Echo vs. Echo Plus: Is the Sound Quality Different?

Echo Gen 2 ($100)

  • This is Amazon’s second-generation Echo.
  • It’s $80 cheaper than the original Echo and is smaller (it’s 6″ tall compared to 9″ with the first generation and Echo Plus). In my opinion, 6″ is the perfect height for these speakers. It’s large enough to deliver robust sound, but not tall enough to be an eyesore.
  • It’s better-looking than the original Echo and comes in six different colors.
  • You can use it as a Bluetooth speaker without WiFi, as long as you originally paired it while connected to WiFi.
  • Sound quality: It has a 2.5″ woofer, 0.6″ tweeter and Dolby-powered sound. It sounds better than the first generation Echo and better than the original Google Home. The sweet spot for volume is around 70%. When it’s any louder than that, the sound gets distorted. There’s not much bass, and you can find better speakers for this price. But this is much more than a simple speaker. For reference, it sounds similar to UE Boom 2.

Echo Plus ($150)

  • It looks like the first-generation Echo but with a silver color. (The same ugly speaker grills are included too).
  • Echo Plus’ primary differentiation from Echo: it comes with a Zigbee radio so you can use it as a smart home hub. Six points on this:
    • What is a smart hub? It plugs into your home’s router and lets you control smart devices like lights, locks, and outlets (like Wink or SmartThings).
    • Echo Plus is only useful if you’re just starting to add smarts to your house because if you have smart devices, you already have a hub.
    • If you have Philips Hue lights, you already have a hub plugged into your router via ethernet.
    • If you have Apple products, you can’t use HomeKit with your Hue lights if Echo Plus is your hub.
    • Echo Plus only sends out Zigbee signals, not Z-Wave.
    • Even if you’re a beginner, you’re better off using a separate device as your hub.
  • You can use this as Bluetooth speaker without WiFi, as long as you originally paired it while on WiFi.
  • Sound quality: It’s almost identical to the second-generation Echo. The tweeter is 0.2” bigger, but it hardly improves the sound quality. In a blind test, I couldn’t tell the difference when alternating between Echo and Echo Plus on the same song.

Which one?

My favorite Alexa device is Sonos One.

My second-favorite is Dot. It’s small and unobtrusive with the same Alexa capabilities as the expensive Echos and it hooks up to any speaker setup.

If you’re looking for an Alexa device that’s made by Amazon, Echo (2nd Generation) is the best value. It’s a solid speaker (it’s loud and crisp enough), and it’s the one most people should get it.

Echo Plus is a good idea in theory but it would’ve been better if it was released three years ago. But right now? I don’t get it. Most people already have a smart hub to work their gadgets. Don’t bother with Echo Plus.

Apple AirPods Review: Real or Gimmick?

Apple recently introduced its very first version of wireless earbuds. This accessory was launched together with the iPhone 7 as well as the iPhone 7 Plus. They are essentially in-ear AirPods that are wireless. They are truly wire-fee and make connections only via Bluetooth. The important question is that are they a glimpse into a wire-free future or just another design disaster? That is the big question that this review will diligently seek to answer.


The following are some of the interesting features that the Apple AirPods have to offer the innovation-hungry tech market:


The AirPods have a design that is quite simple and are white in color. They typically sit in the opening of ears with nothing more than a mere small rod protruding outside the ear and down the face of the user. The outer rod of the AirPods is sensitive to touch and allows the user to either pause music or interact with Siri. The design is amazing in both appearance and functionality, a cool


The AirPods do not have connectors as they are charged only via a charging case that is provided in the iPhone box on purchase. It has a convenient size as it similar to dental floss box, this makes it easy to carry it in the pocket or a small bag. The battery can last up to 5 hours of listening time from just a single charge and 24 hours of listening time from the charging case. This is a good battery life by all standards.

Connecting to music

The AirPods easily connect to Apple devices. All one has to do is to put them and their charging case near the phone and they connect. Once the AirPods are connected to a single device, they will be available to all of the user’s Apple devices through iCloud where it will automatically detect the type of device that music is being listened from.

One AirPod or two

When they are both put in the ears music starts playing automatically. However, when one is taken out of the ear the music stops playing in stereo and switches to mono. If both AirPods are removed from the ear, the music is paused until the time they are once again picked and put in the ears.

No buttons

Siri can easily be accessed by double-tapping the AirPods so as to make music selection and control what plays, adjusting the volume, checking the battery life or other necessary Siri tasks. Buttons are non-existent whatsoever on these futuristic AirPods. This is one of the reasons why this product is going to be a success because of simplicity.


The AirPods each have an extra accelerometer that is able to detect if the user is speaking. The accelerometer allows a pair of microphones that are formed by a beam to maintain focus on the voice of the user. They proceed to filter out noise from the external environment to facilitate the faster and easier detection of the user’s voice.


The Apple AirPods have a number of advantages that interested clients stand to enjoy. The main ones include the following:

  • They are easy to use as they are simply put in the ears and can be used to listen.
  • The AirPods seamlessly switch from a phone call on the user’s Apple devices to music being played on an Ipad, Mac or even an Apple Watch.
  • They do not fall out of the ears when running and can therefore be used when exercising vigorously. However, it should be noted that this applicable only for short distances.


The Apple AirPods have a few disadvantages. The notable ones are as follows:

  • The light weight and small sized AirPods can easily get lost. Apple has not provided a lost and found feature that can be used to signal track them in case of such an eventuality.


The Apple AirPods review above clearly shows that opinion is polarized especially with regard to their design. However, the fact that the earphones can be lost due to their small size and light weight is not desirable. The AirPods are exemplary in connections. Similarly, they are smart with regard to sound isolation for voice calls and functionality. The Apple AirPods review above is proof enough that Apple is undoubtedly setting a significant benchmark in relation to a future that is wire-free.