04 October 2018
Amazon's huge September 2018 launch event is over and what an event it was. The eCommerce giant took the platform to announce a plethora of products including a whole new line-up of Echo devices. This new lineup consists of Echo devices which are upgrades over existing models as well as newly introduced models.
Let's have a look at them one by one:
Amazon's 2018 Echo Dot is an improved version of the original model released a couple of years ago. It comes with a new curved design with a fabric finish available in Charcoal, Heather Gray, and Sandstone. The essential working of the device remains the same but it now boasts a larger 1.6-inch driver which is said to allow it offer 70% louder voice output. The audio is further said to be clearer as compared to the previous version. It has been priced at $49.99 with pre-orders currently live. It will start shipping sometime in October.
The new Echo Plus is here with a new design and improved sound. It also has a fabric-like finish with colors that are most likely to suit with one's interiors. It has Zigbee smart home hub protocol support to help you take control of your smart home devices directly from the Echo Plus. Amazon says it "will automatically discover and setup compatible lights, locks, sensors, plugs, switches, and more without the need for additional hubs or apps."
One the same lines of smart home support, it has temperature sensors which can automatically trigger preset Alexa routines on the basis of current room temperature. It has been released in Charcoal, Heather Gray, and Sandstone fabric finish for a price of $149.99. It is also available for preorders with shipping starting next month.
As the name suggests, the Echo Auto is the new device from Amazon to help you get access to Alexa even in your car or truck. It is a compact device which can be placed on a car's dashboard and connected with a smartphone. The audio output is offered through the car's native speaker system via 3.5mm headphone jack or Bluetooth. It comes with an eight-microphone array to capture your voice commands even when there's traffic noise, AC turned on or the music is playing in the car.
Once connected, it can be used to access Alexa and get things done as you do on any other Alexa-powered device. It is currently available only on an invitation basis for an introductory price of $24.99 as compared to the launch price of $49.99.
Amazon debuted the original Echo Show last year for those who wanted an Alexa device with a display. It did carve out a niche for itself and now, we have the second-generation Echo Show packed with improvements and new features. The new Echo Show offers a bigger 10-inch HD display which means more content without scrolling or zooming-in/out. It comes with an eight-microphone array which makes it better at listening to your voice. It further offers smart home hub functionality so that your smart home devices can be managed and controlled from a single device.
Other features include support for browsers like Firefox and Amazon's own Silk and Skype app for video calling functionality. The new Echo Show has been priced at $229.99 and like other Echo devices, it is up for preorders now and sales will kick off in October.
Amazon's Echo lineup of smart speakers is pretty impressive when it comes to accessing Alexa for all the 'smartness' factor. But if you are someone who loves his/her music, especially when it is about bass, those devices are not up to the mark. This is the reason Amazon has now launched the Echo Sub. It is a dedicated sub-woofer meant for Echo devices to deliver better bass while playing music. It can be connected to Echo devices in 1.1 or 2.1 pairing for a stereo sound experience. It does have an equalizer for adjusting the bass, treble, and mid-range as per one's taste and which can be accessed using voice commands. It has been priced at $129.99.
If you have a 'dumb' speaker at your house or anywhere else, you can make it 'smart' with the help of the Echo Input. It is a device that connects to any existing speaker via a 3.5mm headphone jack or Bluetooth and powers it with Alexa. It features a four-microphone array for listening to the voice commands. There is no in-built speaker for obvious reasons as it will be using the connected speaker to deliver Alexa's output. This is the reason it is sleeker than the Echo Dot and costs only $34.99. It has been released in Black and White color variants with availability sometime later this year.
Amazon's Echo Link and Echo Link Amp are two devices aimed at those who want to use Alexa for streaming music to their existing audio kit or a high-fidelity audio system. Both these devices are exactly the same as except that the Echo Link Amp also has a 60 W 2-channel amplifier. The common features include analog, optical, coax, headphone 3.5mm, and subwoofer line-outs; and analog, optical, and coax line-ins. It further has an Ethernet port for those who want to connect to the Internet via a wired connection for more reliability. It goes without saying that both these devices offer multi-room audio support too.
Amazon has priced the Echo Link and Echo Link Amp at $199.99 and $299.99 respectively. The latter one is a direct competitor to the Sonos Amp which was unveiled last month.
The Echo Wall Clock is particularly aimed at those who regularly rely on Alexa for setting up timers. It is a 10-inch battery-powered wall clock which connects with any Echo device out there. It syncs with the connected Echo device to show the correct time and timer(s). There is a 60 LED ring which can show multiple timers so that you can keep on eye on the time remaining with just one look. It is also capable of showing visual animations for alarms and reminders. It has been priced at $29.99 and is currently a US-only offering.