lover Eve. Astro has great features like a telescopic camera that extends to the height of a work surface, and you can pair it with a cup holder or other accessories. The Astro has a large face screen, along with the built-in cameras, and can respond to calls and voice commands thanks to Alexa support built in. Aside from roaming around the house and scaring the cat, Astro aims to blend in with Amazon’s suite of brands and services. You’ll be able to use the Astro as a roaming camera that ties into the Ring Security System, for example, or with Amazon Together, a service intended to allow caregivers to monitor seniors and loved ones with special needs. Astro is currently priced at $1,000 and sold by invitation only, but Amazon says the price will go up to $1,500 at some point.

Echo Show 15 hanging on the wall.
Image: Amazon

Amazon also announced its latest smart display, the Echo Show 15. It’s the company’s largest 15-inch smart display (hence the name), and it’s made to be wall-mounted or placed on a table. This larger screen is designed differently from those in previous Echo offerings, with a new interface that lets you access multiple controls or items at once, such as following a recipe while a live security camera feed appears. It’s also large enough to double as a small TV in places like the kitchen, and can be rotated from portrait to landscape if you want to use it as a large digital photo frame. Surprisingly, it’s $250, about the same price as the smaller Echo Show 10, but that could be because the Show 15 only has a 5MP camera (other latest Echo Show models have 13MP cameras). It’ll also have an optional feature called Visual ID, where the screen will identify who’s talking to that person and show things specific to that person, like their personal calendar and music played last.

Smart thermostat at a stupid price

Amazon smart wall mounted thermostat.
Image: Amazon

The Amazon Smart Thermostat has many of the same energy-saving and convenience features as our current picks, including automatic programming, custom scheduling, remote control, audio, and geolocation — but at $60, it’s a fraction of the cost. It requires your thermostat’s wiring to include a C wire for power, but you can choose to include a C wire adapter (for an extra $15) if you need one. Unlike the more expensive models in our smart thermostat guide, the Amazon Smart Thermostat doesn’t have smart remote sensors, which can better balance temperatures in homes with custom HVAC. Curiously enough, Amazon’s thermostat also doesn’t have Alexa built in; To use the voice controls, you’ll need to pair it with your Alexa device or use the Alexa app. To develop its thermostat, Amazon says it has partnered with Honeywell, one of the biggest names in home HVAC, giving us hope that this model will perform well.

Ring packs more power (and monitoring) into the alarm options

Ring Alarm Pro is wall-mounted.
Photo: ring

Ring Alarm Pro builds on our runner-up selection of home security systems, bringing together new cybersecurity features and cellular web connectivity into a new base station, which has a built-in Eero Wi-Fi 6 router. If you have the current system, do not throw away the sensors; They will work with your new base station (which you can buy separately or in an eight or 14-piece starter kit). Ring Alarm Pro can work as a self-monitoring system or with any of Ring subscription plans, including Ring Protect Pro, a newly announced plan that combines live monitoring, cloud storage for cameras, local video storage and processing, and Internet backup for outages (if you also have Ring Power Pack ($130), cybersecurity features, and Alexa Guard Plus.

To keep close tabs on your property, you can soon enable Virtual Security Guard, an add-on subscription service to Ring Alarm and any protection plan, which allows a third-party monitoring service to peek at it whenever motion events occur. Surveillance agents can talk to hackers through the cameras’ loudspeakers, letting them know that they are being recorded and that the authorities have been notified. At launch, Virtual Security Guard will work with Rapid Response (which currently runs a monitoring service for Ring Alarm customers) and is expected to start at $99 per month per site.

And if you want to keep intruders (and maybe everyone else) away, you might invest in the Ring Always Home Cam, a $250 indoor fly camera that can travel along preset flight paths, is triggered by Ring Alarm sensors, and provides 1440 x 1440 high video Accuracy at angles you’ve never seen before. It’s weird and wonderful and very exclusive, given that Ring Always Home Cam is currently available by invitation only.

A Blink video doorbell is shown next to a front door.
Image: Amazon

Amazon is adding to its budget Blink security lineup with the introduction of the Blink Video Doorbell, a $50, 1080p smart doorbell that can be plugged in or powered by two AA batteries. Available in black or white, it can store recordings locally with a Blink Sync unit and USB drive (sold separately) or on the cloud with a Blink subscription plan.

For areas that need a little extra lighting, the Blink Outdoor + Floodlight adds a 700-lumen battery-powered spotlight to the Blink Outdoor Camera. If you already have the camera and sync unit, you can just buy the extra mount.

Care Hub gets paid upgrade

Last year, Amazon announced the Alexa Care Hub, a free suite of services for checking in on loved ones. Alexa Together lets you upgrade these services – for $20 a month (or $200 a year). The new option will include Care Hub features such as activity alerts and feeds, as well as the ability to connect with Alexa to reach your loved one. The paid subscription also adds free 24/7 access to a trained response team, fall detection, and an optional remote assistance feature, which allows caregivers to add remote reminders, create shopping lists, and modify echo settings. Amazon is giving early subscribers six months free when the service launches later this year.

Interactive projector for children to confuse their grandparents

A child talking to a person on an Amazon Echo Glow.
Image: Amazon

The Amazon Glow (hey, Amazon, you sell the Amazon Echo Glow) has definitely been inspired by students’ distance learning experiences over the past year. It’s a new type of device, part of a subcategory of smart displays, with a large tablet built into a sturdy stand with built-in projector and sensors. The physical privacy button on the side blocks the camera and mutes the microphone. The idea from Glow is that while video chatting with a loved one, teacher or teacher, the child can use their hands to interact with the image displayed directly in front of them, similar to how (other) classroom panels work, a person uses the Glow app and a tablet or smartphone, He can see the activity as well as the child in real time). Includes a year’s subscription to Amazon’s Kids+ for games and books, and Amazon has partnered with a few kids-focused brands, such as Sesame Street and Disney, to offer interactive content, with more expected.

Update their fitness game

The Halo View fitness tracker, which appears next to a smartphone displaying the Halo app.
Image: Amazon

The Halo View is Amazon’s new Fitbit-like fitness tracker, a clean-looking watch that comes in two sizes and three colors and offers an AMOLED (Active Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diodes) display. The tracker metrics include steps, heart rate as well as blood oxygen levels and sleep. As with other trackers, the device is only half of the experience; The companion app displays all of your activities and progress but also gives access to one free year of Amazon’s fitness portal, Hello. There you’ll get exercises, movement assessments, customized fitness programs, as well as recipes and nutritional information. The Halo View has a battery life of seven days, charges in 90 minutes, and is water-resistant to 150 feet.

About the author

publishing team