Amazon Echo Plus
IMPROVED SOUND AND A BUILT-IN SMART HOME HUB MAKE THIS A GOOD CHOICE FOR IOT BEGINNERS
The Echo Plus looks identical to the original 2016 Echo, except that it’s available in a space-age silver nish as well as the classic black and white options. That means it stands quite a bit taller than today’s standard Echo, and has a twisting volume control at the top, which we nd much more pleasant than the up and down buttons that are now otherwise standard.
Inside, as be ts the “Plus” designation, you will nd upgraded audio hardware in the form of a bigger tweeter. This makes a very perceptible difference: music instantly gains a clarity and presence that the regular Echo simply can’t match. Despite the larger size, it’s also quite a bit quieter than the second-generation Echo, topping out at 72dBA. For everyday listening, though, it will please all but the pickiest listeners.
The other major enhancement is an integrated IoT hub, which can discover and control certain smart home devices, without needing an intermediary hub connected to your router. This doesn’t really solve an urgent problem, but if you haven’t yet invested in Hive or Philips Hue smart lighting, it could make the Echo Plus more cost effective, as it means you won’t need to spend $100 or so on a standalone hub.
Otherwise, while the improved music quality and user-friendly volume control are certainly nice, we would be hard pushed to say they justify the price gap between this and the regular Echo.
$159 • www.amazon.com.au/Echo