Amazon premiered its first household robot in September last year. The reactions have been mixed, to say the least. It is still available exclusively by invitation to the early adopters at a price of $999.99, but we cannot help but wonder: is it worth it?
Amazon Astro Features
The domestic robot on wheels may look cute (or creepy, depending on how you look at it), but what can it do? For starters, let’s look at its main features:
- Intelligent motion
- Built-in periscope camera
- Visual ID
- Alexa together subscription
- Detachable cup holder
- Size: 16.7 x 9.8 x 17.3 inches
Basically, this is a simple home robot on wheels that looks like a tablet with eye-like circles on the display – or Alexa on wheels. It does look a bit like Wall-E, just less cute and more prying.
As a smart display, it can play music, show you the weather, manage your calls, and answer questions. But it is more than that: Astro is envisioned as a home security device and general help around the home. You can use this little fellow for monitoring your home when you are out, for checking in on family members at home, and for delivering household items. With Alexa Together subscription you are able to set up reminders, create shopping lists, receive activity alerts, etc.
The user can program Astro to learn a map of their home and then, with the help of advanced navigation technology, the robot will be able to move around autonomously and monitor for unusual activity. When you’re not at home you can send Astro to check on specific rooms, people, or things in your home and get alerts if it detects any unrecognized person or suspicious noises. You will have to get a Ring Protect Pro plan subscription (there is a 6-month free trial) in order to get access to video history for up to 60 days and to schedule Astro to patrol autonomously.
Great — But What About Privacy?
If an autonomous robot that’s free to zip around your house has you worried about potential privacy issues, you’ll be pleased to hear that you can turn off microphones, cameras, and motion with one press of a button anytime. Additionally, you can define zones where Astro is not allowed via the Astro app. This all said, like all smart home devices, Astro is not hack-proof.
On the bright side, Astro is equipped with a handy detachable cup holder so you won’t have to get up to get your drink, which does not make it an expensive beer koozie, no matter what some people say!
Astro’s full price is $1,449.99, but as part of the Day 1 Editions program, it is available at $999.99 with a six-month trial of the Ring Protect Pro subscription included. If you can get an invitation, that is.
Learn more at Amazon.com.