Improved sound quality isn't the only thing we love about the new Plus.
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Echo smart speakers are a great way to get easy access to Alexa and her multitude of skills, but if you are a serious music enthusiast, chances are you’ve got something more robust in your home for the days you feel the need to crank it to 11.
While there are a ton of cool products that work with Echo and Alexa, Amazon seems to have noticed that the listening experience of the first-generation Echo line doesn't exactly blow people away. The current lineup is a clear attempt to rectify that problem, and perhaps the most noteworthy improvement of sound quality comes in the form of the new, second-generation Echo Plus (available on Amazon for $149).
The new Plus comes equipped with a 3-inch woofer as well as a 0.8-inch tweeter. It can connect to other devices wirelessly via Bluetooth or through its 3.5 mm jack to stream your favorites from Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, Sirius XM, and other music services.
The smart speaker squeezes a lot into a small package and features rounded edges, a fabric cover, an integrated Zigbee hub, a temperature sensor, and considerably better sound than its predecessor. We also stacked it up against a Sonos One and an Apple HomePod to find that while the Echo Plus can’t quite run with the big dogs of the smart speaker world, the sound it puts out is probably adequate for most uses, especially when it’s paired with an Echo Sub.
For its size, the Plus is very loud. Though, as one would expect, the bass and lower mids aren’t going to rattle any windows. For a little background music at dinner? The Plus is the perfect pick.
Just about every type of smart home product has a version compatible with Zigbee hub (a smart home protocol required to run certain devices), so Amazon has gone out of its way to make certain that Alexa can always help when you need it. Having the hub onboard the Echo means that you can use your smart speaker to control all the smart home gadgets that are already Alexa compatible, plus those that require a Zigbee hub.
The Echo Plus also features an onboard temperature sensor, which enables users to check the room temperature where the Plus is located from the Alexa app. Not all that exciting, but certainly helpful for some.
The Echo Plus is a solid little speaker with a lot to offer. For the person who has been disappointed with their Dot’s lackluster sound quality and wants something better without breaking the bank, the decision to upgrade to the Plus is a good one.
But if you’re looking for a concert-like experience, you’ll need to spring for a smart speaker that’s more about the music than the voice assistant, like the Sonos One.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.