In doing so, I stumbled across the Echo Plus , a product variant I hadn't heard of before. It looked just like the Echo, albeit with a slightly different sound signature that folks either marginally preferred or demurred. But here's the key; in exchange for a slightly higher price tag, it included a built-in Zigbee device controller (subject to 10-100 meter range, although the protocol is mesh-based for repeater-enabled network range extension). As such, it claims to replace (for example) the standalone Bridge device normally required to link a conventional Echo to Philips' Hue Zigbee-based LED lights (albeit with more limited functionality … according to reviews I've seen, the Echo Plus only supports elementary on/off functionality, not dimming, color-changing, or other Hue feature set enhancements handled by the Bridge).
What better way, I thought, to not only pick up a spare Echo but also do some hands-on Zigbee testing for the first time? Initially, I snagged a refurbished Echo Plus on sale (at the time) for $80.99 , supplementing it with a standalone Zigbee-supportive 60W-equivalent LED light bulb for an additional $9.99. Shortly thereafter, brand new units went on sale for $99.99 (a close-out special, I accurately surmised at the time … the fabric-swathed second-generation Echo Plus is now the only option available for sale brand new), complete with a free Philips Hue bulb, so I got one of these, too.
With a spare LED light bulb now in my possession, a teardown became a feasible option. Specifically, what I'll be dissecting today is Sengled's model E11-G13 , the Element Classic A19 “smart” bulb with 2700K soft white color temperature, currently sold on Amazon for $9.99 . I'll start out with some exterior packaging shots:
Here's the backside of that sliver of literature and a close-up of the bulb itself:
I fired up my heat gun to see if it might be able to cleanly separate the bulb's translucent plastic globe from the more robust base … no dice, all it did was deform the globe: