Best Alexa devices 2021 | Android Central

by Emma

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Amazon Echo 4th GenSource: Joe Maring / Android Central

Best
Alexa devices
Android Central
2021

We’ve researched, tested, and reviewed dozens, if not hundreds of devices and have come up with the following list of what we consider the best Alexa devices. If you don’t already have an Echo smart speaker, we recommend you pick up the Amazon Echo (4th Gen) to get started. It sounds great and comes in at a reasonable starting price. But, of course, if you already have an Echo and want to see what else is available, well, we’ve got you covered there too.

Best Amazon Alexa smart speaker: Amazon Echo (4th Gen)

Amazon Echo 4th Gen

Source: Joe Maring / Android Central

The original Amazon Echo that debuted in late 2014 gave us our first introduction to Alexa, and we’ve been hooked ever since. What started as a stark, black tube has evolved over three generations to a softer, gentler-looking Alexa vessel and has spawned an entire line of other Echo devices.

This “regular” Echo (4th Gen) is the best of the series yet. It boasts an improved sound architecture over the first three generations, one that is borrowed from the more expensive Echo Studio, as well as the same Zigbee home hub integration of its larger cousin. As with several other Echo devices, you can connect two of these to create a stereo pairing, or you can connect it with your Fire TV for enhanced audio to go with your visual content.

We think the Echo (4th Gen) is the best Alexa speaker to buy if you want great sound but don’t want to spend an arm and a leg. If you don’t care as much about the sound and want to save a few bucks, you could get one of the Echo Dot varieties, or if you really care about sound, go for the aforementioned Echo Studio. The Echo does not have a camera or screen, which is great for those concerned with privacy, but it does diminish its overall utility just a bit. Even still, this is our pick for the everyday Echo for most.

Pros:

  • New spherical design
  • Better sound architecture and Zigbee home hub
  • Can pair with another Echo or Fire TV for stereo sound
  • Amazon brought back our favorite Twilight Blue color!

Cons:

  • No screen or video calling
  • Expensive compared to its smaller siblings

Best Amazon Alexa smart speaker


Amazon Echo 4th Gen Blue Official Render

Echo (4th Gen) – smart home hub

The best place to start with Alexa

The Echo (4th Gen) speaker has been redesigned with better sound, Zigbee home hub integration, and a striking new look!

Best Amazon Alexa smart screen: Amazon Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen)

Echo Show 8 2nd Gen Hero 4

Source: Nick Sutrich / Android Central

The Amazon Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen) is one of our favorite smart home devices of the past few years and is our current pick as the best Alexa device with a screen. It shares the design cues of the Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen) and borrowed some of the best features from the Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) like an all-new 13MP front-facing camera that can zoom and pan to keep you in the frame.

On its 8-inch screen, this Show boasts the same 800p resolution as the larger Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen). It also features the privacy-focused controls debuted on the first Echo Show 5, including a physical camera shutter and mute switch. The Echo Show devices are still only available in Charcoal or Sandstone, not in the fun Twilight Blue or Product Red colors seen in the recent Echo and Dot speakers, but we think the design still looks nice. Plus, if you get an optional stand, you can change the angle/position of your Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen) as you wish.

While the Echo Show 8 (2nd) is a great device for managing your smart home devices, watching videos, or even Amazon Prime content, it isn’t the best speaker Amazon makes. Don’t get us wrong — it sounds pretty good — but there is no Dolby processing built-in, and the speaker sort of fires backward. All-in-all though, we love this device for managing our smart home life with Alexa!

Pros:

  • Great size for screen
  • Same 13MP video camera as on Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen)
  • Sleek design
  • Privacy-focused camera shutter and mute switch

Cons:

  • Weak speaker without Dolby processing
  • Only two color options

Best Amazon Alexa smart screen


Amazon Echo Show 8

All-new Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen, 2021 release)

The Goldilocks zone

The Echo Show 8 comes in a more natural size that’s easier to place than the larger Echo Show (2nd Gen).

