Amazon Echo Plus Review: Expand Your Smart Home

/ 02:12 AM February 16, 2019

Say hello to the Second generation of The Amazon Echo Plus, which debuts with a whole new appearance and some significant upgrades to boot. In 2017, when the Echo Plus first version was released, the high grade smart speaker had voice activated Alexa assistant just like other Echo devices but with an extra addition of somewhat good enough audio as well as the smart aptitude to perform as centre for all other kinds of smart home devices. From our Amazon Echo Plus Review, this latest model still comes with all the functionality that its predecessor had but with rejuvenated appearance and enhanced audio drivers to give it an edge in a market presently bursting with rival smart speakers and Amazon’s own thriving product releases.

FEATURES

  • Review Price:  $119.99
  • Size- 148 x 99 x 99mm
  • Weight- 780g
  • Colors – Charcoal, Heather Gray and Sandstone
  • Alexa

DISCUSSION

The newly released Echo Plus maintains the same price as its forerunner. This unchanged price stamps the smart speaker as a good value buy considering the overall hardware enhancements and outer smart gear pairings.

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In addition, the Amazon Echo Plus is now significantly shorter, and slightly fatter.

The former Echo Plus was known for its lofty, industrial shape and noticeable speaker grilles. Looking at the speaker, one can see it looks very similar to the conventional Amazon Echo, including an appealing fabric mesh cover that would fit right into your home décor.

FEATURED STORIES

The physical volume dial has also been swapped with several buttons on the top face of the speaker: two to control volume, one to mute, and an ‘action button’ to call Alexa to attention.

Other minor appearance alterations include –  the bottom and upper rims now curve into the speaker’s body, the ’mute’ button microphone symbol has been change to a suggestive crossed circle, the Amazon logo is now on the underside of the speaker rather than on the main body like the previous version.

Generally, this new Amazon Echo Plus has been tailored to give off a warmer welcoming vibe, compared to the first release. This is understandable considering how guarded some persons still are concerning having a device in their home, that is constantly on listening mode.

The new Amazon Echo Plus comes with seven efficient built-in microphones for picking up your commands and directives. The temperature sensor built into the speaker, which checks the room temperature and can be accessed by asking Alexa or checking the Alexa app.

The Echo Plus maintains its omnidirectional Dolby Audio and 0.8-inch tweeter, with a slightly larger 3.0-inch neodymium (fancy magnet) subwoofer. There’s clearly better kick to the bass, even if the downward-firing woofer can feel a bit crude , with the lack of a mid-range speaker causing the gap between the high and low frequencies to be a little too obvious

The audio isn’t very high grade but it still delivers a good, warm, full sound.

The Echo Plus is foreseeably skilled at picking out voices from noise filled surroundings and equally carries the smart capability to connect to other smart home devices, play music, play podcasts and inform you on the day’s news, weather, traffic and what have you.

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There’s is also the Alexa “Skills” system that lets you download the improved capabilities and features you need (for free!)

One of Alexa’s ecosystems most significant pros is that every single Alexa enabled device gain from the constant upgrading of its software, so if you’re still using the previous Echo Plus, the experience you have would be the same as this new device. That is to say, if you’re considering purchasing this latest release, focus more on factors such as audio, smart hub connectivity and physical appearance.

A major selling point of the older Echo Plus was its possession of ZigBee- a smart home interface able to connect the smart speaker to a variety of other smart home devices that would usually be impossible to relate with Echo devices. ZigBee is still present in this new model and Alexa performs excellently at controlling different devices and systems in one place.

Our Amazon Echo Plus Review led us to discover the inability of the new Echo Plus to skip or pause during a movie or a show or do anything that didn’t open or close the app completely. We figured this issue might be a pre-release software problem and there are efforts being put in to resolve. So for now, it’s more advisable to use your Fire TV or streaming stick.

CONCLUSION

The new Amazon Echo Plus is an improvement in the physical appeal of the smart speaker, giving it the look of a lifestyle device rather than a manufactured sound projector. Also, with its upgraded audio drivers and temperature sensor, it’s an attractive buy for people who desire a versatile smart speaker that has better sound than the conventional Echo.

Still, more options beyond the new Echo Plus exist in case it doesn’t fulfill your sound needs.

The Echo Link connected to a separate speaker or Sonos One is worth considering as an option – or even a device out of the Alexa ecosystem.

Generally, as a result of its blend of mid-range audio output and smart Alexa, the Amazon Echo Plus is a fine choice for expanding or starting your smart home.

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TAGS: Smart Speaker
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