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Amazon Echo Plus Review: Generation 1 vs. Generation 2

Updated October 30, 2018 by Derek Hales

Amazon Echo Plus Gen 1 vs Gen 2

Overall Score: 95%
Design: 95%
Performance: 94%
Quality: 95%
Usability: 97%
Value: 96%
See how we score here.

Echo Plus 1st gen. vs 2nd gen.

Below is quick comparison between the original Echo plus and the newly released Amazon Echo plus (generation 2).

Echo Plus (Generation 1)
  • Dimensions: 3.3" dia. X 9.3" H
  • IO: 3.5 mm line out + bluetooth
  • Speaker: 2.5"
  • Tweeter: 0.8"
  • Built-in Zigbee: Yes
Echo Plus (Generation 2)
  • Dimensions: 3.9" dia. X 5.8" H
  • IO: 3.5 mm line out + bluetooth
  • Speaker: 3"
  • Tweeter: 0.8"
  • Built-in Zigbee: Yes

Echo Plus 2nd Generation

What’s the difference between Echo Plus Generation 1 vs. Generation 2?

Not a ton changed from the Echo plus 1st Gen to the Echo plus 2nd Gen, but here are a highlight of the specifics

Aesthetics: The 2nd generation Echo plus is now a bit smaller than the 1st generation. Additionally, Amazon moved from an all plastic enclosure to a modern mesh (available in 3 colors).

Speaker: The speaker on the Echo Plus 2nd generation wraps completely around the perimeter of the unit, as compared to just the bottom of the 1st generation Echo plus.

Echo Sub: Amazon also just released their Echo subwoofer (read our review here), which cannot be paired with the 1st Gen Echo plus, but can be paired with the 2nd Gen.

Sound: The overall sound quality of the Echo plus 2nd Gen is a large improvement over the original. From a functionality standpoint, these two Echo’s have virtually the same skill set, but the sound quality of the newly released Echo plus is one of the greatest improvements over the Echo plus 1st Gen.

Price: With the release of the 2nd generation Echo plus came a higher price tag than the original Echo plus.

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Echo Plus 1st vs 2nd Generation Design

The design differences between the 1st gen Amazon Echo plus and 2nd Gen Amazon Echo plus are not massive, but certainly noticeable.

While the original Echo plus contained a shiny plastic casing whereas the newly renovated Echo plus 2 utilizes a mesh fabric around the body of the unit with a smooth, matte finish on top.

Echo Plus 1st Gen Design

The top of the Echo plus 1st generation has less going on, as compared to the 2nd generation. There are only two buttons on top of the 1st generation model, which include:

Echo Plus generation 1 design

1st generation Echo Plus

  • Microphone Off – Pressing this button will turn Allexa off, therefore, she will not respond or listen to your conversations.
  • Action – The Action button allows users to act directly with Alexa and her skills.
Action and mute button on the Echo Plus 1st Gen

Action and mute button on the Echo Plus 1st Gen

Along the perimeter of the top is also a white band, which turns blue when Alexa is listening or speaking to you.

Users can rotate the ring just below the white band in order to turn the volume up or down.

What changed on the Echo Plus 2nd Generation?

As we noted above, not a ton changed. Amazon added two extra buttons to the top of the unit, which are:

  • Volume Up – By pressing the volume up, Alexa will speak louder and play music louder.
  • Volume Down – Pressing the volume down button will lower Alexa’s voice as well as any music being played through the speaker of the Echo Plus.
Action, mute, volume up, and volume down buttons on the Echo Plus 2nd Gen

Action, mute, volume up, and volume down buttons on the Echo Plus 2nd Gen

Adding these two buttons to the top of the Echo Plus 2nd generation actually made it look much more like the Echo Dot on top.

Echo Plus generation 2 design

2nd Generation Echo Plus

RELATED – Discover more smart home devices you can connect to your Echo Plus here.

I’m sure you’re curious about the changes to the body of the Echo Plus…

The body of the 2nd generation Echo plus is probably the biggest change. Instead of the hard plastic body with the speaker being located at the bottom, this model includes a fully wrapped speaker. In other words, from the top to the bottom the Echo Plus 2nd Gen is a speaker, designed to improve overall sound quality.

Amazon Echo Plus Size Comparison

Size is one of the biggest changes we noticed between the Echo Plus 1st Gen vs. 2nd Gen. The 2nd generation model is a bit smaller and thicker.