Best Amazon Alexa streaming stick device: Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite

Amazon Fire Tv Stick Lite 2020 Lifestyle

Source: Amazon

Amazon offers several paths to its Fire TV experience, from the best Fire TV Edition TVs made by Insignia and Toshiba to the set-top Fire TV Cube. But none of those options are as popular or affordable as the best Fire TV Sticks. And the new Fire TV Stick Lite might be the most appealing yet.

All three Fire TV sticks are great options at $50 or less, but the $30 Fire TV Stick Lite gives you 90% of what the other sticks do at a fraction of the price. You still get access to full HD video and even Dolby Atmos Audio (via HDMI pass-through), and you get a handy Alexa Voice Remote to control your viewing experience and smart home. The only downside to this device is that the remote cannot control your TV as the other Fire TV Sticks can.

Pros:

  • Super affordable
  • Comes with Alexa Voice Remote
  • Full HD quality screen
  • Access to Dolby Atmos Audio

Cons:

  • Alexa Voice Remote cannot control TV
  • Dolby Atmos Audio through HDMI pass-through
  • No 4K UHD video

Best Amazon Alexa streaming stick device


Amazon Fire Tv Stick Lite 2020

Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite

Streaming saver

The Fire TV Stick Lite is the cheapest Amazon streaming stick and is one of the most affordable ways to access Alexa.

Best Amazon Alexa tablet: Amazon Fire HD 8

Fire Hd 8 Lifestyle 2

Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central

We can’t say enough good things about the latest Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet. Now on its 10th version, this media consumption device continues to hit that sweet spot of affordability, durability, and family friendly-ness. At a great price, you get a hands-free digital voice assistant (Alexa), an HD screen, front and rear-facing cameras, expandable storage, and an easy onramp to all of the great content in the Amazon ecosystem.

We think the most underrated features of this device are its battery life and flexible storage options. This tablet will last you 12 hours on a single charge, which is amazing for long flights or drives. You can also feel confident purchasing the base model with only 32GB of storage because then you can pick up additional microSD cards on the cheap and expand storage up to 1TB.

While it is true that this device doesn’t run Google Apps straight out of the box, even the least savvy can follow the relatively simple instructions to add these after purchase. So while the Fire HD 8 remains our top pick for most buyers, those who want to be on the bleeding edge of technology may want to opt for the Fire HD 8 Plus along with its wireless charging dock, which will get you wireless charging and more RAM for faster performance.

Pros:

  • Sweet spot of screen size and portability
  • Full HD screen
  • Best-in-class family controls
  • Great battery life
  • Multi-user support
  • Expandable storage up to 1TB

Cons:

  • Doesn’t ship with Google apps
  • Doesn’t have all the features of HD 8 Plus

Best Amazon Alexa tablet


Amazon Fire HD 8

Fire HD 8 tablet

One of the best media consumption devices you can buy

With its rugged build, low price, and multi-user support, the Fire HD 8 is a great family tablet.

Best Amazon Alexa wireless earbuds: Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen)

Amazon Echo Buds 2nd Gen Case

Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central

It seems like every technology company has its own version of wireless earbuds these days. However, if you want a pair of buds that give you hands-free access to Alexa, there is really only one option — the Amazon Echo Buds.

In addition to easy Alexa access (which works well, by the way), the Echo Buds just sound good. They feature active noise cancellation (ANC) and a customizable Passthrough mode that allows you to let in noises from the outside world instead of taking the buds out of your ears. Both features are great, and changing the state is as easy as double-tapping the buds. You can also adjust the way it sounds in the app. Amazon also built in a way for you to easily invoke Google Assistant or Siri with just a tap, so you have the best of both worlds when it comes to smart assistants on the go. A new update in late 2020 also brought run workout tracking to the Echo Buds.

As we mentioned in our Echo Buds (2nd Gen) review, these second-generation buds improved on the minor flaws of the first-generation in virtually every way. For example, they come with an available wireless charging case, which can actually charge via USB-C cable, and the buds are lighter, more comfortable, and sound better than ever.

Pros:

  • Affordable truly wireless earbuds
  • Great hands-free Alexa support
  • ANC and Passthrough modes
  • Wireless charging case available
  • Can map Google Assistant or Siri to touch controls

Cons:

  • Battery on buds could be better
  • EQ settings are somewhat limited

Best Amazon Alexa wireless earbuds


Amazon Echo Buds 2nd Gen Glacier White

All-new Echo Buds (2nd Gen)

Is there an Echo in-ear?

