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Home News Which mid-sized Echo device should you get? Echo or Echo Plus?

Which mid-sized Echo device should you get? Echo or Echo Plus?

Amazon Echo (3rd Gen)

Standard-bearer gets better

amazon-echo-3rd-gen-sandstone.jpg

$100 at Best Buy

Pros

  • Plush styling like Echo Plus (2nd Gen)
  • Much improved sound architecture
  • More color options

Cons

  • Sits in weird middle ground of Echo lineup
  • No smart display or LED clock functionality

Even though it may not look like a major update, Amazon significantly improved the speakers in this standard Echo (3rd Gen) and made the design a little less stark with a more plush fabric and new color options.

Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Gen)

Smart speaker with home hub

amazon-echo-plus-2nd-gen-heather-gray-of

$75 at Best Buy

Pros

  • Zigbee hub built-in for easy control of smart products
  • Premium sound compared to smaller Echos
  • Available with a free smart bulb

Cons

  • Possibly irrelevant with the new Echo (3rd Gen) release
  • Zigbee hub feature not something many will understand

With the changes to the Echo (3rd Gen), the Echo Plus (2nd Gen) days may be numbered. The two devices now look a lot alike and even have similar speaker setups. However, some may still consider the Zigbee support worth the additional money.

If you compare the all-new Echo (3rd Gen) vs. the Echo Plus (2nd Gen), you may be a bit confused at first. After all, the all-new Echo doesn’t look that different from the Echo Plus. It also kind of sits in this weird middle ground of Echo devices, where it has better sound than the smaller Dots but doesn’t have a smart display like the larger Show series. With Amazon’s Certified for Humans program to make smart home setup easier, where does that leave the aging Echo Plus (2nd Gen) with its built-in Zigbee hub?

All New Echo vs. Echo Plus: Is there an Echo in here?

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Often when Amazon updates a product line, it will quickly remove the older version of the products from its listings so as not to overly confuse purchasers. You’ll often see older devices listed as “Currently Unavailable” on Amazon’s website, save for third-party sellers, or refurbished items. The Echo Plus (2nd Gen) is technically a different product to the Echo (3rd Gen), so we can see why it is still listed, but the two devices do share an awful lot in common.

Size 5.8″ x 3.9″ x 3.9″ 5.8″ x 3.9″ x 3.9″
Weight 27.5 oz 27.5 oz
Far-field Microphones Yes Yes
Speakers .8″ tweeter and 3″ woofer .8″ tweeter and 3″ woofer
Dolby Processing Yes Yes
Line-out with 3.5 mm cable or Bluetooth Yes Yes
Smart Home Controls Yes Yes
Smart Home Hub Yes with Certified for Humans program Yes with Zigbee hub
Music Streaming Yes Yes
Pair Multiple for Stereo Sound Yes Yes
Free audio calls to the U.S., Mexico, and Canada Yes Yes
Finishes Fabric (4 colors – charcoal, heather gray, sandstone, twilight blue) Fabric (3 colors – charcoal, heather gray, sandstone)

All New Echo vs. Echo Plus: Echo chamber

The original Echo Plus was introduced in the fall of 2017 at a time when there were several competing smart home protocols and standards. Its value proposition was that it included a built-in Zigbee hub to better allow Alexa to work with various smart devices since Zigbee was arguably the most popular smart home protocol.

The Plus was refreshed the following fall and given a new design to reflect better the softer aesthetic Amazon was going for. It was one of the few Echos that were not updated this year, and with the introduction of the Certified by Humans program, we wonder how long this particular Echo will stick around in the lineup.

Despite Amazon’s attempts to extend the Echo devices line from the plug-sized Echo Flex to the full-on entertainment mini-monitor of the Echo Show, the original namesake Echo has kept a spot in the lineup once again. Amazon says that it improved the “sound architecture” on the Echo (3rd Gen) with a larger tweeter and bigger woofer to make it comparable to the Echo Plus (2nd Gen), and the device now has a softened look to better match the Echo Dot and even the Show lines. And what else do you do when you want to generate interest in a minor refresh? You introduce a new color! We love the twilight blue and hope that look comes to more Echo devices.

All New Echo vs. Echo Plus: Bottom line

As we noted in our comparison of the all-new Echo Dot with Clock versus the Echo Dot (3rd Gen), we think Amazon made the decision here pretty easy when it comes to choosing between the Echo (3rd Gen) or the Echo Plus (2nd Gen). By beefing up the sound quality of the “regular” Echo (3rd Gen), moving the styling towards that of the Echo Plus (2nd Gen), and introducing a new program called Certified by Humans that facilitates easier smart home setup, it’s getting difficult to justify purchasing the Echo Plus (2nd Gen) for $50 more.

