Amazon Echo Plus stays $150 but gets clearer sound, temperature sensor
The higher-end Echo smart speaker will also have a more powerful bass.
Joan E. SolsmanFormer Senior Reporter
Joan E. Solsman was CNET's senior media reporter, covering the intersection of entertainment and technology. She's reported from locations spanning from Disneyland to Serbian refugee camps, and she previously wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. She bikes to get almost everywhere and has been doored only once.
ExpertiseStreaming video, film, television and music; virtual, augmented and mixed reality; deep fakes and synthetic media; content moderation and misinformation onlineCredentials
Three Folio Eddie award wins: 2018 science & technology writing (Cartoon bunnies are hacking your brain), 2021 analysis (Deepfakes' election threat isn't what you'd think) and 2022 culture article (Apple's CODA Takes You Into an Inner World of Sign)
Ben Fox Rubin was a senior reporter for CNET News in Manhattan, reporting on Amazon, e-commerce and mobile payments. He previously worked as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal and got his start at newspapers in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Amazon unveiled a new Echo Plus, an updated speaker with more powerful bass and clearer sound that still works as a smart home hub. The updated device adds a larger, 3-inch neodymium woofer and increased back volume, giving the bass a stronger feel and providing clearer mid- and high tones.
The $150 (£140, AU$229) device, which has a new fabric design and temperature sensor, was unveiled at an event on Thursday in Seattle where the e-commerce giant said it was launching the largest number of devices and features it ever has at one time.
The integrated temperature sensor allows users to set up actions based on how hot or cool a room is. So if your bedroom hits 77 degrees, Alexa can send a notification to your phone and automatically turn on the fan. The Plus also comes with an equalizer feature; you can use your voice to adjust the bass and treble to customize your listening experience.
Amazon is giving the Echo Plus a new capability called Local Voice Control. It provides compressed Alexa controls locally in each device, so the assistant will still be able to turn the lights off even if your internet connection is down.
Preorders for the Echo Plus -- which comes in charcoal, heather gray, and sandstone -- start Thursday. The device will begin shipping next month in all countries where the Echo is available.
Watch this: Amazon unveils a slew of Alexa gadgets for the smart home
After Amazon launched the original Echo in 2014, the device became a hit for the company and helped usher in a new era of voice computing. Amazon updated the Echo last September and cut the price to $100 from $180. The device is shorter, with a more elegant design. And it introduced the $150 Echo Plus, which uses the original Echo's taller design but features improved audio and includes a built-in hub to make it easier to connect to smart-home gadgets.
have been racing to improve their own voice assistants and integrate them into more devices to catch
. To stay one step ahead, Amazon aggressively expanded its line of Echo devices, pushed Alexa into hospitality and office spaces, and integrated Alexa with over 20,000 kinds of devices.