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Amazon’s naming scheme for its various consumer electronics devices is, at best, confusing. Kindle this, Kindle that. Fire this, Fire that. Echo, Dot, Tap. If it all makes your head spin, don’t worry. You’re not alone.

However, once you break through Amazon’s lazy naming scheme, you’ll see that there is a kind of logic to it. You might also find a couple of devices that you had no idea existed, some of which may have a place waiting for them in your own home.

So, with all of that in mind, here’s a quick overview of Amazon’s consumer electronics, what they do, and why you might want one (or not).

Amazon Kindle

Not only was the Kindle Amazon’s flagship device, but it remains to this day Amazon’s most popular device by a huge margin: people, even those who prefer physical books Why You Should Buy a Kindle, Even If You Love Real Books Why You Should Buy a Kindle, Even If You Love Real Books In just one week I've been convinced that the Kindle is the future of reading. The Kindle offers everything you love about books, but with a few added extras that justify the whole expense. Read More , absolutely love the Kindle, and rightly so.

The biggest feature is the E-Ink screen display technology What Is E-Ink? How It Works & Why Every Ebook Fan Needs It What Is E-Ink? How It Works & Why Every Ebook Fan Needs It If you read ebooks and haven't switched to E-Ink yet, then you're seriously missing out. Here's everything you need to know about why E-Ink rocks for ebook lovers. Read More , which emulates the look and feel of ink on paper. For this reason alone, Kindles are infinitely better than tablets when it comes to long reading sessions. If you buy a Kindle, your eyes will thank you.

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As of this writing, there are four Kindle models:

Which one is best for you? Consult our guide to the various Kindle models How to Choose the Right Kindle for You in 2016 How to Choose the Right Kindle for You in 2016 There are currently four different Kindle e-Readers available to buy, from the budget Basic model to the pricey Oasis. But which one is right for you? Let us help you decide... Read More to compare the differences. And if you think the Oasis is a waste of money, think again. It only has a few unique benefits, but its ergonomics alone make it worth buying 3 Compelling Reasons to Buy an Amazon Kindle Oasis 3 Compelling Reasons to Buy an Amazon Kindle Oasis Once you get over the shock of the price of the Kindle Oasis, you'll find that it actually offers a lot of bang for your buck. Here are three reasons to consider buying one. Read More .

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Everyone should own a Kindle, even if it’s just the Basic version. Kindles can spur you towards reading more How to Use Your Kindle to Read More Books How to Use Your Kindle to Read More Books Many of us have a desire to read more books, but it's hard to find the time and inclination to do so. Your Kindle can help you achieve this goal. Here's how... Read More and Amazon offers many helpful services for Kindle owners 7 Ways to Take Full Advantage of Your Kindle 7 Ways to Take Full Advantage of Your Kindle Millions of people now own Kindles, but most of them aren't taking full advantage of these magnificent devices. There are various ways to take full advantage of your Kindle, and here are just seven... Read More .

Amazon Fire Tablet

The Amazon Fire Tablet was first introduced in 2011 as the “Kindle Fire” Your Unofficial Kindle Fire Manual Your Unofficial Kindle Fire Manual The Kindle Fire is a great alternative to the basic E-Ink Kindle e-readers, while offering compelling new features more akin to a tablet. Its small size and flexibility makes it the top choice. Read More despite having little in common with the Kindle line of e-readers. Both are tablet-like in shape, so perhaps “Kindle Fire” was meant to signify “like the Kindle but better” What's The Difference Between An E-Reader and A Tablet? What's The Difference Between An E-Reader and A Tablet? Read More .

In 2014, Amazon dropped the “Kindle” aspect of the naming scheme, meaning there’s no such thing as a Kindle Fire anymore. Instead, the proper name is one of the following used interchangeably: Amazon Fire, Amazon Fire Tablet, or Fire Tablet.

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As of this writing, there’s only one product in this specific line: the Amazon Fire 7 Tablet (UK), which happens to be the cheapest Amazon tablet ever released up to this point.

It comes with either 8GB or 16GB of storage How To Make the Most of Your Kindle Fire's 8GB Storage How To Make the Most of Your Kindle Fire's 8GB Storage I almost ran out of space on my Kindle Fire last week. Sadly, I was away from my computer, which meant I couldn’t simply move data off the device – I would have to delete... Read More (priced at $50 or $70, respectively), a beautiful IPS (in-plane switching) display, the Amazon Underground app store Google Play vs. Amazon Appstore: Which Is Better? Google Play vs. Amazon Appstore: Which Is Better? Android comes with Google Play, but that isn't the only app store you can use on Android. Android allows users to use third-party app stores, and Amazon has stepped up with a competitor of its... Read More , a microSD slot for extra storage, and up to seven hours of battery life. All of which makes it a strong option for anyone who needs a cheap tablet.

