The “plus” in the Amazon Echo Plus is an integrated ZigBee smart-home hub. It’s a feature that boosts this smart speaker’s price tag by a third compared to the $100 second-generation Echo, and by a factor of three compared to the $50 second-generation Echo Dot. Having one smart appliance do the job of two sounds like a good idea, but most people will be happier with a more powerful smart-home hub that works in conjunction with Alexa, even if the combination costs more.Don’t get me wrong. Amazon is way out in front when it comes to enabling voice control of the smart home, thanks to partnerships with all the major players—DIY platforms like Samsung SmartThings and the Wink Hub 2 as well as big installers such as Vivint Smart Home and ADT Pulse—and a deep commitment to helping any and every interested third-party manufacturer tap into its Amazon Voice Service (i.e., its Alexa digital assistant). I can recommend any Echo model—except … [Read more...] about Amazon Echo Plus review: Not plus enough
Echo plus 2
Amazon recently released an all-new Echo , which is smaller, more attractive, and at $99, less expensive than the original. However, there's also a new Echo Plus ($149), which has a smart-home hub built inside. So which smart speaker should you get? Amazon Echo versus Echo Plus: Smart Speakers Compared Amazon Echo (2nd gen) Amazon Echo Plus Price Microphones 7-mic array 7-mic array Speakers 2.5 inch woofer and 0.6-inch tweeter 2.5-inch woofer and 0.8-inch tweeter Features Alexa, streaming music over Wi-Fi, free voice calls Alexa, streaming music over Wi-Fi, free voice calls, Built-in smart-home hub … [Read more...] about Amazon Echo vs Echo Plus: What Should You Buy?
The Amazon Echo is one of the most popular smart speakers on the market today, giving users the ability to command Alexa to browse the internet or order items from Amazon. With competition from Google and Apple, however, Amazon couldn’t rest on its laurels. The tech giant recently released the new-and-improved Echo and the Echo Plus, a smart-home hub that will automatically connect to your other devices. Here’s how the new models compare to the first generation in design, sound, connectivity, calling, and pricing.DesignEncased in a tall, black (or white) cylinder, the first-generation Echo is an imposing monolith. The original Echo emphasized simplicity with two buttons on top and a pinhole microphone and a ring around the edge to control the volume.The new Echo comes in a much smaller package (just 5.9 inches tall), and comes in different body designs. Given that our reviewer found the original to be prone to fingerprints, the additional designs are a great idea. … [Read more...] about The Amazon Echo vs. the new Echo vs. the Echo Plus: Which should you get?
Editors' note, May 18, 2017: Since I updated this piece a month ago, both Google and Amazon have announced major upgrades to their respective smart speakers. The piece has been updated accordingly, though these latest changes won't be heavily factored in until they launch and we have time to test them. Given the surprising success of the Amazon Echo -- a smart speaker that responds to your voice commands, plays music, and controls your smart home -- competition was inevitable. With Google Home entering the arena, complete with the backing of the company's ubiquitous search engine, the Echo's place on top is no longer secure.Like the Echo, the Home functions as a source of entertainment, a personal assistant and a smart-home controller. When we reviewed the Home back in November, it couldn't keep up with the Echo on the latter two fronts. The Home put up a valiant fight, but the Echo had a two-year head start and many more skills at its disposal. At CES this January, the Echo continued … [Read more...] about Google Home vs. Amazon Echo, round 2: Google strikes back
Amazon is greatly expanding its reach into the smart home space, today launching several products, including a second-generation Echo smart home speaker, an Echo Plus that doubles as a smart home hub and an Echo Dot with a display that doubles as an alarm clock. Here's how to make sense of the new lineup.New Amazon EchoThe new Echo sports a smaller design than the original, as well as a Google Home-like removable cloth shell, and a lower price of just $99. The device will be available today for pre-order, and will ship on Oct. 31.Like the original Echo, the Echo is cylindrical, with a ring of LEDs around the top edge that light up when Alexa is activated. Inside, Amazon improved the far-field microphones, so that the Echo can better pick up voices from across a room. The new Echo will also have a dedicated bass speaker and support Dolby Audio, so it should have better sound qualities than the original. Its new fabric covering is much more attractive than the original's black (or white) … [Read more...] about Amazon Unveils New Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Spot: What’s the Difference?
