It wasn't long ago that a voice-controlled speaker and smart home assistant was the stuff of science-fiction, but in a relatively short time it has become reality. The Amazon Echo and other Alexa-enabled devices offer just that.

Amazon isn't the only manufacturer to build voice recognition and internet interactivity into household gadgets, but it's one of the most successful. Its Echo family of products has also grown rapidly, especially in the US, so there's something out there for everyone.

That's why we look at all the Alexa-enable Amazon devices to see which best suits you.

Release date: 2015 in US, 2016 in UK.
Availability: Available in the US (Amazon US order page) / Available in UK (Amazon UK order page)
Price: $179 / £149
Dimensions: 235 mm x 83.5 mm x 83.5 mm
Weight: 1045 grams
Connectivity: Bluetooth and dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi (MIMO)
Power: Plugs into a wall outlet
Audio: 360-degree sound (2.5 inch woofer and 2.0 inch tweeter)
Alexa: Yes (Always-on/always-listening/voice-activated)

Amazon Echo is a 9.25-inch-tall cylinder speaker with a 7-piece microphone array. It responds to the wake word "Alexa" and is capable of voice interaction, controlling compatible smarthome devices, music playback from smart devices over Bluetooth, making to-do lists, setting alarms, streaming podcasts, playing audiobooks, reading PDFs, providing weather forecasts, warning you of traffic conditions, answering trivia, and supplying other types of information in real-time.

Echo requires a Wi-Fi connection in order to respond to voice commands and fetch content for you, and it must remain plugged in for power. Users in the US will see Alexa have an American accent, while UK users will hear a British accent.

Release date: 31 March 2016 for US
Availability: Available in the US (Amazon US order page)
Price: $129.99
Dimensions: 59 mm x 66 mm x 66 mm
Weight: 470 grams
Connectivity: Bluetooth and supports 802.11b, 802.11g, or 802.11n Wi-Fi
Power: Relies on a charging cradle (9 hours of playback)
Audio: 360-degree sound (dual 1.5-inch drivers and dual passive radiators)
Alexa: Yes (Not always-listening by default; Must touch mic button to access Alexa or enable hands-free option in Settings)

Amazon Tap is a 6.2-inch-tall cylinder speaker with a 7-piece microphone array. So it's a smaller, more portable, more affordable version of Echo, and it comes with full access to Alexa. Unlike the Echo, the Amazon Tap is wireless and must use the included cradle to charge.

Amazon says it'll stream up to 9 hours of audio on a full charge, or last up to three weeks in standby mode. The Tap isn't an always-on by default. To wake it, you need to press the mic on the front. In February 2017, Amazon announced a new firmware update for Tap. With it, you can go to Settings in the Alexa app and enable the new Hands-free option in order to wake Alexa without having to tap the Tap

However, the new hands-free mode will drain the battery quickly, as it requires the mic to stay always-on. Otherwise, Tap can do all the same tricks as Echo (so long as you're connected to Wi-Fi).

Release date: September 2016
Availability: Available in the US (Amazon US order page); available in the UK (Amazon UK order page)
Price: $49 / £49
Dimensions: 38 mm x 84 mm x 84 mm
Weight: 250 grams
Connectivity: Bluetooth and dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi (MIMO)
Power: Plugs into a wall outlet
Audio: Voice-feedback only (Must be connected to external speakers)
Alexa: Yes (Always-on/always-listening/voice-activated)

Echo Dot is 1.6-inch-tall cylinder with one tiny speaker. It's basically just the top section of Amazon Echo - and half the price, but equally as smart. It supports always-on Alexa, connects to the cloud to stream music, controls your smarthome devices, and does all the same stuff as Echo. The original Echo Dot launched in the US in March 2016, but it was refreshed when Amazon announced its UK release.

The main difference between Dot and Echo is that the full-size speaker is gone. The idea is you'll hook Dot up to your own audio setup (via out jack or Bluetooth), so you can use Alexa with your existing speakers. That tiny speaker won't output much audio; it's only for Alexa voice feedback (which, again, requires Wi-Fi).

The new Echo Dot will be available to buy in a six-pack and 12-pack. For those opting for multiple Echo Dots around their home though, Amazon has introduced a feature that will mean only one Echo Dot, and the closest one, will respond to your request.

Release date: April 2016 in US (invite-only)
Availability: Available in the US (Amazon US order page)
Price: $199
Dimensions: N/A
Weight: N/A
Connectivity: Dual-band, dual antenna (MIMO. 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz)
Power: Power adapter (21W) with 7.9 ft. cable
Camera: 5-megapixel sensor
Audio: Built-in microphone array, built-in speaker
Alexa: Yes (Always-on/always-listening/voice-activated)

Details are scarce at the moment, but we know Amazon’s latest Echo device is called the Echo Look.

