Just in case you needed a heads-up, Amazon's Alexa is invading homes around the globe. And if the smart assistant hasn't managed to do so yet, expect her to knock on your door before the turn of the year.
And we don't just mean in the form of an Amazon Echo speaker. Alexa isn't bound by the walls of an Echo chamber; the Alexa Voice Service API means she's able to turn up in practically any connected product with a microphone and a speaker.
We're not talking about Alexa integrations here - i.e. smart tech that can be controlled using Alexa from another device, such as when you tell your Echo Dot to turn up the temperature of your smart thermostat or dim the brightness on your smart lightbulbs. We're talking about baked-in Alexa - devices that have the digital assistant built into their very fabric.
There's already a bunch of them available, so read on for our pick of the best Alexa devices you can buy now (or pretty soon, at least)...
The Amazon range
These are the official, Amazon-branded devices where Alexa is on board...
The original, and some might say the best, way of getting Alexa into your life - the beauty of the Echo is that it's a fairly decent speaker too. Alexa grabs its music from Prime, but it'll also plug into services like Pandora, iHeartRadio and TuneIn or read your audio books from Audible.
$179.99 | Amazon
The Dot is a scaled-down, functionally similar, version of the Echo. The second iteration of the Dot, it's slightly smaller and comes with a few other design changes peppered in. The more smart devices you have around the house, the more useful the Dot becomes. And the more Dots you have the more connected your home is.
$49.99 | Amazon
The successor to the Echo and Echo Dot, the Echo Show brings a display to Alexa, leaving the cylindrical design behind for the retro TV look. It actually kind of works like a retro kitchen-based TV, too, but with streaming YouTube, video calls and security applications all involved.
Of course, there's also solid smart home compatibility, with the device able to work with the likes of Philips' Hue smart lighting systems, the Ring video door bell and Samsung's SmartThings.
$229.99 | Amazon
Amazon's Echo range doesn't just use Alexa as a catch-all to simplify your queries - it also has a dedicated device for those looking for fashion advice. The Look houses a depth-sensing camera and built-in LED lighting in order to take photos or video of you for a 'lookbook', while it's also capable of using machine learning to tell you which outfit is better suited for you.
$199.99 | Amazon
The Tap is a cordless speaker, so you can take it wherever you want. Anywhere you want to take a Bluetooth speaker that is. Tap gives you access to Alexa on the go, with a nine-hour battery life. However, you'll need a Wi-Fi connection to, ahem, tap into Alexa's skills.
$129.99 | Amazon
Unlike the first iteration of the Amazon Dash, the new Wand offers Alexa's smarts to help you confirm purchases once you've scanned the barcode. Previously, you'd have to pull out your smartphone or laptop in order to wrap things up. It's not the company's biggest product by any stretch, falling in a similar category to the Amazon Fire TV Stick (which also harbours Alexa), but it manages to simplify the company's online shopping process.
$20 | Amazon
You don't need an Echo speaker though, there is an ever-growing army of third-party Alexa speakers...
Lenovo's Alexa-powered speaker, first announced at CES 2017, comes in Harman Kardon and regular editions. It's a tall, Echo shaped smart home device but comes with Google Home-like styling, with orange, green and grey colour schemes, as well as that lower, Home-like price.
There are eight far-field microphones that will pick up voice commands from up to 5m away, one-upping Amazon's own speaker. Inside there's an Intel Atom processor and on the top of the device, the mic section is slightly raised for cooling. We're still yet to see the device officially drop, since it missed its initial projection in May.
Invoxia also used CES to take the the covers off of its next-gen smart kitchen speaker. Triby IO picks up from where the original Triby left off - VoIP calls, an E Ink display and stereo sound - but adds a new smart home management interface into the mix.
Triby IO takes smart home controls beyond just those of Alexa as well; using IFTTT you'll be able to automate actions, meaning you won't be relying on your smartphone or tablet to control your connected tech. Of course, all of the regular Alexa-based fun is on board too and the original - costing $159 - has all of the Amazon-powered features too.
Don't expect to see Android Wear smartwatches rocking Alexa anytime soon (that's Google Assistant's gig) but there are a few wearable Alexa options out there...
