Filling your house with smart home gear is exciting at first, but controlling all that tech with your voice can get a little tiring. The Amazon Echo Hub will save your vocal cords, letting you turn off the lights with a tap – and without hollering to Alexa first.
Essentially a wall-mounted take on the new Echo Show 8 smart display, Echo Hub is a whole lot slimmer and ditches the integrated camera for an IR sensor. This wakes the screen as you approach, and turns it off once you walk away, no tapping (or creepy facial recognition) required.
It’s stuffed full of smart home standards and radios for controlling all sorts of kit, including Thread, Zigbee, Bluetooth LE and Amazon Sidewalk. You can use it as a Matter controller or Thread border router, either over Wi-Fi or with a third party power over ethernet (PoE) adaptor. Amazon promises your gadgets will respond as quickly as you can turn on a traditional light switch – not that you’ll need to anymore once of of these is bolted to your wall.
Naturally it still has Alexa baked in, with an integrated speaker and microphone for barking orders and listening to replies. Just don’t expect sound quality to match that of Amazon’s beefier smart displays. It’ll ship with a wall mount bracket, but Amazon will also sell you a table-top stand separately.
It’s running similar software to Amazon’s latest Echo Show models, only with more smart home-centric widgets on display. It should put smart locks, security cameras, thermostats, lights and the rest just a few pokes away, and you can use it as a video intercom if you have a Ring doorbell installed.
The Amazon Echo Hub is set to launch later this year. It’ll set you back $180/£169, which is a whole lot less expensive than the high-end home control systems offered by brands like Crestron.