It is no secret that Amazon’s aim is to see its speakers in every home, and with these speakers delivering superior sound quality and offering homeowners a very convenient way to operate their connected devices, achieving that goal is not far-fetched.
Having an Amazon speaker is like having a personal assistant with you at home, listening to your heart’s every desire: from ordering a pizza, to calling an Uber, turning the lights on, and even checking your stock portfolio and the weather forecast.
The retail giant has recently come out with a range of new Amazon Alexa speakers and one of these is the Amazon Echo Plus.
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Features of the Amazon Echo Plus
These are the things you could expect from the Amazon Echo Plus:
A better speaker. The Amazon Echo Plus can fill your room with the best audio quality, thanks to Dolby. It has a 2.5 inch downward firing woofer and a tweeter that can give you deep base, crisp music, and room filling sound.
Far-field recognition. Amazon Echo Plus has seven microphones that use improved noise cancellation and beam-forming technology. That means that the speaker can easily hear you when you say “Alexa,” even if you are far from the speaker or are in a noisy environment.
Built-in smart home hub. The Amazon Echo Plus also acts as a smart home hub, allowing you to control smart thermostats, smart locks, sprinklers, and other connected devices. The best thing about the Amazon Echo Plus is that you can easily set it to work with other devices.
You only have to command it to discover your devices and it will do the setup on its own. You can finally control different devices according to schedule or with just a single command. For instance, at 6 a.m., all your lights will go out as your smart blinds are opened and your coffeemaker starts brewing coffee.
Play your favorite music wherever you are in the house. The Amazon Echo Plus is able to access the libraries of online music streaming services such as Spotify, Pandora, and Amazon Music. You only need to ask for a song, using the song title, genre or artist, and enjoy it as it plays.
And because the Amazon Echo Plus supports multi-room music, you can play different tunes in different rooms. The Amazon Echo Plus also has access to news briefs, radio stations, podcasts and audiobooks.
Hands-free calling and messaging. You can ask Alexa to call anybody without having to touch your phone. You get free calls to anyone in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
What’s more, the Amazon Echo Plus can recognize different voices. For instance, you have Amazon Echo Plus at the office and one of you says, “Alexa, call dad,” the Echo Plus will easily know who said it and call that person’s father.
Additionally, you will be able to call or message anyone with a compatible Echo device or those who have the Alexa app in their phone.
Check on other people at home without having to leave the room. You can use the Amazon Echo Plus to call other Echo devices in other rooms. Dinner’s ready? Let everybody know without having to shout and without having to leave the dining room.
Extend the capabilities of the Amazon Echo Plus. There are now at least tens of thousands of skills that your Amazon Echo Plus can do. These skills allow you to do more with your speaker.
What’s more, you can get updated with the latest skills that are added, the best skills, the trending skills and even skills for a particular category. All you need to do is ask.
What you would like about the Amazon Echo Plus
If you still have not started getting your smart home devices together, or if you do not have a smart home hub such as Wink or Samsung SmartThings, you should really consider getting the Amazon Echo Plus.
Because of its built-in hub, you no longer have to buy a separate hub and you can manage your connected devices using one mobile app or even with just your voice. Furthermore, the Amazon Echo Plus has a Zigbee antenna built into it so it works with Zigbee devices.
Amazon Echo Plus makes it easier for you to control your devices. The Amazon Echo Plus now offers what it calls “routines,” or skills that can handle a variety of devices with just a simple command.
For example, if you want to watch a movie, you don’t have to speak separate commands to turn on the TV, change your speakers’ settings according to your preference, dim the lights, and set your thermostat to a cooler setting. You can do all of these with just one command.
Amazon Echo Plus also allows you to group devices with your Alexa speaker. If you are in the bedroom and you have an Echo Plus in it, you no longer have to say “Alexa, turn off the lights in the bedroom.”
With the grouping functionality, your Echo Plus is part of the devices in your bedroom and will only turn off the lights in the same group.
