5. Echo Plus – 2nd Gen Review
+ Pros: Great sound, Great bass, Alexa feature, Zigbee hub built-in
– Cons: Not greatly improved compared to Echo, no battery, no USB charging, no bluetooth streaming connectivity.
When it comes to smart speakers, you think of Amazon’s Echo products. In terms of sound, the speakers have been good enough, with the focus always being on the many features it brings and not exactly sound performance.
So the Echo Plus – 2nd Gen is more powerful than the Echo, offering the Zigbee home automation hub, a temperature sensor, and much better looks.
The top of the speaker comes with the same Alexa, mic mute, and volume up/down buttons, the light ring that glows blue when it is listening to your command and pulsing when Alexa answers.
You can turn Echo Plus – 2nd Gen into a portable speaker by getting the Portable Battery Base. The improved Echo Plus is bigger and offers better sound and more features than the standard Echo.
Although the sound doesn’t exactly fill an entire room, it is easily making itself heard. Those willing to take advantage of all the smart features of a speaker would definitely choose the Echo Plus – 2nd Gen over the speakers on our list.
Specs and Features
- Zigbee hub
- Dolby play 360° audio
- Bluetooth Connectivity: Advanced Audio Distribution Profile
- 30.0 watts of power
- Batteries: Portable Battery Base (not included) or Wired
- Product Dimensions: 14.8 x 9.9 x 9.9 cm; 780 grams
Conclusion: Adding the Echo Plus 2nd Gen to this list was a bit of a stretch, but I really wanted to try it out. The sound quality is genuinely good, and if this list was ranked purely on sound, it would be top 3. However, there is no battery, so it is not inherently portable. An addition can be purchased, but even then, it only lasts for 5 hours which is almost 2x less than competitors. The largest problem, however, is that it requires an internet connection… so if you are in the woods, you can’t just stream music off your phone. It’s really a different product with a different purpose altogether, and probably doesn’t belong on this list. Take it’s ranking on this list with a grain of salt.