Martian / Guess
Martian announced it was adding Alexa to its mVoice and Guess Connect watches back in December.
The mVoice and Guess timepieces already allowed for vocal commands, but by bringing Amazon's personal assistant onboard you'll have access to thousands of Alexa's Skills, and something more akin to a personal assistant, albeit with a clunky control method. On the Guess you have to press a button on the side of the watch twice – once to kick things off and then again once she's answered you. On the mVoice it's a long press.
A word of warning: In our time with the Alexa-enabled Martian mVoice, we found the experience to be extraordinarily frustrating. Not only does Alexa lose her effectiveness and ease of use on the wrist, it can also be a disruptive experience. Because Alexa isn't actually on the watch, it's on your phone, the watch is turned into a Bluetooth speaker. That means that all the sounds on your phone get routed to your watch, so any video, music or calls you listen to will show up on your wrist. You'll need to constantly disconnect and reconnect to get good sound for all of that content, which in turn drains battery life.
Alexa is compatible with legacy Passport, Victory and G2G models, and all new mVoice devices.
After being successfully funded on Indiegogo, Omate announced a limited edition Rise in August 2016, complete with Alexa. Since the Rise watch is 3G enabled, you don't necessarily need to be hooked up to Wi-Fi or paired with your phone either to use the skills.
To kick start Alexa into gear you need to do a walkie-talkie style "press, hold, talk and release."
Read this: Omate Rise first look
The interesting thing about the CoWatch - apart from its Alexa skillset - is that it runs Cronologics OS, a fully fledged Android-based smartwatch operating system. And Google just acquired the company behind it.
CoWatch raised almost $300,000 back in June and boasts an impressive spec-sheet including a 400 x 400 AMOLED display with a pixel density of 286ppi.
Wareable verdict: CoWatch review
Here are a few other devices with Alexa built in...
Ford announced earlier this year that Amazon's AI bot will be built into the Ford SYNC 3 AppLink, meaning you can control your car from your house and your house from your car.
For example, you can get the ignition running in your car - and get the heating on - while you're finishing your breakfast in the kitchen and, when driving home, tell Alexa to get the lights on and to get your robot vacuum cleaner up and running. Obviously, in the car she can do all the regular digital assistant stuff too - like directions, news headlines and traffic warnings.
It's not just Ford getting in on the Alexa action, though, with Volkswagen also baking the smarts into its vehicles. Essentially, this simplifies the process for users of the company's Car-Net app, meaning locking and locating your vehicle has never been easier.
C by GE LED table lamp
This smart lamp from GE is certainly a looker, but the most futuristic part is what you can't see: Amazon Alexa.
It has an always-on microphone for voice commands to access the internet and control itself and other smart home gadgets. There's a speaker so Alexa can respond though the early word is that you wouldn't want to use it as, you know, an actual speaker for music. It can also be controlled via the GE Lighting app, as can the companion GE smart bulbs.
LG smart Instaview
LG has Alexa squatting inside its new connected fridges. It's actually less bonkers than it sounds - not only does it mean a fridge that doubles up as an internet radio, it's also a perfect place for Alexa to be when you need to tell her that you've run out of yoghurt. Or Pepsi. Or butter. Or other stuff you keep in the fridge that Amazon sells.
The fridge itself, apart from harnessing Alexa's skills, is pretty tech-tastic, with a 29-inch LCD touchscreen and a a 2.0 megapixel super-wide-lens camera that captures images of the interior. Exactly.
Bragi Dash Pro
The Bragi Dash and Dash Pro are already compatible with Siri and Google Assistant and soon, thanks to Bragi OS 3.1, they'll be compatible with Alexa as well. This means you'll be able to order an Uber, call in your Starbucks order and use Amazon's music streaming services on the go more easily - right there in your ear.
Windows 10 devices
Thanks to a new partnership between Microsoft and Amazon, you'll be able to access Alexa via Cortana on Microsoft Windows devices. For now, that means Windows 10 PCs, but it's likely that other Windows devices, like Xbox, will soon be able to take advantage of Alexa. All you have to do is say "Cortana, open Alexa" and away you go.
If you've already let Alexa into your life, then you'll want to get her working to the best of her abilities. Don't let her be lazy, she's your digital slave so make sure you're making the most of her skills...