These wireless earbuds feel great and sound great, and you’ll love having Alexa in your ears and available hands-free.

Best Amazon Alexa car device: iOttie Aivo Connect

Iottie Aivo Connect 9

Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central

Apple has CarPlay, and Google has Android Auto, but Amazon hasn’t really had a successful strategy to get Alexa into your car yet. Yes, it has Alexa Auto partnerships with some car manufacturers like Audi and Ford, but that hasn’t seen as much adoption compared to its competition. So how can you get Alexa in your car? Unfortunately, Amazon’s answer was slow in coming. It resulted in the Echo Auto, which received a lukewarm reception when it finally rolled out a year after being announced. Thankfully, other third parties like Garmin, Anker/Roav, and iOttie have stepped in to fill the gap.

The iOttie Aivo Connect came out in late 2020 and is an ingenious accessory for your smartphone. It is a phone mount that securely sticks to your dash or windshield with a sticky pad, and it has a unique Auto Sense Mounting system that uses an IR sensor to open and close around your device. If your phone is capable of wireless charging, the Aivo Connect can power it with 10W Qi wireless charging. Best of all, once you install the iOttie app and connect it to your Amazon account, you can ask Alexa for directions, set reminders, or play music and games while driving — all hands-free. It may not be quite as robust as Android Auto, but it’s simpler to use in some respects.

Pros:

  • Secure mounting solution for your smartphone
  • 10W Qi wireless charging
  • Can pivot phone to landscape mode
  • Auto Sense Mounting lets you insert and remove your phone with one hand
  • Hands-free Alexa assistance on the go

Best Amazon Alexa car device


iOttie Alvo Connect

iOttie Aivo Connect

Alexa on the road

The iOttie Aivo Connect is a great way to bring Alexa with you in the car and charge your phone simultaneously!

Best Amazon Alexa wearable: Amazon Echo Frames (2nd Gen)

Echo Frames Gen 2 Hero

Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central

From modest beginnings in Amazon’s Day 1 Editions program, the Echo Frames (2nd Gen) graduated from a niche, enthusiast product to a device that will bring Alexa to the masses. So if you’ve been waiting for a device to take Alexa out of the house and into the broader world, these just might be the glasses for you!

The second-generation Echo Frames feature improved battery life and software enhancements like Auto Volume, VIP Filter, and Auto-Off. While they share the same design as the first generation frames, they come in three stylish colors: Classic Black, Horizon Blue, and Modern Tortoise. Shortly after their release, Amazon added the option to purchase the Echo Frames (2nd Gen) with built-in UV sunglass lenses or blue-light filtering lenses.

Our reviewer found the experience of open-air audio to be preferable for hours of listening than in-ear buds in terms of comfort, but they also allow for a better perception of the outside world. However, the biggest downside with these smart glasses is the proprietary charger and lack of wireless charging.

Pros:

  • Easy hands-free Alexa access
  • Improved battery life over Day 1 Editions
  • Comes in three stylish colors
  • Enhanced software features
  • Sunglass and blue-light filter lens options
  • Also supports Google Assistant and Siri

Cons:

  • One of the most expensive Echo devices
  • Style may not be to everyone’s taste
  • No wireless charging

Best Amazon Alexa wearable


Amazon Echo Frames 2nd Gen Horizon Blue Official Render

Amazon Echo Frames (2nd Gen)

Alexa’s looking good

The Echo Frames (2nd Gen) allow you to bring Alexa with you wherever you go.

Best Amazon Alexa gaming device: Amazon Luna Controller

Amazon Luna

Source: Joe Maring / Android Central

Luna is Amazon’s new cloud gaming service, which has had a relatively quiet initial launch but is already starting to gain steam with gaming fans. It can be played across various devices, from PCs and Macs to the best Android phones, to Amazon’s own Fire TV devices.

