By now many of us are familiar with the Amazon Echo lineup. These smart speakers, which are also brainy digital assistants, can give you hands-free powers the likes of which we haven’t known before.
I’ve written about the Amazon Echo and the small Dot, but here’s what you can expect if you’re looking at the Amazon Echo Plus.
Amazon Echo, Dot and Plus: key differences
There are four key differences between Amazon Echo Plus and Amazon Echo:
Size: The Amazon Echo Plus is taller than the Echo.
Power: The other key differentiating factor is power; the Plus has a slightly larger tweeter: Echo has a 63.5 mm woofer and 16 mm tweeter, while Plus features a 63.5 mm woofer and 20 mm tweeter.
Smart Home Hub: The third key difference between Echo and Plus is that Echo Plus has a built in smart home hub so you can connect to smart light bulbs, without the need for a starter kit or separate hub. As if to prove how much you’ll love this, the Plus comes with a Philips Hue smart bulb (read more about how Philips Hue works in my review)so you can experience smart lighting and voice control as soon as you get unboxed.
Volume: One other minor difference; the volume of the Plus is adjusted by turning the whole lid-style top of the device, while the Echo has volume up/down buttons.
How does the Amazon Echo line work?
All the gadgets in the Echo lineup work largely the same (read my full reviews of the Echo and Dot here. ). They respond to the name of Amazon’s digital assistant, Alexa. By calling Alexa, you can then ask for whatever you need. The built in microphone (seven microphones, actually) is always listening and waiting for you, and it uses the speaker to respond. Alexa can even hear you and respond while music is playing.
What can you do with Amazon Echo?
Personal digital assistants can do any number of tasks for you, all without ever having to pull out your smartphone or type on a keyboard:
- play music; whether you ask for a song, an artist, a genre or an album, Alexa can find it.
- play streaming music from services like Spotify
- adjust volume
- control your smart home devices (see more below)
- get current news, weather and traffic info
- convert recipes and measurements
- set timers and alarms
- make phone calls
- use multiple Echo devices as an intercom system
- read your calendar to you, even an Apple or Outlook calendar
- control your compatible TV
- integrate with IFTTT
Should I get Amazon Echo Plus?
Having a personal digital assistant is absurdly handy. When I first heard about these devices, I thought they were kind of silly and unnecessary. After trying both Amazon Echo and Google Home, I’m a convert (though click here to read which device came out on top in a head-to-head comparison). I love having hands-free control over so much in my home, and being able to call for some music while I’m busy with other things is convenient. Which assistant you choose will have something to do with your budget, and how important the above noted features are to you. If they’re not that important, an Echo will do you just fine.
If you’re looking for a smart digital assistant with a bit more power and spunk, Amazon Echo Plus is a good choice.
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