Echo Plus with built-in Smart Home Hub - White
|List Price:||CDN$ 199.99|
|Price:||CDN$ 169.99 & FREE Shipping. Details|
|You Save:||CDN$ 30.00 (15%)|
- Echo Plus connects to Alexa—a cloud-based voice service—to play music, make calls, set timers and alarms, ask questions, check traffic and weather, and more—instantly. With the built-in hub you can directly set up and control your smart home devices.
- Echo Plus is a simple way to start your smart home. Alexa can control your compatible smart lights, thermostats, locks, and more. With the built-in ZigBee hub, you can directly set up devices from Philips Hue, GE, and others without the need for a separate hub. Just ask Alexa to discover your connected devices.
- Just ask for a song, artist, or genre from Amazon Music, Spotify, Radioplayer, and more. With multi-room music, you can play music on compatible Echo devices in different rooms.
- Call or message almost anyone hands-free with your Echo device. Also, instantly connect to other Echo devices in your home using just your voice.
- Improved speakers with Dolby processing deliver crisp vocals and extended bass to fill the room with immersive, 360° audio
- With seven microphones, beamforming technology, and noise cancellation, Echo hears you from any direction—even while music is playing
- Alexa is always getting smarter and adding new features and skills. Just ask Alexa to control your TV, check flight status, and more.
- Alexa Voice Service is currently only available in English (French language not supported)
Tucked under the light ring is an array of seven microphones that use beamforming technology and enhanced noise cancellation. When you want to use Echo Plus, simply say the wake word, “Alexa,” and Echo Plus lights up and connects to the cloud, where the Alexa Voice Service recognizes and responds to your request instantly. Learn more about voice recognition on Echo.
Alexa is always getting smarter—the more you use Echo, the more Alexa adapts to your speech patterns, vocabulary, and personal preferences. And because Echo is always connected, updates are delivered automatically.
Compare Echo devices
|Price||CDN$ 54.99||CDN$ 129.99||CDN$ 199.99 CDN$ 169.99||CDN$ 169.99|
|Overview||Add Alexa to any room||Room filling sound in a choice of three colors||Includes a built-in smart home hub||Stylish and compact Echo with a screen|
|Speaker and Screen size||15 mm speaker||63.5 mm woofer and 16 mm tweeter||63.5 mm woofer and 20 mm tweeter||35.6 mm speaker and 2.5" screen|
|Dual speakers with room-filling sound, powered by Dolby|
|Play video from Amazon Video|
|Built-in hub for simple setup of compatible smart home devices|
|Streaming Wi-fi music|
|Line-out with 3.5 mm cable or Bluetooth|
|Free audio calls to Canada, US, and Mexico|
|Control smart home devices|
|Device size (actual size and weight may vary)||32 mm x 84 mm x 84 mm, 163 grams||148 mm x 88 mm x 88 mm, 821 grams||235 mm x 84 mm x 84 mm, 954 grams||104 mm x 97 mm x 91 mm, 419 grams|
235 mm x 84 mm x 84 mm
954 grams Actual size and weight may vary by manufacturing process
Dual-band Wi-Fi supports 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 and 5 GHz) networks. Does not support connecting to ad-hoc (or peer-to-peer) Wi-Fi networks.
Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) support for audio streaming from your mobile device to Echo or from Echo to your Bluetooth speaker. Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP) for voice control of connected mobile devices. Hands-free voice control is not supported for Mac OS X devices. Bluetooth speakers requiring PIN codes are not supported.
63.5 mm woofer and 20 mm tweeter
The Alexa App is compatible with Android and iOS devices.
Warranty and Service
1-year limited warranty and service included. Optional 1-year, 2-year, and 3-year extended warranty available for Canada customers sold separately. Use of Echo Plus is subject to the terms found here.
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Purchased the Echo Plus because I decided to get into the Philips Hue ecosystem, and saw that the Plus came with a free bulb. However, what they don't tell you, is that the hub built into the Echo Plus can currently only control power and dimming. If you purchase any Hue bulbs that do colour, or different temperatures of white, the Echo cannot directly control any of this - you will still require one of the Hue bridges, which negates the point of the built in smart home hub, in this case. If I'd been aware of this, I probably would have stuck with the regular Echo and just gotten the Hue bridge - now I have both.
