Taking on Amazon’s Echo family, next-generation all-new Amazon Echo and Echo Plus have finally on sale in the US with a competitive price tag of $99.99 and $149.99, respectively. Both of these were announced with the Echo Button, Echo Connect products last month.
It’s worth mentioning that the Amazon is currently offering a bundle including the Echo with Logitech Harmony Elite at the $329.99; Echo and Sony TV for $1,198 as well as Echo Plus and Philips Hue bulb for the same $149.99.
The Amazon Echo is the one to get if you are ready to make a bigger commitment with your pocket and want a speaker that’s loud enough to fill the room. It comes with a 2.5″ woofer, in addition to a 0.6″ tweeter, and while it can get fairly loud, the quality won’t be good enough to keep audiophiles happy. If you just want a standalone device that’s loud and offers a super-convenient way of playing music, then this is the one for you.
The Echo Plus is the slightly expensive Alexa-enabled device, and it comes with a bigger speaker (0.8″ tweeter and 2.5″ woofer) in addition to a built-in smart home hub. This allows you to add ZigBee-enabled smart home products like the Philips Hue Bulb without the need of buying an additional smart home base controller. Many popular smart home products support the ZigBee protocol, so if this is an area of interest, you can consider buying the Amazon Echo Plus. Just remember that your favorite vendor may not support ZigBee, or the product you’re looking to buy might not be available without a bundled smart home base – and in those cases, the cost savings from using the Echo Plus as a base station could be negligible.
Even if you don’t buy an Amazon Echo Plus – or if you wish to use a non-ZigBee product with your Echo Plus – you will be able to control smart home products using Alexa as long as the base unit on your smart device can connect to the Echo device over Bluetooth and/ or Wi-Fi.