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The excellent Echo Plus is now £70 at Amazon

Alexa-lent value

Amazon’s summer sale continues apace, and if there’s one thing that guarantees, it’s discounts on the company’s own products. Fortunately, Amazon’s Alexa range is probably the best value smart speaker you can buy, and now it’s even cheaper.
 
The first-generation Echo sold for £150, and Amazon has repeatedly cut prices to the point where superior second- and third-generation smart speakers sell for less despite sounding a whole lot better. When a sale is on, that applies double and today’s big deal is the second-generation Echo Plus, which is yours for just £69.99 – half price from its £139.99 RRP.
 
Not so fast though – you might actually be better off buying a third-generation Echo for £10 less. Although the overall discount is lower (the third-generation Echo only has an RRP of £89.99 normally), in sound quality terms, they’re actually identical. Both pack a 3in neodymium woofer an 0.8in tweeter, and having reviewed both side by side, I can confidently say that you won’t be able to tell the difference.
 
The only reason you might want an Echo Plus instead of an Echo is if your home is full of smart home tech. That’s because the Echo Plus has the enhanced option of being its own Zigbee smart home hub, meaning that compatible devices can go via the Echo rather than needing their own hubs.
 
If that doesn’t apply to you, or if your home is already set up for smarts and you don’t fancy going through a whole setup song and dance, then by all means stick to a regular Echo.
 
Whichever you buy, you’ll likely be impressed with what you get. As I wrote in my Echo Plus review: “Alexa could still do with cribbing some trivia from Google Assistant but if you want a smart speaker that gets the basics right and something that can serve as the basis for a smarter home, you can’t go wrong with the 2018 Echo Plus. Especially at this price.”
The price I was talking about was the £139.99 RRP, by the way. At £69.99, it’s an absolute steal.
 
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