Nearly three years after the primary Amazon Echo was launched, Amazon has launched a redesigned good speaker. Only as a substitute of dealing with virtually no competitors, Google Home is ever rising, and Apple will quickly launch its HomePod good speaker to compete immediately with Amazon’s Echo lineup.
The sleeker $99 Amazon Echo nonetheless boasts the identical options we have come to anticipate from the Echo and Alexa. Only, it is cheaper and significantly better trying.
For the second-generation Echo, Amazon shrank the machine from a tall, black cylinder to a shorter, extra aesthetically interesting gadget. In addition to a extra compact dimension, Amazon additionally affords six totally different shells of various coloration and materials.
Amazon despatched me the Sandstone material mannequin, with a further Oak Finish shell. