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Christmas Gift Guide

Similar design

Three colors

Volume ring

Aux-out jack

Hook it up

Improved hardware

Zigbee

Updated Alexa app

Worth it?

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

Caption by / Photo by Chris Monroe/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Chris Monroe/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Ry Crist/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Chris Monroe/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Chris Monroe/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Chris Monroe/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Chris Monroe/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Ry Crist/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Ry Crist/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Chris Monroe/CNET
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