Note that you can get the Play Store on a Fire tablet Install Google Play & Remove Ads on an Amazon Fire Tablet Without Root Install Google Play & Remove Ads on an Amazon Fire Tablet Without Root There's no root required for these tweaks. Want to get rid of lockscreen ads and install the Google Play Store on your Amazon Kindle Fire tablet? We show you how to do that! Read More and get rid of ads without rooting the device.

Amazon Fire HD/HDX Tablet

After the success of the original Fire, Amazon went ahead and expanded its tablet line with the Fire HD (in 2012) and the Fire HDX (in 2013). These two, respectively, are bigger, faster, and all-around better than the original.

At the time of writing there are three versions of the Fire HD currently available:

All three have the same screen resolution (1280p x 800p) but the Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 10 both have better cameras, better video recording resolutions, and better Wi-Fi standards than the Fire HD 6.

As for the Fire HDX, there’s only one version currently available:

Why get an HDX over an HD? It has a larger screen resolution (2560p x 1600p), faster processing speed, longer battery life, better cameras, and 4G capabilities.

Amazon Fire TV

The Fire TV has nothing to do with the Fire line of tablets; rather, it’s Amazon’s response to the growing popularity of digital media players like Apple TV, Google Chromecast, and Roku — and it’s actually not that bad. It first launched in 2014.

With an Amazon Fire TV (UK), you can stream all kinds of content from Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and more. Just connect it to your TV (using an HDMI cable) and to your router (using Ethernet or Wi-Fi) and you’re all set.

And when used in tandem with Ultra HD-compatible televisions, the Fire TV can stream videos in 4K quality What's the Difference Between 4K and Ultra HD? What's the Difference Between 4K and Ultra HD? Thinking of buying a new TV or monitor but feeling lost with all of the terminology like 4K and Ultra HD? Here's everything you need to know about it. Read More .

Amazon Fire TV | Streaming Media Player Amazon Fire TV | Streaming Media Player Amazon Fire TV supports 4K Ultra HD for true-to-life picture quality. Watch high-definition 1080p streams on Amazon Video, Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and more, even without a 4K TV. Buy Now At Amazon $89.99

What’s weird about the Fire TV is that it’s also something of a miniature gaming console — except you can only play games from the Amazon Underground app store. Gaming performance is subpar though so you’ll probably never use this feature.

Overall, the Fire TV is not a bad device. It has a lot of the same features as the other streaming devices out there The 8 Best Devices for Streaming Movies to Your TV The 8 Best Devices for Streaming Movies to Your TV There are several ways to stream media to your TV, and deciding which way is right for you can be overwhelming. Let us help you explore what's currently available. Read More , but you end up paying extra for the unnecessary gaming aspect. We recommend something more streamlined like the Fire TV Stick.

Amazon Fire TV Stick

The Amazon Fire TV Stick (UK) is pretty much what it sounds like: a smaller “stick” version of the Fire TV that focuses entirely on the media streaming aspect and eschews the unnecessary gaming aspect.

Amazon Fire TV Stick Amazon Fire TV Stick Fire TV Stick connects to your TV's HDMI port. It's an easy way to enjoy over 4,000 channels, apps, and games including access to over 250,000 TV episodes and movies on Netflix, Amazon Video, HBO NOW, Hulu, and more. Buy Now At Amazon

It’s like a USB thumb drive that plugs directly into your TV’s HDMI port. With it, you get access to all of the same streaming services and channels that you get with the original Fire TV.

One thing to note is that there’s a slightly more expensive version of the Fire TV Stick that comes with a voice remote (instead of the normal “dumb” remote) that can interact with Amazon’s Alexa assistant. It’s worth the bump in price if you like Alexa!

Amazon Echo and Dot

When the Amazon Echo (UK) debuted back in 2015, a lot of people scoffed at the idea of it — some because it seemed like too much of a gimmick, others due to privacy and security concerns. But perceptions of this product have changed considerably since then.

The greatest thing about the Echo is that it can smarten up your home How Amazon Echo Can Make Your Home A Smart Home How Amazon Echo Can Make Your Home A Smart Home Smart home tech is still in its early days, but a new product from Amazon called "Echo" may help bring it into the mainstream. Read More , which basically means you can control different devices in your house using nothing but Alexa voice commands 7 Ways to Control Your Home Using Voice Commands 7 Ways to Control Your Home Using Voice Commands One of the coolest advancements in home automation is the growing integration of voice control with all kinds of smart devices. Read More . Or you can use it in isolation as a music player, speaker, and/or a dedicated voice assistant.

Amazon Echo - Black Amazon Echo - Black Plays all your music from Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and more using just your voice Buy Now At Amazon $179.99

There’s also something called the Amazon Echo Dot (UK) which is a cheaper version with standard low-quality speakers. The Echo Dot is for anyone who wants to hook up their own high-quality speaker system or anyone who wants one in multiple rooms.

