Amazon is seriously stepping up its game this year with a bunch of new Echo speakers in its line of smart speakers. From the speaker-cum-video player Echo Show to the portable little Echo Spot, Amazon is definitely bringing a treat for fans. One notable release this year by the company in its smart speakers was the redesign and refurbished all new take on the original Echo speaker released back in 2015.
This speaker, simply called Echo now, is the 2nd generation of the first original smart speaker by Amazon. It does basically the same things as the original version did but it’s cheaper with a better design and a better sound system.
The fact that Amazon chose to redesign its original model is proof that the basic smart speaker without the integration of the LCD like in the Echo Show or battery powered and portable like the Echo Dot and Amazon Tap was much more popular among consumers. The first generation Echo speaker is no longer available to purchase on the Amazon website and this new version is the new Echo you can get now. We’re not complaining – it’s much more affordable anyway!
Amazon Echo Review (2nd Gen.)
A Brand New Body
Not to body shame the new device but the Echo 2nd generation is comparatively shorter and a lot stouter than the 1st generation speaker. This is an excellent design strategy made by Amazon because now the speaker can easily fit into shelves and cabinets. The original Echo, on the other hand, was too tall to comfortably sit inside tight shelves. Echo 2nd generation, owing to its larger surface area, is also less likely to lose balance and fall.
Other changes in the design of the 2nd generation Echo speaker include simpler control buttons for volume which have replaced the volume ring found in the 1st generation Echo smart speaker.
The Echo 2nd generation is available in a variety of colors and designs so you can choose the one that fits best against the interior of your room.
Overall, this brand new speaker is a lot more aesthetically pleasing than the Pringles shaped 2015 version. It’s smart, compact and much more manageable!
Audio System and Sound Quality
We had a lot of high hopes for this new speaker in terms of sound quality but unfortunately, there isn’t a major difference between the music experience we had with this one and the last version. Although now equipped with Dolby Digital speakers and a 2.5 inch woofer and 0.6 inch tweeter, the sound produced by the 2nd generation Echo device is pretty average to say the least.
The good part is that the Echo speaker supports connection with a larger, better speaker through a 3.5 audio outport at the back. Use an AUX cable to connect your Echo device to another speaker for a louder and crisper music experience. Alternatively, you can also connect your Echo 2nd generation to another Bluetooth speaker via Bluetooth for amplified sounds.
Echo Just Got Smarter
The 2nd generation Echo is equipped with seven far-field microphones that are ready to make the device come alive when the wake word is spoken. The microphones are spectacular as they can pick up your voice even with external background noise or when music is being played.
Alexa, Amazon’s smart voice assistant, is also back in this new version of the Echo smart speaker. Alexa has definitely gotten smarter and is bringing us new features. With Alexa, you can now control your smart home. These include your Amazon Fire TV, smart lights (by certain supported companies like Philips) and even control your smart locks.
Apart from smart home control, the voice assistant can also send text messages, receive and make calls to your loved ones and play your favorite music all at your command. The supported music streaming services by all Echo devices include Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Play Music, iHeartRadio, TuneIn and Apple Music.
Alexa can also be your best bedside companion. Set alarms and important reminders on your brand new Echo device. You can also make Alexa memorize and read out your shopping list, order your favorite fast food and book a ride from Uber. The voice assistant can also read out the latest sports updates for you and let you know the headlines from supported news channels.
Amazon Echo Review (2nd Gen.) – Verdict
If you’re looking for a smart speaker that does just what it’s supposed to do, the brand new Echo is a great option to consider. Sure, it has some downsides to it. The sound quality isn’t the best and there are other smart speakers that can produce better audio quality than the new Echo. But with excellent smart home automation and tons of tech features, Echo is definitely a smart speaker to own.
[Read: Amazon Echo Deals]
The cost of the new Echo 2nd generation is only $99 which is far less than the original listing price of the 1st generation Echo. Perhaps it’s the amazing price and the list of tech features that make the Echo so likeable.