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Amazon Echo Plus adds in Zigbee support

With a Zigbee radio in addition to its Alexa voice control smarts, the Amazon Echo Plus wants to quarterback your connected home.

Ryan_Crist2.jpg
Ryan_Crist2.jpg
Ry Crist
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.
Ry Crist
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The Amazon Echo Plus is the online retail giant's newest Alexa speaker -- scroll through for a quick look at what's new.

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Similar design

The first thing you'll notice is that, aside from the new silver color, the Echo Plus looks almost identical to the original Echo.

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Three colors

The Echo Plus is also available in white or black, just like the original.

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Volume ring

Another similarity to the original -- the Echo Plus kept the beloved volume ring. It's now the only Echo device currently on sale that offers it.

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Aux-out jack

Unlike the original, the Echo Plus features an aux-out jack in the back.

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Hook it up

You can plug a 3.5mm cable into that jack to connect the Echo Plus with your existing speaker setup. You can also pair wirelessly using Bluetooth.

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Improved hardware

The Echo Plus offers a very slight improvement in sound quality over the original Echo, and also features Amazon's second-gen far-field microphone array. That means it does a little bit better at hearing the wake word from a distance.

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Zigbee

The big, new feature with the Plus is that it features a built-in Zigbee radio. With Zigbee, the Echo Plus can communicate directly with Zigbee smart home gadgets, including the entire Philips Hue product line.

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Updated Alexa app

You can now control all compatible smart home devices right from the Alexa app. It even features device-specific pairing instructions, making it easy to get started.

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Worth it?

The Amazon Echo Plus costs $150, making it $50 more than the standard, second-gen Echo, which shares many of its strengths. So, is the Plus version worth it? Check out our full review of the Echo Plus for the final verdict.

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