The Amazon Echo Hub could be the standout smart home product from Amazon this year. It’s incredibly thin, packs an easy-to-use interface and looks like the ultimate accessory for those with an Alexa-heavy smart home.
- Built-in smart home hubSupports Zigbee, Thread, Bluetooth and Matter
- Focussed UIThe UI is designed to give you easy access to all your smart home products
If you’ve got a smart home packed with Alexa-supported tech, the Amazon Echo Hub could be the easiest and smartest way to bring everything together.
Unlike the Echo Show 8 (3rd generation) which Amazon also showcased during its latest devices event, the Echo Hub is a lot more of a focused device.
This isn’t for playing music, watching Prime Video or whatnot – instead, this is a screen to control your smart home in the easiest and most complete way possible.
I was able to spend a short time with the Echo Hub after its official announcement and ahead of its release later this year. It’ll retail for £169.99/$169.99 when it does hit shelves.
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- Simple design
- Can be mounted or used on a stand
- 8-inch display
The Amazon Echo Hub is a very simple device that can either be mounted on a wall or paired with a stand. It’s a relatively thin rectangle, has a few speaker grilles on top for Alexa responses and is mostly designed to just blend into a wall rather than stand out.
There’s a bright 8-inch screen on the front and, unlike the Show 8, doesn’t have a camera on the front.
In my demo of the device I was shown it mounted onto a wall and this is clearly the way Amazon intends most people to use it. The lack of a large rear speaker makes it far thinner than the Echo Show 8 and when attached to a wall it doesn’t stick out too much at all.
The display is bright and sharp, but importantly it’s responsive when pressed – vital for a device like this.
The Echo Hub isn’t much to look at, but that’s sort of the point, and it’s been designed well to simply blend into a wall and not look out of place.
- Compatible with 140,000 smart home products
- Very different UI to the Echo Show range
- Infrared sensors to detect when someone is close
The Amazon Echo Hub is designed to offer a simple interface for controlling all of your smart home tech, whether it be cameras, lights, thermostats, plug sockets or speakers. There’s support for Zigbee, Thread, Matter and Bluetooth and can even be powered via a compatible power-over-ethernet (PoE) plug.
The user interface is very different to the one on the Echo Show 8. It’s packed with lots of quick-access widgets, many of which are easily customisable, and you don’t need to scroll through settings or apps to find what you want. Immediately viewable when the screen kicks into gear is a thermostat’s current temperature, the status of multiple lights, quick access to security camera feeds and plenty more.
The homescreen is busy, but it doesn’t feel cluttered. You can jump between rooms and easily enact Routines too, either with your voice through Alexa or just via the touchscreen. It’ll be great to have a glanceable view of your entire house from one screen.
While it won’t come at launch, support will be added for the intriguing new Map View software feature. This lets you map your entire house, giving a visual look at where different smart home products are placed without having to scroll through long lists or guess what a light is called.
Infrared sensors sit on the front of the Echo Hub, just below the display, and these can bring the screen to life when you walk up to it. At other times, the screen will display a clock.
A simple device that might be dismissed as unnecessary, the Amazon Echo Hub actually feels like one of the more important hardware products from Amazon. It’ll be a very useful addition for anyone who has a myriad of smart home devices scattered around their homes.