Naturally, Amazon was keen to introduce its own Luna controller, which at first glance looks like many of the more popular gaming console controllers out there. Aside from working seamlessly with the Luna service with particularly low latency, what makes this controller special is that you can invoke Alexa at the press of a button when playing on Fire TV, and get the voice assistant to launch your favorite game titles, control smart home devices like lighting, or answer questions or trivia.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Pushbutton Alexa access
  • Low latency

Cons:

  • Cannot use as a TV remote
  • Ergonomics not as good as Xbox or other console controllers

Best Amazon Alexa gaming device


Amazon Luna Controller Render

Amazon Luna Controller

Game on

The Luna Controller allows you fast and easy control of Amazon’s cloud gaming service with Alexa access.

Best smart light with Amazon Alexa: Philips Hue A21, 1,600 Lumen Bulb

Philips Hue 1600 Lumen Bulb Lifestyle

Source: Philips Hue

One of the first products most people get when setting up a smart home is a smart light. These are often affordable, easy to assemble (simply screw in a bulb), and have an immediate and obvious impact. There are tons of options available when considering a smart lighting solution, but we think one of the best Alexa controlled light bulbs is the Philips Hue A21, 1,600 Lumen bulb.

These smart light bulbs are compatible with the entire range of Philips Hue products and can be controlled by Alexa so long as you set them up with a Hue bridge hub. The best Alexa routines include a good collection of smart lights, so we recommend picking up several of these for different rooms and creating lighting groups and smart lighting routines with the Alexa app. You can even set up Alexa Guard routines to have your lights turn on or off automatically when you tell Alexa that you are leaving the house.

These bulbs bring the Hue lighting experience to your Alexa home for a reasonable price, but they do only operate in shades of white. If you want more color in your setup, you’ll want to check out some of the other best Philips Hue lights.

Pros:

  • Affordable entry into Philips Hue ecosystem
  • Can connect with up to 80 other Hue devices
  • Features Bluetooth connectivity
  • Ultra-bright light

Cons:

  • Requires a separate hub to work with Alexa
  • No color options
  • Might get a little too bright for some spaces

Best smart light with Amazon Alexa


Philips Hue A21 1600l

Philips Hue White A21 High Lumen Smart Bulb

Oh, the Hue-manity

Philips Hue offers the most extensive smart lighting ecosystem, and these work great with Alexa.

Best Amazon Alexa home security camera: Ring Stick Up Cam

Ring Stick Up Cam official lifestyle 1

Source: Ring

Even before Amazon purchased Ring several years ago, the Ring video doorbells, cameras, and lights worked well with Alexa. Now that the company is a legitimate part of the Amazon ecosystem, the integration is better than ever. If you’re looking to pick up a smart camera (or multiple cameras) to protect and monitor your property, you can’t go wrong with the Ring Stick Up Cam.

The Stick Up Cam was updated in late 2019 and had several configurations to choose from. You can get a wired or battery-powered version, and whichever option you pick can be converted to the other after the fact. The Cam can be used indoors or outdoors and is easy to install either way. It’s also available in two colors: a standard white and a striking black.

Most home security cameras offer a subscription plan to access and store video recordings, and with Ring, this is no different. While being one of the more reasonably-priced plans in the home security market, it is still an additional expense that you’ll need to consider. Also, if all you want is an indoor camera, Ring offers a version that only works inside, but that is almost half the price of the Stick Up Cam. Whichever version you go with, you can easily ask Alexa to show you your camera feed on your Echo Show, Fire tablet, or Fire TV device so that you’ll always be connected to your smart home.

Pros:

  • Can be used indoors and outdoors
  • Available in wired or battery versions
  • Available in black or white
  • Comes with night vision
  • A lot of control over how you use it

Cons:

  • Wired version may require professional installation
  • Subscription required to access recordings
  • Almost twice the price of Ring’s indoor-only model

Best Alexa home security camera


Ring Stick Up Cam official render

Ring Stick Up Cam Plug-In HD security camera

Two-way player

The new Ring Stick Up Cam is a great upgrade, with 1080p HD video, two-way talk, and real-time notifications.