Normally you need to own an Echo to order an Echo Dot but here’s a possible workaround you can use How to Order an Echo Dot Without an Amazon Echo How to Order an Echo Dot Without an Amazon Echo The new Echo Dot by Amazon is pretty awesome, but you can only order it if you already have an Echo... unless you use this workaround. Read More .

Either way, hook it up with a bunch of other Alexa-compatible smart devices 5 Easy-to-Setup Smart Home Gadgets for First Timers 5 Easy-to-Setup Smart Home Gadgets for First Timers Smart home automation sounds awesome in theory, but a lot of folks are hesitant to try it out because the learning curve seems hard. If that describes you: it's easier than you think! Read More to really live in luxury at home. As it turns out, there’s a lot of cool stuff you can do with an Echo 7 Creative Uses for Amazon Echo and Alexa 7 Creative Uses for Amazon Echo and Alexa You’ve seen the ads starring Alec Baldwin, but you're still not sure what Amazon Echo does or whether you need one in your home. We’re about to find out. Read More .

Amazon Tap

The Amazon Tap is the company’s latest consumer device offering, having debuted in 2016. It’s related to the Echo and the Echo Dot but different enough in function that we figured it deserved its own section.

The first noticeable difference is that the Tap is much smaller than the Echo and Echo Dot, making it the ideal option if you prefer to have one device that you can move from room to room.

Amazon Tap - Alexa-Enabled Portable Bluetooth Speaker Amazon Tap - Alexa-Enabled Portable Bluetooth Speaker Just tap and ask for music from Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn Buy Now At Amazon $129.99

The biggest difference is that the Tap lacks always-on voice activation. Instead, you press a button before you issue a voice command. This is because the Tap runs on battery (the Echo and Echo Dot are wired), thus saving on energy and increasing battery life.

To learn all of the nitty-gritty details that separate the Echo, the Echo Dot, and the Tap, check out our overview and comparison of all three devices Amazon Echo vs. Dot vs. Tap: What Are the Key Differences? Amazon Echo vs. Dot vs. Tap: What Are the Key Differences? One common complaint against Amazon Echo was that it had too many features and cost too much. Amazon's response to that? Releasing two variations with smaller price tags: the Tap and the Echo Dot. Read More .

Which Amazon Devices Appeal to You?

Amazon’s offerings are all over the place, but the one thread that runs through all of them is the idea of home entertainment. E-readers, tablets, streaming devices, and voice assistants — so where will Amazon go next?

It’s exciting to see how far Amazon has come in terms of consumer electronics in under a decade, and even more exciting to imagine what other devices it will release over the next few years.

Do you consider any of these devices to be absolute must-owns? Or do you think they’re pointless wastes of money? If you own any of the above, let us know what you think of it/them, and whether you’d recommend it/them to your fellow readers.

Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

  1. likefun butnot
    August 19, 2016 at 8:33 pm

    @Joel Lee,
    The FireTV has an Ethernet port. I don't like devices that don't. It's too easy to have issues with wireless only hardware. The Fire TV also has a card reader and is subjectively more responsive to its remote.

    I don't game on my FireTVs, but other people do. Hungry Shark Evolution, Bard's Tale, Crossy Road, Goat Simulator and (after a lot of hacking, since the GPU isn't normally compatible) Xcom: Enemy Within, are all titles that get played.

    • Joel Lee
      August 19, 2016 at 8:38 pm

      Excellent. Those sound like valid reasons to me. Thanks for the quick reply!

  2. likefun butnot
    August 13, 2016 at 5:31 pm

    Kindle HDX models are no longer getting software updates. They're fantastic hardware, absolutely premium devices, but they have been abandoned by Amazon.There is also no working bootloader unlock or root for the most recent software versions, meaning that you can't even update the things yourself.

    On top of that, no one appears to be making or selling replacement hardware for the Fire HDX. The battery life on mine is about 40% of what it was when it was new. I'd love to crack it open and replace it, but it's held together with glue and appears to have been put in the category of things that aren't serviceable by device repair sites. So if your battery or charging port dies, let alone the screen, you're SOL. The Fire Phone, if you're tempted to purchase on, is in the same boat.

    The FireTV is also a great device. I recommend them wholeheartedly. They're very flexible, fast Android devices with a solid 10' interface. I do wish that Amazon would allow users to put sideloaded apps on the home screen without having to go through a bunch of hoops, but IMO the FireTV is the best combination of value, performance and ease of use among current set top boxes.

    I have an Echo (and Alexa on my FireTVs). The Echo is going to get gifted to someone else. It doesn't do anything I find particularly useful. It was nice to tell Alexa to buy me more protein bars and it can play music I've bought from Amazon, but that saved me the two seconds it would take me to turn my phone's screen on to do the same stuff.

    • Joel Lee
      August 19, 2016 at 7:50 pm

      Thanks for the input, likefun! Quite pleased to hear that you like your Fire TV. Do you actually play any games on it? Or do you use it solely for the TV aspect? If so, would you recommend a Fire TV Stick instead?

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