Below is the 2nd Generation:

Echo Plus generation 2

The size difference is actually quite nice, in my opinion. The smaller size of the new Echo Plus gives it more of a homey feel, as it doesn’t seem too bulky when placed near other items in your home.

For comparison, below is the 1st generation Echo Plus.

Echo Plus Generation 1 size

What’s In the Box?

The Amazon Echo Plus 1st Generation includes everything you need to get it up and running.

  • Echo Plus
  • Power Adapter (30W)
  • Quick Start Guide
Echo plus (generation 1)

Generation 1 Echo Plus

All of these same items are included with the 2nd Gen Echo plus.

Echo Plus Setup

First things first, the Echo Plus needs to be connected to a wifi network. Additionally, users need to have a device to access the features of the Echo Plus (Fire OS, Android, or iOS (Apple) device, or your web browser).

Echo Plus setup

From there, the setup is a quick and painless process.

1: Plug in the Echo Plus.

After plugging in the Echo Plus, a light will illuminate around the top of the device. From there, the light will begin to change colors, signaling to you that it has moved into pairing mode.

Step 2: Connect to the internet via the Alexa app.

From there, you will need to download the Alexa app in order to continue on with setting up your Echo Plus. Within the Alexa app, users have to sign into their Amazon account, or create one if they don’t already have one.

Amazon Alexa app

Once you have logged in, the Echo Plus will connect to your phone (or device being used). This now means you can manage your Echo Plus and all other devices connected to it, through your phone. This total process takes roughly 5 minutes to complete.

Amazon Alexa app

3: Talk to Alexa

Once everything is connected, you have the ability to address Alexa using your voice. Use the phrase “Alexa” followed by whatever you need to let her know that you are speaking to her.

Echo Plus Performance Features

What is the difference between the Echo Plus 1st generation and 2nd generation features?

The answer? Not too much.

Amazon Echo Plus features

The Echo plus 2nd Gen is a revamped model of the 1st Gen with improved sound quality.

Both the Gen 1 and Gen 2 Echo Plus’s can do the following:

Amazon Alexa app

Speaker Performance

Speaker performance is where you are going to notice the biggest difference between the 2nd and 1st generation Echo Plus.

Echo Plus sound quality

The upgraded speaker on the 2nd generation Echo Plus means better sound quality (higher highs and lower lows), in addition to better reactions from Alexa when you’re speaking to her.

How difference is the sound quality on the Echo Plus 2?

A vast majority of third party reviewers have mentioned that the overall sound quality from Gen 1 to Gen 2 was a large improvement. The larger subwoofer in the 2nd generation, increasing to 3.0″ (up from 2.5″) seems to be making  a significant improvement.

Amazon Alexa Echo Plus review

Generation 2 Echo Plus

That said…

In our tests of the Echo Plus 1st generation the sound quality is not bad at all.

On a table in my living room the Echo Plus was able to fill both my living room and kitchen with solid sound quality. Therefore, with third party reviewers noting that the sound quality has improved from Gen 1 to Gen 2 is quite exciting.

Echo Plus (gen 1)

Echo Plus (gen 1) in my living room

Like the idea of connecting your Echo Plus to other speakers?

If you’re looking to connect the Echo Plus to other speakers, you have a couple of options:

  1. Connect via Bluetooth (if compatible)
  2. Connect via aux cord

Both options are nice, but the Bluetooth method is obviously going to be cord free. That said, there could be a slight loss in sound quality if you’re connecting over Bluetooth.

If the speaker you’re trying to connect the Amazon Echo Plus to does not contain Bluetooth, you may also use a simple auxiliary cord to link up the speakers. This may also lead to slightly better sound quality.

What about the new Echo Sub?

In October of 2018, Amazon also released their new Echo subwoofer. The Echo sub can be paired directly with the new Echo Plus 2nd generation in order to fill a room with more sound and better bass.

Amazon Echo sub

The Echo Plus generation 1 cannot connect to the Echo sub.

Alexa Sensitivity

Alexa’s ability to hear you clearly was never an issue, in my opinion. The original Echo Plus rarely misheard me or didn’t listen to me at all. However, Amazon’s improvement to the gen 2 Echo Plus is supposed to further reduce any miscommunications.

Users do not need to raise their voice or speak in a robotic tone when talking to Alexa. She is fully capable of hearing users and even recognizing individual voices within a family.

Whether you’re across the room or right next to her, Alexa does a fine job of listening and responding to your requests on both models of the Echo Plus.