Best Amazon Alexa video doorbell: Ring Video Doorbell 4

Ring Video Doorbell 4 04 Press

Source: Nick Sutrich / Android Central

The original Ring Video Doorbell was a sensation in smart home protection and convenience. The popular security device is now on its fourth generation with the Ring Video Doorbell 4. The Ring Video Doorbell 4 maintains its HD quality video recording but adds impressive new features like color pre-roll, which allows it to record up to six seconds of video before an actual event is detected. This version also offers automatic quick replies, acting like an answering machine or personal assistant for your front door. This feature works even without a subscription plan and includes a half-dozen or so “canned” responses.

Speaking of personal assistants, The Ring Video Doorbell 4 still lets you ask Alexa to “show me who’s at the door,” which is perfect for when you’re not at home. You can also carry on a conversation with your guests through Alexa, no matter where you are.

Also, similar to the Ring Stick Up Cam, you will need to subscribe to Ring’s subscription service if you want to keep or access old video footage, so keep that extra expense in mind when considering this doorbell. What you get with this device is added security, peace of mind, and a way to monitor your home with Alexa’s assistance.

Pros:

  • Records color pre-roll video
  • Advanced Motion Detection
  • Can power with a battery or wired connection
  • Uses infrared night vision
  • Interchangeable faceplates
  • Works on 2.4 GHz and 5.0Ghz Wi-Fi

Cons:

  • Wired version may require professional installation
  • Subscription required to access recordings

Best Amazon Alexa video doorbell


Ring Video Doorbell 4 Render

Ring Video Doorbell 4

See it before it happens

The Ring Video Doorbell 4 builds on the previous versions with color pre-roll recording and automated quick replies.

Best Amazon Alexa smart thermostat: ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control

Ecobee official lifestyle 1

Source: Ecobee

While the best smart thermostat list is not as extensive as other smart products, some heavy hitters exist in this space. One of our favorite smart thermostats and the best with Alexa is the ecobee Smart Thermostat with Voice Control. Not only do you get smart features like a touch display and the ability to create schedules and routines with ease, but you get Alexa built-in. There’s nothing cooler than seeing Alexa’s blue LEDs light up on that black squircle on your wall whenever you make a request. It reminds us of HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey (only not as creepy).

Having that built-in Alexa integration is great for controlling the ecobee, but it’s also useful for controlling your smart home in general. For example, perhaps your thermostat is in a place where you can’t put an Echo (a hallway) or where you may not want one (an office or dining room). Well, this device has you covered!

This ecobee also comes paired with a smart sensor to help you better manage the temperature in rooms that may not have the same exposure as the base unit, and you can purchase additional sensors to put around your home. The company claims that its smart sensors and intelligent thermostat can help you reduce your heating and cooling costs by up to 23% per year, so while this thermostat is pricey, it’s cost-effective.

The biggest drawback to this thermostat is that it’s a little pricey compared to other smart thermostats on the market. However, considering it’s basically a wall-mounted Echo and smart appliance, we think it’s worthy of your consideration.

Pros:

  • Alexa is built-in
  • Can work as an Alexa node
  • Faster processor than the previous generation
  • Far-field voice recognition
  • Separate room sensor included

Cons:

  • Pricey
  • Complicated interface
  • Room sensors can cost extra

Best Amazon Alexa smart thermostat


Ecobee Smart Thermostat with Voice Control official render

ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control

Top-of-the-line thermostat

This device has pretty much everything you’d want in a connected thermostat: Alexa integration, music controls, and a smart sensor.

Best Amazon Alexa Wi-Fi mesh router: Eero 6 Dual-Band Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System with built-in Zigbee smart home hub

Eero 6 on a PC

Source: Eero

Big homes need more than a standard Wi-Fi setup, and this is where a mesh network like Eero comes into play. Mesh routers help spread out your Wi-Fi signal to the parts of the home that need it most, which can make a big difference if your TV is on the other side of the house from your router or if you’re sharing your bandwidth with other family members.

The latest offerings from Eero feature welcome enhancements to make them faster and more secure and are among the best Wi-Fi 6 mesh routers around. They also include a built-in Zigbee smart home hub to help connect your disparate smart home devices. Eero also announced a Pro version of its Wi-Fi 6 mesh system that you might want to consider if you need even faster coverage, but for most, the standard setup should be more than sufficient.

