Amazon's Echo Hub Is a Touchscreen Control Panel for Your Alexa Smart Home
The 8-inch touchscreen panel wants to quarterback your connected home with support for Matter, Thread, Zigbee and more, plus a new Map View mode.
Ry CristSenior Editor / Reviews - Labs
Originally hailing from Troy, Ohio, Ry Crist is a writer, a text-based adventure connoisseur, a lover of terrible movies and an enthusiastic yet mediocre cook. A CNET editor since 2013, Ry's beats include smart home tech, lighting, appliances, broadband and home networking.
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10 years product testing experience with the CNET Home team
Amazon on Wednesday trotted out another Alexa-enabled touchscreen at its yearly September showcase for new hardware and services, and it's intended to serve as a dedicated centerpiece for your smart home. Dubbed the Echo Hub, it's an 8-inch, wall-mountable touchscreen that strips out a lot of the bells and whistles of the larger, fancier-looking Echo Show 15 in order to zero in on smart home controls. It's set to arrive later this year at a price of $180.
The Echo Hub features built-in radios for Matter, Thread, Zigbee, Bluetooth Low Energy, and Amazon Sidewalk, the long-range, low-power protocol Amazon uses to connect with devices far beyond the usual reaches of the smart home. That'll allow it to connect with pretty much anything that works with Alexa -- once everything's in sync, you'll be able to view and control your gadgets with a few taps or with a quick Alexa command, or access your Alexa routines. There are no cameras built in, but the device uses infrared sensors to detect when you're nearby. When you aren't and the device isn't in use, it'll automatically switch into an ambient mode capable of displaying the time and the day's weather forecast or your favorite family photos.
Other interesting features include the ability to view multiple camera feeds at once on the display, as well as a new Map View mode that lets you plot out the location of your various smart home gadgets on a floorplan view of your home that you'll create and share with Amazon. The company pitches it as an improvement over searching through a long list of connected home gadgets for the right light or camera, and adds that users are able to delete their floorplans at any time. Amazon says that the feature will come to the Alexa app later this year, and to the Echo Hub in early 2024.
Echo Hub users will be able to mount the touchscreen on the wall or stand it up on a tabletop, and they'll be able to power it over Ethernet as a PoE device, as well. We'll keep an eye out for its arrival in the coming months, and let you know if it does enough to distinguish itself from other smart displays, including the new Echo Show 8, which isn't wall-mountable but adds in a camera for video calls and costs less at $150.