Smart speakers are so popular nowadays for the simple fact that they make our lives easier. Aside from being able to play music, you can ask them whatever you like and they’ll answer back, or order something online. Those that double as smart hubs let you control smart home devices as well. But smart speakers are limited to just telling rather than showing. Enter smart displays, where aside from hands-free voice-assisted features, the added screen allows you to access a whole new level of information. With them, you can view your home’s security camera footage, watch a tutorial on how to cook spaghetti and make video calls. Right now, you can purchase refurbished units of the Echo Plus smart speaker and Echo Show smart display on Amazon at awesome discounted prices.
The first generation of Echo Plus is cylindrical just like the Echo, although it is taller and slimmer. It comes in either black, white, or silver. Inside are seven embedded microphones, and on the outside, you’ll find a volume dial around the rim, the signature blue ring of light on top, and a couple of buttons for action and muting Alexa’s mic.
The Echo Plus is a speaker and a smart hub in one, meaning you don’t have to purchase a bridge for it to control your smart home devices, unlike the Echo. Once you’ve connected it to your home Wi-Fi network, you can order it to connect with all your Zigbee-compatible smart home devices by simply saying, “Alexa, discover my devices.” Pretty soon you’ll be able to turn lights on and off, switch channels on your smart TV, and basically do everything Alexa is capable of doing completely hands-free. And with the new and improved Far-Field voice recognition (something the Echo also has), this smart speaker will have no difficulty hearing you even from afar.
As a music player, the Echo Plus is adequate. You may tap your toes, but you definitely won’t be banging your head to it. It’s best to connect it with a larger speaker or audio system through the 3.5mm audio output jack.
The Echo Plus usually comes with a $130 price tag, but with Amazon’s staggering 46% discount, you can get a refurbished unit for only $70.
The second generation of the Echo Show is the Alexa-powered mini TV you need. A marked improvement over the original version, it now sports a bigger screen and improved acoustics. What’s even better is now you can get a refurbished unit on Amazon for a huge $80 off its normal retail price. Get it for just $130 instead of $210.
Featuring a 10-inch crystal clear touch display (the previous one was seven inches), the bigger screen is easier to navigate and see from across the room. The picture quality has also improved tremendously, so much that you don’t need a second TV if you already have this in your den, kitchen, or any room. Amazon has ditched the old version’s blocky and retro look in favor of a more streamlined form, with a sandstone or charcoal fabric backing. On top of the Echo Show are three buttons: One to mute and un-mute the microphone and the volume control buttons. Finally, there’s a 5-megapixel camera on top for calling other Alexa devices (including those found in your home) or someone’s phone using the Alexa app. Soon the Echo Show will be able to support Skype calls as well.
The audio quality is excellent. The older version’s stereo speakers have been upgraded to dual premium drivers and a passive bass radiator, and the improvement can definitely be heard. You’d be able to feel the bass reverberate when you play any beats-heavy song. And just like the Echo Plus, this works as a smart hub, so you can control Zigbee-compatible smart home devices through Alexa.
If you’re OK with just the voice-activated automation of your home besides the usual function of playing music, get the Echo Plus. But if you want all that plus the added convenience of a screen and its corresponding benefits, opt for the Echo Show for just $60 more.
Digital Trends may earn commission on products purchased through our links, which supports the work we do for our readers.
- These are the best cheap Amazon Echo deals for October 2020
- How to choose the right Amazon Echo smart speaker amid all the discounts
- Amazon discounts Echo Dot and Echo Studio — on sale from $19
- Time is running out to get an Echo Dot for just $19 (you read that right!)
- Best Buy Amazon 2-Day Sale: 6 deals you can’t afford to miss