Alexa Skills

With over 50,000 skills, third-parties can create an add-on that works with the Echo Plus, as well as other Echo devices. These skills are endless and allow users to do almost anything, such as ordering a pizza, calling an Uber, turning on / off lights in your home, etc.

Amazon Alexa smart skills

Amazon Alexa smart skills

Skills allow Alexa to integrate with tons of smart home tech, allowing Alexa to power it all via voice control or through the Alexa smart phone app.

RELATED –  Nest learning thermostat (3rd generation) review

Do the Amazon skills differ from Echo Plus Gen 1 to Gen 2?

The simple answer, no. The skills are not linked to each individual device, but rather to Alexa. Therefore, each of these Echo Plus models has the same skills available.

Is the Echo Plus a good value?

All things considered, both the Echo Plus Gen 1 and Gen 2 offer a great value. That being said, the Echo Plus 2nd generation does offer a bit more, leading to a better value overall.

Echo Plus 2nd Generation

The price point is a bit higher than the original Echo Plus, but the upgraded speaker and deign make this model one of the more impressive smart home products available today. Compared to the 1st generation Echo Plus, the 2nd generation looks much more like it belongs in a modern home.

The skills between these two generations are no different and both models act as smart hubs, but the new Echo Plus seems to be a higher quality smart home product in the end.

If you’re looking to jump into the smart home world, the Echo Plus 2nd generation is an excellent start. While it may be a bit more expensive than some of the other Amazon Echo products, the ability to have a 2-in-1 Echo and smart home hub really makes things easier. Connect everything in your smart home directly to the Echo Plus and you’re ready to rock and roll.

Echo Plus 1st Gen. vs 2nd Gen Specifications

Below is a complete comparison of important specifications on the Echo Plus 1st and 2nd generation models.

Check it out here:

ModelEcho Plus 1st GenerationEcho Plus 2nd Generation
amazon alexa dot 3rd generationamazon alexa dot 1st generation
Dimensions3.3"dia. x 9.3"H3.9" dia. x 5.8"H
Weight33.6 oz.27.5 oz.
ButtonsAction, MuteAction, Mute, Volume Up, Volume Down
Input / OutputLine out with 3.5 mm cable + BluetoothLine in / out with 3.5 mm cable + Bluetooth
Woofer2.5"3.0"
Tweeter0.8"0.8"
WifiDual-band, 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 2.4 and 5 ghzDual-band, 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 2.4 and 5 ghz
Zigbee ConnectivityYesYes
Warranty1 year limited1 year limited
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price

Which Echo Plus Should You Buy?

In the end, both the Echo Plus 1st and 2nd generation are great. That said, I would favor the 2nd Gen, as the upgrades Amazon has made to this model are nice improvements to the Echo Plus as a whole.

I would recommend the Amazon Alexa Echo Plus 2nd Generation to people who want:

  • To Be Able to Control Their Smart Home From one Device – The Echo Plus 2nd Gen also acts as a smart hub, meaning you do not have to purchase additional equipment to control your other smart home items. As long as everything is compatible with Alexa, you’re good to go.
  • Better Sound Quality – Sound has definitely been a vast improvement from Gen 1 to Gen 2. The new speaker that wraps all the way around the Echo Plus, in addition to the larger subwoofer makes for a higher quality sound all around. The sound on the original Echo Plus was not bad by any means, but the improvements made to the new Echo Plus are certainly notable.
  • New and Improved Design – While the improvements made to the speaker are certainly beneficial, the changes made to the overall aesthetic of the 2nd Gen are even better. Amazon did a great job of adding options, with regard to skins (colors) of the new Echo Plus. By doing so, users have the ability to pick a skin that fits best with their home decor. The original Echo Plus only came in black and white, which mean no matter what it was going to look like a bulky smart home device that doesn’t really blend in.

For more information on the Amazon Echo Plus 2nd generation visit here.

The 1st generation Echo Plus is still a fine choice if you’re looking to save a few bucks, but ultimately, the newly released Echo Plus is going to be the be an improvement over the original.

For more information on the Amazon Echo Plus 1st generation visit here.

Derek Hales

Derek Hales

Editor-in-Chief

Derek Hales is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of ModernCastle.com. He is a passionate perfectionist when it comes to testing and reviewing products for the home. When he is not testing new products, Derek enjoys golf, tennis, and PC gaming. Derek lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife, Samantha, son, and poodle, Tibbers.