Testers Keepers wanted a product tester to review the new Amazon Echo (2nd Generation). This review is from Richard Bradbury.
The new Echo Plus is slightly shorter but fatter and has a more rounded look than its predecessor.
Due to its new fabric material covering (charcoal, heather grey or sandstone), it looks like a much more elegant device than the original slightly plastic looking Echo. It doesn’t look out of place anywhere it is placed within the home.
The Echo Plus has a power socket near the base of its casing, so you would need to place your device quite near a plug socket to power it. There is also an audio input to use the Echo Plus as a speaker if you wished to play music from another device. However it is also possible to Bluetooth your media to the Echo Plus if you wanted to.
Setting up the Echo Plus was extremely simple; it was just a case of either installing the app on your phone or logging in on your computer and selecting your new device.
The process took about ten minutes in total and after updating its firmware ‘Alexa’, it was up and running and ready for its instructions.
Once set up, the kids had a whale of a time asking for ‘the longest word in the dictionary’ to ‘tell us a joke’, ‘are you an alien?’, ‘do unicorns exist?’, ‘play that baby shark song’ (again!!)
Pretty much the usual run of the mill stuff that you would ask anyone who claimed to know all the answers; however I wouldn’t say Alexa was able to answer every question thrown at her.
Even during the excitement and hilarious laughing, the microphones in the device picked up every request, there was no need to raise your voice to get her attention, even in a busy room with a radio or television playing, there was no problem in Alexa understanding what was asked.
The speakers on this new Echo Plus are an improvement on the first generation and the sound quality has noticeably improved, however the placement of the device will always contribute to the audio quality.
The sound is of a good quality and does an admirable job of playing your tunes. I would presume that people who rely on their phones/MP3 players/iTunes for a full on music experience or parties would have a decent sound system anyway, but saying that, the Echo Plus can keep a decent volume above the hubbub of a lively get together without distorting.
The audio experience can be enhanced by pairing another speaker and also adding a sub speaker to beef up your sound if required.
All in all the new Echo Plus is a very good device; however the other previous versions of the Echo are also good devices. The new Echo allows you to connect intelligent light bulbs without a separate hub, but there is Wi-Fi bulbs available that allow you to do that too.
It also has a thermometer built into it so if your heating is also controlled remotely it can be used as a thermostat to turn on/turn off the heating. It is a good looking unit and doesn’t look out of place in the kitchen, living room or bedroom.
The new Amazon Echo Plus is £139.99, so is a lot of money for a machine that can answer questions and tell jokes to kids. However, it is a good quality device, easy to use, very simple to set up and good fun to have in the house.
I would recommend this device if you don’t have some sort of ‘assistant’ currently, or are just starting out into home automation, at least this device will be future proof for some time.