Over the past few years, Amazon has been coming out with new and different Echo units to meet the needs of its customers. In late 2017, Amazon released the Echo Plus, which made controlling your smart home easier. The Echo Plus has a built-in Zigabee smart home hub. This means you don’t need a separate device, like the Samsung SmartThings hub, to control your smart home (more on that later).
On October 11, 2018, Amazon is releasing the Echo Plus (2nd generation). What’s the difference between the two Echo Plus devices? This guide explains the ins and outs of both devices to help you decide whether to upgrade or which to buy. It should be noted, however, that Amazon will likely stop selling first-gen Echo Plus devices soon after the new one hits the market.
|Echo Plus (1st-gen)||2.5-inch soofer, 0.8-inch tweeter||Hard plastic surface, 9.2″ x 3.3″ x 3.3″||No temperature sensor||$100|
|Echo Plus (2nd-gen)||3-inch woofer, 0.8-inch tweeter||Fabric surface, 5.8″ x 3.9″ x 3.9″||Has temperature sensor||$150|
Amazon received reviews and feedback from customers about poor sound quality on the Echo Plus (1st gen). The first generation Plus has a 2.5-inch subwoofer and a 0.8-inch tweeter. If you compare that to the original Echo, which has a 2.5-inch woofer (with a reflex port to decrease sound distortion) and a 2-inch tweeter, the Plus provides less in terms of sound quality. Many customers say the first generation Plus doesn’t have clear and crisp treble, and the bass isn’t powerful enough.
The Echo Plus (2nd generation) has increased back volume and a larger sub-woofer, at 3 inches. It still has a 0.8-inch tweeter like its predecessor. This should mean better sound (stronger bass, plus crisper mid and high tones).
Both the first and second generation Echo Plus devices let you adjust the treble and bass with your voice. They also both have a 3.5 mm audio output jack, which allows you to connect a more powerful speaker to your Plus.
The Echo Plus 1st gen looks a lot like the original Echo. It is cylindrical, 9.2 inches tall, and 3.3 inches in diameter. It has the same blue ring encircling the top, and also has a volume dial around the top rim. It has two buttons on the top — an action button and a microphone off button. It has a hard plastic surface that comes in black, white, or silver. The 1st gen Echo Plus isn’t the sexiest of devices, but it’s not the “hide it in the corner because it’s so horribly ugly” type of device either. It’s probably somewhere in the middle.
The Echo Plus 2nd gen is sexy. It’s shorter and wider than its predecessor, at less than 6 inches tall and around 4 inches wide. It looks more like a Sonos One speaker. You can’t really tell on first glance that it’s a smart home speaker, given the fabric surface on its exterior. It still has the same blue ring, and it has four buttons on top: volume up, volume down, action button, and mic off button. The Plus 2nd gen comes in heather grey, charcoal, or sandstone.
Echo Plus has the same Alexa features as the other newer Echo devices.
The big standout difference between the Echo Plus and other Echo devices is the built-in smart home hub. This allows you to set up your smart home easily and efficiently, without having to purchase an extra hub. Setting up compatible smart home devices is so simple, you just say “Alexa, discover my devices,” and the Echo Plus will automatically find and set up your tech.
If you use a standalone Echo (non-Plus), you’ll be able to use Alexa skills to perform some basic functions on your compatible smart devices. But, Echo Plus lets you do a lot more. You could set up your home theater to watch a movie in one step by having lights dim, the music turn off, and the TV turn on with one command, for instance. Both the first generation and second generation Echo Plus units have this capability, given the addition of the built-in Zigabee Hub.
Unlike the first generation Echo Plus, the second generation Plus has a temperature sensor. This allows for more advanced commands related to the temperature in your home. For instance, you could have the thermostat on fan turn on when the temperature reaches 75 degrees.
The new Echo Plus and Echo Show also support Alexa’s new local voice control feature. If your internet goes out, local voice control makes it so you can still use your voice to control your lights, plugs, and switches.
The second generation Echo Plus retails for $150. The first generation Echo Plus also retailed for $150 originally, but the price has dropped down to $100 on Amazon as of late. You can buy a refurbished Echo Plus 1st gen for around $80 on Amazon.