And to give you an idea of what it could do with other smart devices, you can opt for a free Philips Hue when you order your Echo Plus. Yes, you can get a $15 Philips Hue smart bulb for free.
What could be better
The Amazon Echo Plus does not have a screen, so video calling is out of the question. It also has the looks and design of the old Amazon Echo, which is unfortunate because it has better sound quality than the Echo.
In fact, it is kind of unusual for Amazon to update the old Amazon Echo and make it better, but retain its old look. The last thing they should want is to have the better, updated version confused with the old. Good thing you can choose from two colors: black and silver.
All the Amazon Echo products available now
So how does the Amazon Echo Plus compare with other Amazon Echo speakers that are currently available? First, let us discuss the features common to all the Amazon Echo devices.
All Amazon Echo-branded devices give you streaming music from online music services and all of them are able to connect to an external speaker via Bluetooth. You can also place voice calls for free to Canada, Mexico and the entire United States.
And most obviously, all Echo devices are able to control other smart home devices. Now for the differences. When it comes to dimensions, the Echo Plus literally lords it over when it comes to height. The Echo Plus is taller than all other Echo devices with a height of 9.3 inches.
It is however, more compact than the new Amazon Echo by 0.2 inches. If space is a problem for you, then you should consider the Echo Dot and the Echo Spot, which are the smallest Echo devices available now.
The Amazon Echo Plus does not allow video playbacks as it does not come with its own screen, like the Echo Show and the Echo Spot, but it has the best speakers. In fact, out of the five Echo devices, it is only the Echo Plus and the improved Echo that has a dual speaker: a 2.5-inch woofer and tweeter.
|Echo Dot||Echo||Echo Plus||Echo Spot||Echo Show|
|Price||$49.99 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here)||$99.99 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here)||$149.99 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here)||$129.99 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here)||$229.99 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here)|
|Dimensions (inches)||1.3 x 3.3 x 3.3||5.9 x 3.5 x 3.5||9.3 x 3.3 x 3.3||4.1 x 3.8 x 3.6
|7.4 x 7.4 x 3.5|
|Speaker size||0.6″ speaker||2.5″ woofer & 0.6″ tweeter||2.5″ woofer & 0.8″ tweeter||1.4″ speaker||Dual 2.0″ speakers|
|Line-out (3.5 mm cable)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Free audio calls to US||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Free audio calls to Mexico||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Free audio calls to Canada||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Control other devices||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
If you are looking for an affordable way to have an Amazon Echo device in every room, then you might want to go with the Echo Dot, which is priced at $50. Or go with the newly improved Amazon Echo speaker, which is only $100, but delivers good quality sound.
The Echo Spot, on the other hand, focuses on the promised video calling feature. The most expensive is the Amazon Echo Show, which sells for $230 and comes with a 7-inch screen. As you can guess, each Echo device has its own main selling point and for the Echo Plus, it is the built-in hub.
Final say about the Amazon Echo Plus
At $150 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here), the Amazon Echo Plus provides you the best speaker among the entire Echo line-up of devices offered by Amazon. It is also the only one that gives you an embedded hub to make it easy for you to connect your smart home devices.
Amazon has really pulled out all stops with the Echo Plus. With its Zigbee antenna, you no longer need a separate hub to control smart home devices, and set up has been made even easier. You just need to tell Alexa to discover your devices.
And not just that, the Echo Plus has improved audio with Dolby processing.
You will no longer hate the bass lines with the Echo Plus, and you just get booming melodies.
Do not be fooled by the familiar look of the Echo Plus, because it has all the best technology that Amazon has ever offered for its speakers. It combines far-field recognition and beam-forming technology to hear your commands while also providing the best sound quality among all Echo devices.
The Amazon Echo Plus is probably the best Echo variant out there.
Further read, The Best Amazon Echo Alternatives – Can Anyone Compete?
Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn’t have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!