It’s a $199 Wi-Fi camera that offers full Alexa functionality plus hands-free photo and video. Amazon is pitching it as a cloud-connected fashion consultant that allows you to snap pictures of yourself in various outfits. Alexa's software will automatically blur the background in each image to make your outfit pop, and then it uses machine learning guided by "fashion experts" to serve up recommendations about what you should wear.

Amazon called this fashion feature "Style Check," and you can see it in action for yourself in Amazon's announcement video above. Echo Look also works like any other Alexa-enabled device, allowing you to access music, traffic timers, weather, and a vast library of "skills." The device is wall-mountable, too, and includes a a 5-megapixel sensor, built-in microphone array, and built-in speaker. It also has LED lights (used for the flash).

No other specs have been announced yet. There's also no date set for when the Echo Look will start shipping to customers. Right now, it is available in the US only via an invite-only scheme, with invites going out in "the coming weeks."

Release date: May 2016 in US (Pre-orders now live)
Availability: Available in the US (Amazon US order page)
Price: $229.99
Dimensions: 187mm x 187mm x 90mm
Weight: 1170g
Connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi supports 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 and 5 GHz)
Power: Power adapter/cable (6 foot)
Camera: 5-megapixel sensor
Audio: 8-microphone array, dual 2-inch stereo speakers
Alexa: Yes (Always-on/always-listening/voice-activated)

Amazon has yet another new Echo product: a touchscreen device with built-in Alexa. It's called the Echo Show, and it's now available to preorder from Amazon for $229.99. The Show can do everything the regular, voice-only Echo can do (like setting timers and play music), but it has a built-in display to offer a new level of interaction. It's meant to show you more information about your Alexa queries.

It can display a full weather report or the steps in each recipe. It can also be used to play videos, including content from YouTube and Amazon Video. It can even serve as a digital photo frame, fetching your pictures stored on Prime Photos. And when playing songs from Amazon Music, it’ll display the lyrics. You can even connect it to your Wi-Fi-enabled security cameras in order to check your video feeds.

Just us commands like “Alexa, show me the front porch." And finally, the device lets you place and receive calls - both video and voice. All you need is the Alexa app. To complement this, Amazon unveiled a new feature called Drop In. It lets you specify which friends and family can make a call at any time. The receiver has a 10-second timeframe to reject a Drop In call or go into audio-only mode.

We can imagine using the Drop in feature to checking in on a grandparents. The Show also has eight microphones instead of the seven found in the regular Echo. Other specs include a front-facing, 5-megapixel camera and a pair of two-inch speakers. The new Show will start shipping to customers in the US on 28 June. There's no word yet on UK pricing or availability.

Amazon Echo is ideal if you just want to have a stationary speaker that doubles as an always-on personal assistant. It'll provide you with room-filling audio that's sufficient for casual listening but it gets sort of tinny when turned up too much. If you're connected to Wi-Fi, you can ask it all sorts of questions and get it to control your stuff and it is available in the US and the UK.

Amazon Tap is supposed to do all of that, including provide a similar sound experience, but it ditches the cord and uses a charging cradle in order to be portable. As it's not always plugged into power, always-on Alexa isn't available by default. You have to push a mic button to access the service or enable a new hands-free option. Tap is useful if you're going to the beach or are on the go, and it is only available in the US.

As for Dot, just think of it as a little, always-on Alexa hub. It's not a speaker but works with your speakers. It's available in six and 12 packs so you can ensure every room in your home has Alexa listening. Next, there's Echo Look. Although it has a speaker so you can hear Alexa, we imagine it's not really meant to be a music player. This device is all about snapping photos and serving up style advice.

And, finally, Amazon now offers Echo Show. We get the feeling Amazon is trying to pitch this device has the centerpiece to an Echo experience. It works with other Echos and offers a screen so you can view video feeds from your Wi-Fi connected cameras. It also offers audio and video call capabilities. Any like any other Echo-branded device, you can use with Alexa voice commands and skills.

So, if you're more into music, look at the Echo, Tap, and Dot, but if you're into fashion, the Echo Look might be more up your alley. And if you want something to tie your existing Echo speakers together or something that gives you a little more functionality with not only Alexa queries but also placing audio and video calls, then Echo Show is definitely the device to get it.

We'll keep you posted as we learn more about the latest Echo devices.