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Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Gen) Review

There’s a new Amazon smart home device in town; the Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Gen) has landed, billed as having better sound, brand new Alexa Skills and a whole new look, thanks to a fabric finish.

Being gadget-mad here at Future Home Shop, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on one, and we’ve spent the past few days getting to grips with our brand new toy. All it took was us to say “Alexa, discover my devices” and we were off, syncing the new Echo Plus with our existing smart home tech so we could see its features in full flow.

Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Gen) Spec

First up, we were pleased to see the Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Gen) was easy to set up, because we’re all about smart home tech being simple at Future Home Shop.

It’s also clear from the new device that smart home tech is here to stay - we’re obviously very glad to see this! - as the Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Gen) has a fabric finish, making it look much more like part of the furniture than a standalone piece of tech, which we think is a lovely touch.

In-Built Smart Home Hub

The device has an in-built Zigbee hub, from where you can control all your compatible smart home devices, managing your smart lighting, home security and any other gadgets that you’re able to manage via Alexa.

New Dolby Speakers

There are new premium speakers powered by Dolby, to play 360-degree audio, which we’ve found to be a welcome addition for listening to our Alexa-streamed music so far.

These pimped-up speakers are great for listening to calls via the new Amazon Echo Plus too - yes, we’ve spent the weekend ringing everyone we know who’s got the Alexa app or an Echo of their own to test it out. We’re looking forward to being able to talk to people via Skype through the Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Gen) too - Skype says this feature is coming soon.

Alexa can now hear you speak from any direction even while music is playing, thanks to the gadget’s seven microphones and in-built noise cancellation technology - it's definitely nice not having to turn your music down every time you want to speak.

Amazon Echo Plus (1st Gen) vs Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Gen)

Model
Design
Features
Sound
Amazon Echo Plus 1st Gen
Metallic finish. Choice of black or white.
Access to the latest Amazon Alexa Skills, noise cancellation technology, smart device connectivity and the ability to communicate with other Echo devices or anyone with the Alexa app.
2.5-inch woofer, 0.8-inch tweeter. 360-degree Dolby speakers and 7 microphones for better sound quality and easier communication.
Amazon Echo Plus 2nd Gen
Softer, fabric finish, available in grey for the first time, as well as black and white.
All the same features as the 1st Gen model, plus an in-built smart temperature sensor.
Even clearer sound thanks to a 3-inch woofer, alongside the 0.8-inch tweeter.
 

The Future Home Shop Verdict

We like it! The sound is noticeably better than with the previous Amazon Echo Plus, so it’s a good little gadget for music lovers. It’s also great for anyone who wants to enjoy a smarter home, as it couldn’t be easier to sync all your compatible smart home gadgets with this new smart home assistant.

The addition of a smart temperature sensor means you don’t need to buy this separately and it’s good timing that this has been released ahead of winter, when it’s hard to know what to wear for the day as you’re getting dressed in the dark and that winter sun can be deceiving.

It would have been nice if we could have had Skype call functionality straight away, but we can wait and it means we can enjoy playing with all the other new features in the meantime.

We like the softer new look too; it’s still incredibly sleek, but it does fit into a home a little nicer.

Overall, we’re going to give it 8/10.

Find Amazon Alexa-compatible smart home tech here.