Amazon Echo Plus vs Echo 2: What’s new with the two updated Alexa speakers from Google?
At a secret event at its Seattle HQ, Amazon has just launched a whole bunch of new Alexa-equipped smart goodies. And considering the original Amazon Echo has been out for a number of years now, the time is right for a replacement.
But instead of a single device, Amazon gave us two. There’s the Amazon Echo 2 and a slightly souped up Plus version. But what’s the difference? Let’s have a look and see.
Amazon Echo vs Echo Plus design: Which is better looking?
The original Echo looked like a futuristic device from a space-station; with its black or white exterior, glowing blue LED ring on the top and series of speaker holes. It was a good-looking device, but it wasn’t for those who wanted it to blend into their homes.
That’s all changed with the Echo 2. It’s now shorter, squatter and generally much smaller than before. It also looks like it’ll blend into your home more, thanks to a bunch of new colour options. The stark white option has disappeared completely, replaced by a few of fabric and wood finishes.
‘Charcoal Fabric’ is the subtlest of the bunch, with ‘Heather Gray Fabric’ and ‘Sandstone Fabric’ offering lighter options. There’s a very 80s looking Silver finish, plus two modern wooden options too. The new Echo 2 looks heaps better, and it’s great to see a number of finishes that hopefully suit your home better. The Echo 2 does lose the volume control ring from the top, it has replaced it with buttons, but the pulsating blue ring is still there.
The Echo Plus, on the other hand, looks a lot more familiar. It’s taller than both the original Echo and the Echo 2, and still comes in those black and white colour schemes. If you want something a bit different, it’s available in a shiny metallic silver too. The Echo Plus also keeps the volume ring around the top.
Amazon Echo Plus vs Echo 2 specs and features: What’s the difference?
It’s fair to say that while the original Echo was a great product, it seriously lacked good audio quality. And considering how much the device was pushed as a speaker, it was a big downfall.
Amazon clearly has taken this onboard, because both the Echo 2 and Echo Plus have made big gains in the audio department. First off both of them now have audio tuned by Dolby. The smaller Echo 2 has a new 2.5-inch down-firing subwoofer and an upward-firing 0.6-inch tweeter, while the Echo Plus improves on that with a larger 0.8-inch tweeter.
The Echo Plus is also capable of 360-degree audio and Amazon is pushing the improved bass and crisper vocals in both units. We’ll of course have to try them both out for ourselves to see just how much better they sound.
Both the Echo 2 and Echo Plus also feature the same far-field selection of seven microphones and enhanced noise-cancellation so you can shout at Alexa from across the room and she’ll still hear you.
The biggest reason for plumping for the Plus model seems to be for the greater smart-home support. While the Echo 2 can control your Hue bulbs and so on, the Plus can act as a smart-home hub and easily set everything up by just asking it. You’ll also get a free Hue bulb with the Plus, to give you that smart-home kickstart. Both new Echo devices, of course, have support for the huge amount of Alexa skills and both support the voice calling features.
Amazon Echo Plus vs Echo 2 price: How much do they cost?
The new Echo 2 has been priced at £89.99/$99.99, with the Echo on sale for £139.99/$139.99. With the Plus model you do get a Philips Hue bulb in the package, which would usually cost around £14.99.