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Echo Hub review – the universal remote control for your home’s smart devices


If you have several smart devices in your home, especially Echo speakers and Ring products, then Echo Hub is an ideal investment to make the most of your connected products, prepare for more and to give you the ultimate control.

The Amazon Echo Hub is a great way to bring together your smart home devices and control, manage and monitor them all in one place.

I’ll be honest – at first, I struggled to understand the difference between the Echo Show 15 that’s already on wall and the new Echo Hub with its 8-inch touchscreen.

We can talk to the Echo Show and ask it to play music, videos, set reminders and control our devices.

The Echo Hub is a different beast. It can also play content and do most of the things the Echo Show can do, but where it excels is as a controller and as an all-encompassing dashboard to see the connected devices in your home.

If the Echo Show is where you play your content, then the Echo Hub is your remote control.

A few years ago, a system like Echo Hub was only possible with smart home automation control systems like Control 4, Crestron, Legrand, C-Bus, Savant, Lutron and others that required cabling and physical connections between rooms and between products to operate sufficiently.

These were typically designed for mansions and affordable only by the wealthy.

What Amazon has delivered with Echo Hub takes several pages out of those systems, including compatibility with Matter, Thread and Zigbee and wi-fi and Bluetooth connectivity, to make a more consumer friendly version.

What has allowed Amazon to offer this level of control at this price is the fact that nearly every home now has a high-speed broadband connection and a decent wireless network where all of today’s smart homes devices now reside and operate.

The Echo Hub is a wall-mountable 8-inch touchscreen that’s just 1.5cm thick.

We chose to use a specially built Sanus desktop mount so we could sit it on our desk within reach.

It also has a motion sensor, so the screen instantly comes to life as soon as we sat down in front of the screen at our desk.

Once you go through a pretty simple set-up the Echo Hub will gather the connected items in your home and display them in groups on the screen.
If you have Echo speakers, smart plugs, security cameras, video doorbells, locks, light bulbs and other smart products, you will see them grouped together on the screen and control them with a touch of the screen or with your voice.

And don’t worry if you have an Echo speaker in the same room as the Echo Hub.

You can choose the default speaker to play your content. In our case we ticked the box for the Echo Show 15 a couple of metres away on our wall.

So now when we ask Alexa to play music or the radio it’s going to come from the Echo Show 15 which has a better speaker than the Echo Hub and there is no double-up on the audio.

Users can also choose from a few widgets that create shortcuts on the dashboard which can group devices, provide information, display calendars and information and other tidbits including daily trivia and celeb birthdays.

Users can easily set routines so it can do things like wish you a good morning, tell you the news traffic and weather, turn on connected devices and play the day’s news and even play relaxing music when you get home.

Echo Hub can also act as a room to room intercom if you have other Echo products in your household.

It’s also possible to easily create groups so devices in the same room, for example, can easily be seen and displayed on the dashboard.

The beauty of the Echo Hub is that it can connect with thousands of devices including cameras, lights, plugs, speakers and much more from a variety of brands thanks to its compatibility with Matter, Zigbee and Thread.

Once connected to the hub you can control all these compatible devices within your home’s network even if your Internet is down.

The Echo Hub isn’t a glorified tablet. You can’t pick it up and browse the web or run apps like an iPad or an Android tablet.

It’s built to be the universal remote control for your home.

Another favourite feature was grouping our security cameras and being able to see a live view on the screen either by tapping on the display or asking Alexa to show it to you.

Naturally, the Echo Hub works beautifully with Ring products – Amazon owns the company so compatibility was no surprise.

We have mainly Arlo cameras at our place, and it only managed to show the live view from one of our six cameras.

But we did notice some other limitations.

We felt it could have given us more on device control to edit and remove devices.

For this we had to go to the Alexa app to make those changes.

Same thing for when we wanted to edit a device’s name or move it to another room – it was always back to the app to do the job.

So why don’t you just use the app instead of purchasing the Echo Hub.

The app does give you a lot of control, but you’ve got to get your phone and open the app and find you what you want to do where is Echo Hub is always there and ready to go with your devices and groups and shortcuts literally at your fingertips.

And if it’s in a central place in your home everyone can use it.

The Echo Hub is available now and is priced at $329.


If you have several smart devices in your home, especially Echo speakers and Ring products, then Echo Hub is an ideal investment to make the most of your connected products, prepare for more and to give you the ultimate control.