I recently purchased this Eero mesh three-pack because I experienced several dead or low-bandwidth spots in my 2,300-square-foot home, even with fiber internet. Connecting the Eero base unit to my fiber box was super easy, and in minutes I had the other units set up around the home. Now, I’m getting better Wi-Fi speeds than I ever did before (over 900 Mbps), and I have virtually no issues or complaints from family members who are working or watching Netflix.

Eero devices already allow you to monitor and control device usage, test your network, and share your Wi-Fi password. Still, if you are so inclined, you can subscribe to Eero Secure or Eero Secure+. These plans offer additional security and network monitoring features and include add-ons for 1Password, encrypt.me, and Malwarebytes (in the plus version).

The integration with Alexa enables Eero owners to control different aspects of their home network, including opening and closing guest networks and providing threat scans and ad-blocking. The Eero units are available individually or in multi-packs.

Pros:

  • Great app with easy setup
  • Up to 5,000 sq feet of coverage with up to 500 Mbps speeds
  • Family profiles and system reports
  • Built-in Zigbee smart home hub
  • Eero Secure benefits

Cons:

  • Only one open Ethernet port on the base router
  • Requires a subscription for some advanced features

Best Amazon Alexa Wi-Fi mesh router


Eero 6 mesh

Eero 6 Dual-Band Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System with built-in Zigbee smart home hub

Blanket your home in bandwidth

The Eero 6 Dual-Band Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System gives you great coverage, great security, and great monitoring tools.

Best Amazon Alexa smartwatch: Wyze Band

Wyze Band Lifestyle

Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central

Talking about the best Android smartwatches seems to be all the rage these days, with the popularity of devices like the Apple Watch, Samsung’s great Galaxy watches, and fitness-focused products like Fitbits and Garmins. Yet not everyone wants or can afford a big, fancy smartwatch; some prefer something lighter, like one of the best fitness trackers. For those folks, there is the Wyze Band.

Wyze is a relatively young company that has made a name by producing insanely cheap yet excellent smart home devices. Its Wyze Cam, Cam Pan, and Cam Outdoor are three of our absolute favorites and top several of our smart device roundups, and the company’s smart bulb is one of the best you can buy for the price.

It was initially a bit of a shock that Wyze dropped this smart fitness band on us, but what a great surprise it turned out to be! For less than $30, you get a very comfortable and stylish wearable with a full color, customizable AMOLED display. There is an app on the device that lets you control your other Wyze smart home gadgets with a tap of the wrist, and you can also summon Alexa for information and to perform tasks, just as you would from an Echo device or other more expensive wearables like the Fitbit Versa 2.

Pros:

  • Up to two weeks battery life
  • Control smart home devices from your wrist
  • Customizable AMOLED display
  • Alexa built-in

Cons:

  • Changing bands can be a pain
  • Not great for social competitions or fitness app integrations
  • Only has one sport mode: running
  • App needs to be running in the background for smart features to work

Best Amazon Alexa smartwatch


Wyze Band

Wyze Band

Like the back of your hand

There’s no more affordable or comfortable way to take Amazon’s Alexa smart voice assistant with you on the go!

Alexa gadgets galore

There are dozens of devices with Alexa built-in, and literally, thousands that work with the smart voice assistant. We’ve done our best to comb through all the options to share our favorites with you so that you can make the best purchase decisions when it comes to setting up your smart home with Alexa.

If you don’t have an Echo already, we recommend starting with the Echo (4th Gen), as it offers a great balance of sound, functionality, and affordability. You can use it to control your other smart home and Alexa-compatible devices with just your voice, and you can pair two of them together to get a stereo sound system or connect them to your Fire TV for an even better Disney+ binging session.

Now you know what our favorite Alexa devices are, so hop online now and pick some of these gadgets up for your household.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Author:

Jeramy Johnson is proud to help to Keep Austin Weird and loves hiking in the hill country of central Texas with a breakfast taco in each hand. When he’s not writing about Amazon products and services, he’s defending his relationship with his side-chick Alexa to his family. You can follow him on Twitter at @jeramyutgw.

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