It is not a tablet. It is not a speaker. It’s Amazon’s Alexa, yes, but in control panel format.

Today Amazon launches its Echo Hub, the first device of this type for the American giant that wants us to hang an 8-inch screen on the wall at home to be able to control everything in the home (the entire digital part, it will not make the children pick up ).

We have been able to test the Hub for a couple of days before its official launch and it must be said that the idea is undoubtedly good and well executed, but it must be made clear that it is a mix of products that is sometimes confusing.

It is a control panel, that is clear, from which you can turn on lights, close blinds or see what the security camera is recording. But it is also a kind of Echo Show 8 type speaker from which you can ask Alexa for some information. music, play a video or tell you the time and agenda.

But let’s focus. If what you want is a smart speaker, this is not your product. If you are looking for a control panel because you have several connected home devices and can easily manage them, this is it.

The first thing that catches your attention when opening the box is that it is a strangely sized device. I explain. It’s thicker than a tablet and much thinner than an Amazon speaker. It makes sense because it is actually a device designed to be hung on the wall and from there to manage its different functions.

I have to say that I have not hung it, out of laziness, mainly because it requires a drill, screws and other logistics for which I was not prepared. But don’t worry because it also works supported on a table, for which a structure is needed that is sold separately.

And what does it offer? Well, when you turn it on, a series of widgets appear from which you can access the functions you want, just like on an Echo Show. Depending on how you want to configure it, you can download different Skills or use more common ones such as the weather, calendar, contacts and, here comes the interesting and novel thing, connected home widgets.

In my case I connected a Ring surveillance camera and a smart light bulb to test, but Echo Hub is compatible with Zigbee, Thread, Bluetooth and Matter devices, and with more than 10,000 smart cameras, lights, locks, plugs, thermostats, speakers and more…

Another important thing is that the smart home devices that connect to the panel do not need to be in the same room, but from this screen it is possible to control the entire house.

Furthermore, the latency, or the time it takes from when you press the button on the panel to activate the camera or turn on the light until it does so, is quite low, it does not attract attention. What is slower than what we are used to is the use of the panel itself, especially when trying to go fast. After all, it is not a tablet or a mobile phone.

Another interesting aspect of this screen is that it does not have cameras, what it does have are sensors that detect when the user approaches, which wakes up the panel to directly activate the main screen. In off mode, the panel can display an image with the time or directly act as a family photo frame.

The panel is touch-sensitive so its operation is very intuitive, but behind it is Amazon and its Echo brand, so Alexa voice control and everything that entails could not be missing. The truth is that Alexa works very well and is very useful for activating lights or directly knowing the time or playing a song, and I honestly believe that it provides a plus to this device that is interesting as a control panel, but even more so as a panel and speaker. Echo 2 in 1.

Another interesting thing when you have several groups in the digital home is to ask Alexa to move through the different rooms, for example asking her to go to the living room panel or the bedroom panel and there activate lights or whatever you want.

In addition, Echo Hub has a dual stereo speaker system, so if you have more Amazon speakers at home or compatible speakers, it can be used to create more surround sound, in addition to being able to control the speakers throughout the house with it. .

As a downside, it is a device connected by cable to the power, so if it is visible on the wall you will have to manage so that the cable is not very visible and, above all, put it near a plug. This problem also exists when putting it on a table. Maybe we have gotten used to wireless devices.

The Amazon Echo Hub is now available at a price of 199 euros.