I love my Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, and FABRIQ Speakers with Amazon Echo built in. Now Amazon has gone to town with not one, not two, but a host of new products that expand the Echo lineup. They look great, cover a lot of ground and I can’t wait to get my hands on a few of them.
First up there is the all new Amazon Echo. This is the 2nd Generation Echo. It has a new look and a new price. The 2nd Generation echo is shorter than the Echo it replaces and it comes in six different styles. That means you can fit the Echo with your room’s decor or, if you prefer, let it fade into the background.
There’s an Echo in Heather Gray Fabric. There’s one in Charcoal Gray Fabric. There’s one with an Oak Finish. There’s one with Sandstone Fabric. There’s one with a shiny Silver Finish. And there’s one with a Walnut Finish.
The new Echo has seven microphones so it should hear you as well or better than the original.
Inside there is 2.5” downward-firing woofer and 0.6” tweeter powered by Dolby. That means the new Echo should deliver crisp vocals and dynamic bass. And, as you would expect, you can play music from Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and more.
And, as you would also expect, the multi-room functionality Amazon recently introduced, is also enabled so you can get music anywhere in the house that there is an Echo device.
The new Echo starts at just $99.99 with the wood and metallic finishes costing a bit more at $119.99. Check it out here.
Next up is the new Echo Plus. It looks like the original echo and comes in your choice of silver, black or white.
Like the new Echo, the Echo Plus has a 2.5” downward-firing woofer and 0.8” tweeter powered by Dolby. What sets the echo Plus apart, and justifies the jump to an MSRP of $149.99 is the built in hub. As Amazon explains:
Echo Plus has a built-in hub that seamlessly connects and controls compatible smart devices such as light bulbs, door locks, switches, and plugs. Setting up new smart home devices with Alexa is easy. Just say “Alexa, discover my devices” and Echo Plus will discover and set up compatible smart home devices.
Switch on the lamp before getting out of bed or turn on the coffee maker without lifting a finger. Control multiple devices at scheduled times or with a single voice command, like locking the doors and turning off the lights when you go to bed. Simple setup works with a variety of ZigBee lights, locks, and plugs from leading brands such as Philips Hue, GE, Kwikset, and more.
The ability to get rid of some of the hubs that are now connected to my router makes the Echo Plus is pretty attractive option when I am in the market for a new Echo device.
Finally, there is the all new Echo Spot. It comes in black or white and serves as both a bedside alarm clock and a smaller, less powerful but less costly Echo Show. At $129.99 it is a bit more than the new echo but, thanks to the small screen, the price bump of $30.
As Amazon explains:
Echo Spot brings you everything you love about Alexa, in an all-new stylish and compact design that can show you things. Just ask to see the weather, get the news with a video flash briefing, set an alarm, see lyrics with Amazon Music, see your calendar, browse and listen to Audible audiobooks, and more. Personalize your Spot with a collection of clock faces to suit your style or set a photo background from Prime Photos. Plus, make calls to friends and family or make video calls to anyone with an Echo Spot, Echo Show, or the Alexa App.
Echo Spot features 2nd generation far-field technology with four microphones, beamforming technology, and enhanced noise cancellation, so it can hear you from across the room—even while music is playing. If you have more than one Echo, Alexa responds intelligently from the Echo you’re closest to with ESP (Echo Spatial Perception).
Echo Spot is small and compact, and fits easily into any room of your home. The compact size and viewing angle of the screen make Echo Spot ideal for use on a nightstand or desk as a smart alarm clock that can also turn your lights on and off, show your commute time, get the weather, or show your calendar. Or use Spot in the kitchen to easily set and see timers, call friends and family, see shopping and to do lists, and more.
Echo Spot can connect directly to speakers using a 3.5 mm stereo cable or Bluetooth to add voice control to your home stereo system in the living room or den.
I love the fact that it can be used as a simple bedside clock…
…Or as the source for video news briefs…
… Or as a lyric delivery system as it streams music from the cloud…
… Or as a smartphone controller…
… Or as a video chat device.
No, the screen isn’t that large. And no, the speaker in it is likely to be mediocre. But it HAS a screen and you can connect the Echo Spot to a decent speaker via a 3.5mm cable or Bluetooth. That’s what I do with my Echo Dots and it works well.
At $129.99 it is a great place to start building an Amazon Echo ecosystem. Check it out here.