I tried Amazon’s new Alexa gadget – it’s perfect for Ring doorbell owners but the price is a sticking point

ALEXA is the most recognised voice assistant around almost ten years after launching – and shows no sign of going anywhere soon.

Amazon is reportedly working on some major AI enhancements in face of ChatGPT‘s headline-grabbing burst onto the scene.

Smart home comes into one place

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Smart home comes into one placeCredit: Jamie Harris / The Sun
Widgets help to keep things tidy

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Widgets help to keep things tidyCredit: Jamie Harris / The Sun
Attach to a wall - and keep the cables tidy too

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Attach to a wall – and keep the cables tidy tooCredit: Jamie Harris / The Sun

But for now, the firm is continuing to build out its ever-popular Echo devices which have been broadening out beyond just a speaker.

The latest effort is the Amazon Echo Hub – and here’s what we made of it.

Amazon Echo Hub: Look and feel

The Amazon Echo Hub sports an eight-inch 1280 x 800 resolution touchscreen that’s bright and detailed – though I wouldn’t watch a film on it, it’s just not that sort of device.

This is meant as a smart home control panel with all your connected kit put together under one roof.

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One instantly noticeable difference to the Echo Show displays is the lack of bulk.

The Hub is much thinner so it be screwed tidily to a wall (and a mount is helpfully included in the box – you can buy a separate stand if you prefer that setup).

Overall style of the interface is clean and clear, true to previous display-based Echo gadgets.

Oh, and there are no ads in sight which is a real bonus compared to other Amazon devices around.

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Amazon Echo Hub: Performance and features

Amazon says the Echo Hub is compatible with thousands of devices.

This includes things like smart lights and doorbells.

So, if you have any Ring kit – which Amazon also makes – the hub can serve as a useful alarm panel. You can even get rid of Ring’s physical alarm keypad and use the Hub instead, which is another tick for tidy.

Or you can instantly bring up a live view of your Ring doorbell.

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Those with Philips Hue lights can control them right here too.

There’s a handy tab for Routines on the screen.

This can be used to create a bulk of actions that get to work all at the same time for specific moments in your day, such as turning all lights off and arming your alarm system when you leave the house.

You can also customise it all with widgets and lay things out how you want to.

I love how the Hub makes the smart home tidy and easy

I found the touchscreen a tiny bit laggy at times but not to the point of it impacting the overall experience too much.

A proximity sensor will instantly activate the screen so you can get straight into action.

Of course, you can use your voice and Alexa to carry out requests.

You also have access to a physical mic off button for privacy assurance.

The Echo Hub packs a really decent speaker, which feels a bit redundant as this isn’t really an entertainment device – I envisage putting it right by my front door, not exactly the spot to watch some videos or listen to music.

Amazon Echo Hub: Price

The price is my main sticking point with the Echo Hub as it costs £169.99 / $179.99 which is more expensive than some of the Echo Shows which can do practically the same thing.

Sure, the Echo Show isn’t as slick (and Echo Shows have ads too) but I think the Hub could have been a tiny bit cheaper.

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All prices in this article were correct at the time of writing, but may have since changed.

Always do your own research before making any purchase.

Amazon Echo Hub: Verdict

The Amazon Echo Hub is a great one stop shop for all your smart home devices.

If you don’t have at least a couple of smart devices like Ring or Philips Hue around your home, the Hub is probably a wasted investment for you as this isn’t like some of the more entertainment-centred Echoes of the past.

I love how the Hub makes the smart home tidy and easy.

I just wish it was a bit cheaper, as Echo has always done affordable well.