Amazon’s launch in Australia may have had a few road bumps along the way, with a false starts eventually making way for an underwhelming catalogue, but the online retail giant did promise to bring its own smart AI assistant to our shores in “early 2018” and that promise has been kept.
The Echo range of smart speakers are now available for pre-order on Amazon Australia with the units going on sale early February. And with them comes our own true-blue Alexa, with what we can only assume is going to be a fair dinkum Aussie accent.
Alexa is Amazon’s own digital assistant, the voice behind the Echo range of speakers and bitter rival of Google's own smart assistant ecosystem, currently comprised of the Google Home and Google Home Mini.
With these speakers you can play music, get weather updates, set alarms, keep tabs on your appointments, control your lights and do plenty more.
Amazon Echo was the first model to launch. With a 2.5-inch woofer, a dedicated tweeter, 360-degree audio and Dolby sound, it’s a capable standalone smart speaker for any home.
The Echo Plus does everything the Echo can but comes packing a smart home hub that makes connecting to your smart home devices easy.
The Echo Dot is the baby of the bunch and is a great way to smarten up the home at an affordable cost.
Pricing and availability
The Echo, Echo Dot and Echo Plus are available to pre-order on Amazon for $149, $79 and $229 respectively. The smart speakers go on sale in early February, and will be up for purchase at JB Hi-FI, Officeworks, Telstra and Myer.
If you hurry, though, you could snag the speaker for less – Amazon is offering introductory prices for a limited time. The Echo Dot can be had for just $49, while the Echo and Echo Plus carry an introductory price tag of $119 and $199 respectively.
For anyone looking to set up multi-room smarts, getting a two-pack of Dots for just $79 means you save more, while the Echo Plus comes with a bonus Philips Hue smart bulb.
Amazon is also launching its music streaming service in Australia and New Zealand alongside the speakers. Amazon Music will go live on February 1, with monthly subscriptions costing $11.99 for the individual plan. A family plan will set you back $17.99 a month and will allow up to six people to share a single account.
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Sharmishta is TechRadar's APAC Managing Editor and loves all things photography, something she discovered while chasing monkeys in the wilds of India (she studied to be a primatologist but has since left monkey business behind). While she's happiest with a camera in her hand, she's also an avid reader and has become a passionate proponent of ereaders, having appeared on Singaporean radio to talk about the convenience of these underrated devices. When she's not testing camera kits or the latest in e-paper tablets, she's discovering the joys and foibles of smart home gizmos. She's also the Australian Managing Editor of Digital Camera World and, if that wasn't enough, she contributes to T3 and Tom's Guide, while also working on two of Future's photography print magazines Down Under.