Amazon has launched its first Alexa-enabled smart home control panel, the Echo Hub – a testament to the evolution of smart home technology, offering a centralised control hub that seamlessly integrates into daily life.

The Echo Hub is an 8-inch touch-enabled display with a thin and lightweight design that measures just 15mm deep and weighs only 365 grams. Its minimalist aesthetic, available in white, means it blends into any space of the home, although it’s most likely to be installed in the main living area for convenience. It can be mounted on a wall or placed on a counter with a stand accessory (sold separately).

Unlike other Amazon Alexa-enabled devices, the Echo Hub is purpose-built for organising and controlling your smart home devices around the home. Any device compatible with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Zigbee, Thread, and Matter, from security cameras and lights to blinds and thermostats, can be synced.

The set-up process is super easy – just plug the device in, register it to your Amazon account and follow a few simple steps. Once set-up, you’re taken to the smart home dashboard, which is automatically populated with devices registered to your Amazon account. In my experience, it shows my Ring doorbell and multiple Amazon devices including Echo Show and Echo Pop speakers placed around my home.  

The smart home dashboard is intuitive, organised by widgets, routines and groups with shortcuts to devices. The dashboard can be customised by adding, removing, or rearranging widgets and shortcuts based on preferences.

I was able to easily view a live feed from my Ring doorbell, turn on/off lights, play music and adjust sound settings from other connected speakers. It’s also possible to view multiple Ring cameras at once. When you tap into camera multi view, you can watch up to four live camera streams simultaneously. You can also view live feeds from compatible non-Ring cameras.

In addition to ease of use, the other feature I love about the Echo Hub is ‘Adaptive Content’. Leveraging infrared technology, it detects user proximity and recognises when you are nearby and ready to interact, transitioning from the idle screen with clock to the smart home dashboard upon approach.

The idle screen can be personalised by selecting one of the new photo display collections: Natural Textures or Landscapes, new video background collections: Wild Earth or Vibe or classic backgrounds: Art, Abstract Shapes or Minimal. You can also display personal photos by choosing your favourites from your Amazon Photos account. Once selected, it will display a rotating collection.

The Echo Hub has been designed with privacy at the forefront. It includes privacy controls such as a microphone on/off button and the ability to view, hear or delete voice recordings at any time. 

Verdict: I believe the Echo Hub takes the crown for the best Amazon device available on the market. It sets a new benchmark for smart home assistants because every interaction feels effortless and unobtrusive, from controlling smart home devices to streaming music and asking questions. It offers key information at a glance and an intuitive interface to make everyday tasks a breeze. For those with multiple smart home devices, it’s certainly worth the investment.

The Echo Hub is now available from the Amazon Australia website and leading retailers including JB Hi-Fi, Officeworks and Bunnings for RRP $329.