Although it may look like the original Echo, the inclusion of a Zigbee smart-home hub inside the Amazon Echo Plus means that it just got a lot easier for consumers to build out their own smart homes. It also means the Echo Plus will make it a lot harder for other smart-home-hub makers, too. Credit: Amazon Zigbee is an open-communications protocol built into a ton of smart-home devices, such as Philips Hue lights and smart locks . Because of its low-power requirements, it’s ideal for small devices, or those whose design would make it inconvenient for a large battery, or to be plugged in. A great example of this are door and window sensors. However, Zigbee devices can’t connect directly to the Internet, which is what enables you to control them remotely. They first must link to a bridge or hub (such as the Samsung SmartThings or Wink Hub 2 … [Read more...] about Why Amazon Echo Plus Is a ‘Game-Changer’ for Smart Homes
So you’ve decided to bring Alexa into your life. Good idea. Now comes the hard part: Which Amazon Echo is right for you? We’ll go over all the models, including the brand-new second-generation Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Spot that Amazon just announced.Cyber Monday update: Amazon's Echo deals continue through Cyber Monday. These sale prices are in effect now and will end on November 27, 2017 at 11:59 pm Pacific time. Here are the deals:The best deal is $20 off the price of the Echo Dot (2nd Generation). That brings the price of that smart speaker down to just $29.99 in your choice of white or black—a savings of 40 percent. If you’re interested in the benefits that an Echo with a display can offer, you can pick up an Echo Show in the same colors for $179.99—a savings of 22 percent off the regular price.The full-sized Echo (2nd Generation) that Amazon announced on September 27 is already on sale for $79.99 for the fabric-covered models (Heather Gray, Dark … [Read more...] about Amazon Echo, Echo Plus or Echo Spot: Which Alexa smart speaker is right for you?
The 2nd generation Echo costs just $99, and has a 2.5” downward-firing woofer and 0.6” tweeter powered by Dolby to deliver crisp vocals and dynamic bass throughout the room. You can play music from Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and more. With Amazon Music, you can search by lyrics, time-period, or let Alexa pick the music for you. You can also listen to audiobooks from Audible, podcasts, radio stations or news briefs. Make calls, set alarms and timers, ask questions, check your calendar, weather, traffic, and sports scores, manage to-do and shopping lists, control smart home devices, and more. Multiple Echo devices around your house work together -- ask Alexa to play your favorite music on all Echo's, or different styles in different rooms. The new Echo won't ship until October 31, but if you order now and select 2-day shipping, you'll have it on your doorstep the day it's released. See it on Amazon here.Want to make your home smarter and work … [Read more...] about Pre-Order the New Echo, Echo Plus, or Fire TV Here – Deal Alert
Three years ago, Amazon introduced Echo and Alexa, offering a new way to interact with technology using just your voice. The deep discounts on the Echo on Prime Day already gave it away that a new Echo is due this Fall and here it is. Today, Amazon introduced the next generation of Echo: the all-new Echo 2 with a new design and improved sound for just $99.99, and Echo Plus with a built-in smart home hub for $149.99. Get the Free Tracker App to find a SNES Classic in Stock With an all-new compact design, Echo fits easily into any room in your home while delivering next-generation far-field performance and improved room-filling sound. Pick from a variety of shell colors and finishes to fit into your home’s décor—choices include charcoal, sandstone, heather gray, oak veneer, walnut veneer, and silver.Echo combines an all-new speaker architecture, a dedicated tweeter, a 2.5” down-firing woofer, and Dolby processing to deliver crisp vocals and dynamic bass … [Read more...] about Amazon Echo 2 And Echo Plus Revealed
Amazon has released the next level of daily Prime Day 2017 countdown deals Wednesday morning, July 5. The Amazon Prime Day 2017 page features new deals today themed around Alexa Voice Shopping. Today's deals and promotions include exclusive Alexa savings, Echo Dot 2 discount and a Prime Day giveaway.Amazon has though more in store for Alexa users. Owners of Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show, Amazon Tap, Fire TV or compatible Fire tablets can get a new annual Prime membership for only $79.99. Alexa device owners who are not yet Prime members can now use their voice to sign up for their first year of Prime membership for a $20 discount, for a limited time. Also, voice shoppers will also have early access to select Prime Day deals a full two hours before the general public beginning July 10th from 4pm to 6pm PT. The cheapest way to gain access to Alexa Prime Day 2017 deals is by getting today's deal on an refurbished Echo Dot 2 for $29.99 and use it to order the Prime membership deal for … [Read more...] about Prime Day 2017 Begins 2 Hours Earlier For Alexa Voice Shoppers