Top positive review
Great Device with Impressive Audio
October 16, 2018
Short & Sweet - For what it is, this device is amazing. Performance is quick, audio is great, and the built-in Zigbee hub works quite well.
After dragging my heels for over a year, I finally bought our first Echo (2nd Generation) back in August. I loved it so much that I got us 2 more for other areas in the house. Being able to group them and play the same music or audio throughout the house is a novelty that won't grow old for me. I've only wished that they had a little more full sound, especially at higher volume. I'd considered the last Echo Plus, but the average of reviews I read didn't make it appear to perform significantly better than our already great 2nd Generation Echos.
When I saw this new Echo Plus listed, I pre-ordered it to "replace" the Heather Grey Echo in our kitchen and move that one to our bedroom. We tend to have music playing in the kitchen more than any other room, and I wanted slightly better sound than the regular Echo in there. I'm honestly glad we took a chance on this device without any reviews to go by.
As you can see in the photos, it's pretty much identical in height to the 2nd Generation Echo. It is a bit wider to accommodate the larger speakers, and the top is slightly domed instead of being flat. A similar 7-microphone array is on top and they seem to work just as well. There also appears to be a tripod-style connector on the base of the unit.
Setup was surprisingly easy as this Echo Plus detected our network settings on its own. I plugged it in, it did its initial startup, and then told me the device was connected. Simple as that.
Audio compared to 2nd Generation Echo;
Highs are clearer.
Mids are more natural and better-defined.
Lows are deeper.
Overall volume is noticeably louder and sound quality is improved.
When paired with our other Echos, music and audio is in sync everywhere and this device stands out above the others in audio performance.
We have a quick network and I don't notice any perceivable performance difference between this new Echo Plus and our regular 2nd Generation Echos. Everything seems to work as it should.
I bought this with the "free" Philips Hue bulb promotion. This bulb is our first Zigbee device and works very well with the Echo Plus. It is easily controlled by either the Echo Plus or the other Echos we have in the house. I'll be keeping an eye out for deals on these bulbs in the future. Like our other Echos, it also has no problem controlling our Kasa Smart Plugs.
While $150 is a lot for a single speaker, for what I was looking for, this thing excels. If you like the 2nd Generation Echo but hoped it sounded a bit better, I would highly recommend this. Based on what I've read, if you were disappointed with the audio performance with the 1st Generation Echo Plus but want everything else it had to offer, consider giving this wonderful speaker a try.
P.S.: The internal ambient temperature sensor seems fairly accurate and nice to have included.