Lots of reviewers say this second generation Echo Plus has superior sound quality and picks up voices much better than the first generation — probably because this model has seven microphones, beamforming technology, and noise cancellation, so it hears you from any direction — even while music is playing at a loud volume. It also has a built-in Zigbee hub to easily set up and control your compatible smart home devices, as well as a temperature sensor. It can also play music, answer questions, read the news, check the weather, set alarms, control compatible smart home devices, call/message almost anyone hands-free — and if there are other Echo devices in the house, you can drop in to those and make an announcement through them.
Promising review: "This Echo is really incredible! I can ask it to turn off my lights, play the music channels I frequent on Pandora, call my friends or family, ask what the weather forecast is for the next morning, so I can plan accordingly. Also, the sound that comes out of this unit is phenomenal! For its compact size it really packs a punch, even on the bass line. Can't say enough good things about it." —Mr. C
Get it from Amazon for $149.99 (available in three colors, and it comes with an optional free Hue smart bulb!).