The options for music in Canada are also severely limited right now. You have the option of Amazon's streaming music service, which seems to still have limited selection (I've asked it to "play drum and bass music" several times, and heard the same few songs on many occasions), or Spotify. That's it. No Sirius/XM. No hooks into your computer library through something like iTunes. It also seems to constantly stop playing music after a handful of songs with no explanation, despite having a robust internet connection and home network.
"Skills" selection in general is still pretty limited. A couple of Canadian banks have Alexa functionality, but several major ones still don't. You can get news and weather updates. Aside from that, and the various other smart home device skills Alexa supports, there's not much of interest yet. I assume this will improve, as companies migrate stuff over for Canada.
Alexa is good at recognizing what you are saying without much fuss. Only had a straight up failure a few times. I can raise my voice from another floor of my home, and Alexa will still recognize what I am saying. Voice recognition while there's lots of background noise is spotty, but better than you might expect.
The "routines" you can create are extremely useful. I can simply say "Alexa, good night" to turn off all of the lights in my home, and turn on the light next to my bed. Pretty much anything Alexa can do, can be put into a routine.
This review might makes me sound negative on the Echo overall, but I'm not. It's a great convenience, and a neat piece of tech. I'm hopeful that it will be even better, once the Canadian version catches up to it's American cohort. But it's important to have your eyes wide open, as to what this device can - and can't - do. Particularly if you're buying the Echo Plus for the "hub". Hence the three star review, for now.
- Web interface does not have the same settings as the android app. For instance Routines is missing from Web application, this is in my opinion a big negative, the interface features should be the same for both.
- Scheduled routines only run 90% of the time: I have a winter grow light setup for tomatoes and peppers and use the scheduled routines to turn on and off my devices. Sometimes the routine will run, and other times it wont (most of the time the issue is it doesn't turn on my grow lights and pump).
Although if I run the routine manually it runs fine, -- the schedule doesn't always run in an automated fashion. This is a big negative, since I now have a very expensive timer that doesn't work properly.
- Another negative is that the AI often has problems with voice commands; it doesn't matter how clearly you say "Alexa turn on entrance light" she will often come back and say "there are a few things that share that name" and you have to tell her "entrance light" (I have computer light and entrance light only).
- The weather forecast feature is generally not all that helpful. I sometimes want to know what the weather will be like for tomorrow, and Alexa does a good job to provide forecast that identifies the lows, high and precipitation/conditions for my area. However when she says it will snow or rain all day, she should tell me how many centimeters of snow or rain is foretasted.
This is completely embarrassing as she knows my location, so there's no reason it can't provide that information. Instead you have to add a 3rd party skill to have this information available (then, you have to open skill, blah, blah, blah).
- There's also the Alexa "ghost" in my house issue. Sometimes (totally random times) we will be in the kitchen and the echo dot will resume some music "all by itself" in the living room or bedroom - very spooky and frustrating at the same time.
- Requires Spotify Premium : This is a really big deal!
Keep in mind that you can't use non-premium Spotilfy account to play music with Alexa.
You can play Tune-in, i-heart, Amazon music (which is very limited), and Spotify premium; BUT why should I pay for better quality? The Echo Plus and dot speakers really don't make the higher bitrate any more enjoyable. The sound quality of the plus is okay; but I definitely shouldn't have to subscribe to something that I use normally for free.
Games: this is where this thing shines, there are definitely a lot of fun games you can play to entertain.
Directions: If you want an AI that provides directions, then purchase the competitor with a big G. Granted this is not what we purchased it for, but not having to Google directions on my PC or phone would be nice.
General questions like: who played in this movie, or what does this mean is generally very good as Alexa uses wiki's and other sites to get the information you need. It has happened a few times where my friends or family have a discussion and ask Alexa to look it up - it is very good for that.
In summary, this device is borderline "okay" for its price. I suspect a lot of these quirks will eventually be resolved or ameliorated, but for now I would say buyer beware. There are still a long way from having something that "consistently" provides automation.
I really hope this review isn't too negative; this is generally a good device.