Amazon launches new Echo and Echo Plus with focus on sound quality

Amazon has launched two new Echo speakers - a new Echo and the Echo Plus - with a focus on sound quality and multi-room audio.

The Echo speakers feature Dolby audio for the first time and will be available in a variety of multi-device starter packs for an out-of-the-box multi-room music system.

The new Echo costs £89.99, while the Echo Plus is £139.99 - cheaper than the original Echo, which launched at £149.99.

MORE: Amazon Echo, Echo Plus hands-on review

In a flurry of product launches, Amazon also revealed the Echo Show, which features a video screen and is already available in the US, would be coming to the UK. It will cost £199.99, though you'll be able to save £100 if you buy two.

There's also the Echo Spot. A completely new Amazon Alexa device, the Echo Spot aims to reinvent the bedside clock, bringing voice control and video calls to a compact sphere. It will cost $129 in the US and is due out in the UK in 2018.

The new Amazon Echo

The new Amazon Echo

The 2nd-generation Echo is smaller than the original model and features a felt cover design. It also comes with redesigned speaker drivers in an effort to improve on the sound quality of the original model.

The Echo Plus looks more like the original Echo but promises "better bass, better treble", plus a "smart home built inside". This smart home alludes to the ability to control multiple smart devices with just one Alexa command.

We're live at the Amazon event in Seattle and will be finding out more - and getting a first impression of how they sound - later today.

Amazon Echo Plus

Amazon Echo Plus

The original Amazon Echo launched in the US in 2015, before arriving in the UK a year later. Priced at $179.99/£149.99, the Echo has been listed as unavailable since the end of August amidst rumours of an Echo 2.

The 1st-gen Echo packed the Alexa voice assistant, seven microphones, dual-band, dual-antenna wi-fi, Bluetooth, and two speaker drivers, a 6cm woofer and a 5cm tweeter.

Following the launch of the Echo, the Amazon smart speaker family was bolstered by the smaller Echo Dot, £49.99, which is now on its second generation. In the US, Amazon has also released the portable Tap Bluetooth speaker and the screen-toting Echo Show.

And Amazon is no longer the only name in the smart speaker game, with the Google Home on sale now, and the likes of the Apple HomePod and Sony LF-S50G on the way.

More to follow.

Read more:

Smart speakers - everything you need to know

Here are all the many, many smart speakers on show at IFA 2017

How to choose the right wireless speaker

Amazon Echo vs Google Home

Best wireless speakers 2017

Joe Cox
Content Director

Joe is Content Director for T3 and What Hi-Fi?, having previously been the Global Editor-in-Chief of What Hi-Fi?. He has worked on What Hi-Fi? across the print magazine and website for more than 15 years, writing news, reviews and features on everything from turntables to TVs, headphones to hi-fi separates. He has covered product launch events across the world, from Apple to Technics, Sony and Samsung; reported from CES, the Bristol Show, and Munich High End for many years; and written for sites such as the BBC, Stuff, and the Guardian. In his spare time, he enjoys expanding his vinyl collection and cycling (not at the same time).