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Amazon Echo Plus has a smart home hub built inside

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Amazon is supercharging its smart speaker lineup with the Amazon Echo Plus, a new Echo that also acts as a smart home hub.

The new speaker will have hundreds of smart home partners available for it, letting you control smart lights, plugs and other devices right from the speaker. As a bonus, the Echo Plus will ship with a Philips Hue light bulb while supplies last.

A simple command of "Alexa, discover my devices" will have the Echo Plus searching, identifying and connecting to compatible smart home products. Amazon says this set up process works with ZigBee devices from a number of manufacturers, including Philips Hue and Hive.

There are also new color options for the Echo Plus: silver and white in addition to the standard black.

Amazon Echo Plus in silver

Amazon Echo Plus in silver

Sound has been improved on the Plus, too, a good thing as audio quality was a big knock against the original Amazon Echo. 

The new speaker features enhanced 360-degree omni-directional audio and Dolby processing for deeper bass and sharper high notes. It connects to Amazon Music, Spotify, TuneIn and other services, Amazon says. 

Like the new Echo also unveiled today, the Plus' far-field tech has been taken to the next level so Alexa is better able to hear you at a distance.

All in all, the Echo Plus looks much the same as the first Echo, though it's certainly bigger than the 2017 edition. 

The Amazon Echo Plus will cost $149.99 / £139.99 / €149.99 and is available for pre-order now. According to its Amazon page, the Echo Plus release date is October 31.

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, Shortlist.com at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.