If you are choosing between these two devices and wondering which is the best Alexa speaker, it seems pretty clear that the Echo (3rd Gen) is the device to get.

Amazon Echo (3rd Gen)

Time to upgrade

amazon-echo-3rd-gen-sandstone.jpg

$100 at Best Buy
$100 at B&H

Better sound and cooler colors

The 3rd gen Echo is built for better sound with a softer, plusher look that comes in four colors, including the soft new twilight blue.

Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Gen)

Smart home hub

amazon-echo-plus-2nd-gen-heather-gray-of

Smart home support with solid speakers

$75 at Best Buy
$90 at B&H
$125 at Newegg

The Echo Plus was one of the first Echo devices to step up its sound game while making strides to support smart home device integration better.

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Tello Buyer’s Guide (October 2020)

Just about anyone you’d ask is familiar with the top-tier wireless service providers in Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. What about lesser known, or newer brands?Let’s take a look at a relatively younger carrier, Tello. This guide will serve to help you understand what the MVNO offers and how it competes in the mobile arena.Where can I buy an unlocked phone?Buying an unlocked phone? Consider these questionsTips for buying a used phoneTell me about TelloTello is a newer player in the mobile field and finds itself in the increasingly crowded segment of low-cost, no-frills alternatives. Its service uses Sprint’s network for coverage but it operates with its own plans and features.What are Tello rate plans like?Tello rate plans are no-contract, meaning you can go month-to-month with no long-term agreement, cancellation, or activation fees. As many carriers in this space do, Tello throttles speeds once hitting the data allowance as opposed to charging overage fees.Customers can mix and match rate plans based on personal needs. A lot of users have access to Wi-Fi connections, or don’t make many calls in a month. To that end, it’s possible to dial things up or down to suit tastes; subscribers can change their plan as often as needed.Ready-made PlansThere are four ready-made plans that do a great job of meeting the demands of most users. They cost as low as $10 per month and include unlimited text and calling.$10/month: Unlimited Talk and Text with 1GB of high-speed data$14/month: Unlimited Talk and Text with 2GB of high-speed data$19/month: Unlimited Talk and Text with 4GB of high-speed data$39/month: Unlimited Talk and Text with Unlimited high-speed dataAre there any other Tello features?Tello offers a handful of other options to its customers, including mobile hotspot and international calls. You can use any amount of your data plan to tether other devices. Calls to Mexico, Canada, and China are the same as if you called in the United States.What about international calls and texts?In addition to the aforementioned countries, Tello subscribers can make calls to other India, Cuba, and a host of other countries. Each has its own rate and can be used in a mix-and-match fashion. All one need do is purchase a Pay As You Go credit ahead of time.The credit can also be used for SMS or data, depending on which plan you’re signed up with at the time.Does Tello have a referral program?Yes, they’re called Tello Dollars and the referral program rewards you for signing up friends and family members. Share your referral link, and once your friend places their first successful order, you get $10 Tello Dollars. Your friend also gets $10 Tello Dollars.You can refer as many friends as you like and the money can be used for things like rate plans, phones, and PAYG credits.What kind of phones does Tello offer?Taking a look at the current lineup of phones offered through Tello we find familiar names like LG, Samsung, and Motorola. All told, there are more than two dozen phones to choose from but it’s a real tossup as to what’s available.Buying an unlocked phone? Consider these questionsWhich carrier has the best value at $50 a month?Which major prepaid carrier has the best $40 rate plan?As is the case with prepaid providers or MVNO brands, selection is a mixed bag and leans more toward affordability and not performance.READ: Best phones available at TelloIt’s worth noting that the phones you order from Tello will come in plain generic packaging and may only include the charger and battery. There will be no manual, earbuds, or other accessories.Are there any phone deals with Tello?Indeed, there are plenty of phones with discounts, some ranging as high as $50 off. About half of the current roster is comprised of refurbished phones, which also means lower prices.Can I use my own phone with Tello?Yes, you can use any Sprint-compatible phone just so long as there’s no unpaid balance on another network. You’ll need to ensure it’s unlocked for use outside of Sprint if it was previously used with another carrier.Tello only accepts unlocked CDMA devices or unlocked multi-network phones that incorporate both CDMA and GSM technologies.Head to Tello’s website to check whether your specific model is supported.

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