Amazon is selling the first phones that let you summon Alexa with a physical button
- Amazon is selling the first phones that can access Alexa by pressing a smartphone's physical buttons.
- They offer the easiest way to access Alexa on a smartphone.
- The Prime Exclusive Moto G6 Play is a great device, but the Prime Exclusive Moto Z3 Play can be easily outdone by spending $80 more on the OnePlus 6.
Amazon announced on Friday that it's adding the Prime Exclusive Moto G6 Play and Prime Exclusive Moto Z3 Play to its Amazon Prime Exclusive lineup, and they come with a trick that no other smartphone has.
You can double-press the power button to summon Amazon's smart voice assistant, Alexa.
That's pretty significant for anyone who uses Alexa, and a lot of people do.
It's estimated that 16% of the US population own a smart speaker as of January 2018, according to NPR and Edison Research. Of that 16%, 11% own an Alexa-powered device, like the Amazon Echo or Sonos One. That's a little over four million people who use Alexa.
On other smartphones, you could always use Alexa by going into the Alexa app. But the Amazon Prime Exclusive Moto G6 Play and Z3 Play make it easier by letting you double-press the power button when the phone is unlocked. Amazon is essentially reducing the amount of steps to access Alexa on the Prime Exclusive Moto G6 Play and Moto Z3 Play.
Other phones have dedicated buttons for smart voice assistants. Samsung's Galaxy phones controversially have a dedicated button for its Bixby voice assistant, which isn't particularly popular. And the button can't be re-mapped to summon a different assistant, like the superior Google Assistant or Amazon's Alexa. The LG G7 has a dedicated button for Google Assistant, too.
Alexa aside, are these phones any good?
Amazon's Prime Exclusive phones can usually be found outside of Amazon, but the Prime Exclusive models come with a nice little discount in exchange for coming pre-loaded with some Amazon apps, including Prime Music, Prime Video, and Prime Photos.
The $190 Prime Exclusive Moto G6 Play is on the lower-end of the mid-range spectrum in terms of performance and features, but it has some appealing benefits. Combined with a power-efficient processor and display, the Moto G6 Play's 4,000mAh offers a 36-hour battery life, according to Motorola, which is higher than most high-end smartphones.
The $450 Prime Exclusive Moto Z3 Play is on the higher-end of the mid-range spectrum, with decently powerful performance and extensive features when combined with Motorola's modules called "Moto Mods." Some modules include a larger battery, a stereo speaker, and even a mini projector.
Both the Prime Exclusive Moto G6 Play and Z3 Play also run a near-stock version of Android that's leaner, cleaner, and simpler than most versions of Android you'd find on other phones.
Motorola make the best mid-range devices we're aware of because they come with good design, performance, and features at a great value. Anyone looking for a good smartphone without the high-end price tag should check out Motorola's latest G6 series smartphones, whether it's the Prime Exclusive model or the regular $200 Motorola model.
With that said, both the regular or Prime Exclusive Moto Z3 is a little harder to recommend for its price tag. You can spend $530 — $80 more than the Prime Exclusive Moto Z3 Play — on the OnePlus 6, which offers phenomenal high-end performance, design, near-stock Android, and features that easily competes with phones that cost above $700.
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