The Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Gen) came in a plain box with all the features clearly visible on the box with the Amazon logo on the box.  Alexa is listed on the packaging which is the key to using the many features on the kit. The Far-field Voice control stood out on the kit. The Echo plus was a  wide cylinder with cloth fabric, This unit came in white colour but available black or grey,. The Echo plus does not look out of place in any room in a house.  The buttons are visible on the top of the unit to manual adjust setting while these are not used much due to the hand’s freespeaker, the 7 dots/holes on the top of the unit are 7 separate microphones. The bottom has a screw socket to allow the speaker to be placed on a tripod stand.

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Contents:

  • Echo Plus,
  • Power adaptor (30W)
  • Quick Start Guide
  •  

Tech spec:

  • Product Description        Amazon Echo Plus – 2nd Generation – smart speaker
  • Product Type     Smart speaker
  • Features              7 microphones array
  • Localisation         United Kingdom
  • Speaker Type     2-way – active
  • Interfaces           Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
  • Intelligent Assistant Compatible Alexa
  • Streaming Services          Spotify, TuneIn, Amazon Music, Audible
  • Speaker Details Speaker – mono – 2-way – active
  • Colour   Heather grey
  • Dimensions (WxDxH)     9.9 cm x 9.9 cm x 14.8 cm
  • Weight 780 g
  • Manufacturer Warranty 1-year warranty

 

Features:

  • Voice control your music
  • Hands-free calling and messaging
  • Far-field voice recognition
  • Alexa has skills, asking details, control your smart TV,.

 

Setup:

The setup was standard, plug in the Echo device wait for the blue ring which covers the top of the cylinder around 45 seconds. Then the unit is paired with the wifi / smartphone easily and quickly.

Amazon Alexa app:

The Amazon Alexa App is setup using your Amazon account, ( similar to Google Gmail account for Android) The allows personalized feature, including stop-start a resume from previous actions. the app allows control of Alexa-enabled devices, eg smart lights, locks and thermostats at home. The app connected allowed to connect to music services Amazon Music, Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, and iHeartRadio.

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Once set up,

Alexa was able to play music, read the news, check weather forecasts, Set alarm to get up, or use as an egg timer, control compatible smart home devices, call anyone with an Echo device, the Alexa App or Skype,. The voice control allows you to ask for any song, artist, or genre from Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, SiriusXM, and more, and play music across compatible Echo devices across your home. The option is also available for  Audible, podcasts, radio stations, and more.

Note, The Amazon marketing has got their act together on the physical unit as the unit had no visible mention of Amazon on the unit, but if you ask to play music on the unit. The unit asks to subscribe to Amazon music.

Caution when asking for details of any products for units, Alexa requests “do you want to put it in your basket,”

Smart home experience:

The Echo Plus has a built-in Zigbee hub. The Zigbee is a protocol that talks to smart home devices, allowing connectivity to the  Internet of Things into the Smart Home – connecting and controlling them. A common language ensuring if you have a compatible Zigbee device this should work with the echo plus. ( there are many other protocols compatible with other products e.g. Z-Wave )  Once connected to other products Alexa can control these e.g. turn off the lights etc.

Conclusion:

The setup can be annoying as connected via your Amazon account, the use of the speaker had an annoying habit of asking when searching for a  product, do you want to add this to your basket. This has the potential of accidentally ordering a product. The Echo is always listening pending the Alexa keyword similar to the other voice assistance on your smartphone. The Echo Plus looks and felt friendly with the voice assistant, ( albeit a few variations on the keywords as picked up from different accents  )  the Far-field voice recognition works great, Alexa keyword was spoken across a room and acknowledged with the blue ring of light picking up the command.

The seven microphones, beam-forming technology and noise cancellation worked from any direction even when the music was playing from the unit.  The features of playing a game, e.g. Song quiz is great allowing various decades of music to be chosen with the option to repeat the question which was a real hit with friends. Changing the volumes is a pleasure, asking to increase/decrease volume or requesting volume between 1 and 10, i.e. Alexa set volume to 4 keep the same settings as required. The sound and the base was great with full surround speakers built  in throughout the Echo Plus,

The Echo plus or smart home technology is not going away getting better as time goes on with more products compatible with the products. When looking to purchase any new smart technology, Bulbs. Light switches, etc  it’s worth checking the compatibility eg checking if a compatible zigbee smart home devices. The Amazon Echo Plus 2nd Gen worked great as a hands-freespeaker build in hub allowing control of smart home devices, a pleasure to use.

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/All-new-Echo-Plus-2nd-built/dp/B07952VB6P

Available widely in Ireland

Written by brendanlahert

20 years’ experience in the commercial technical industry. Interested in technology. Certified ITIL v3 Service Management, Project Management Prince 2, Six Sigma.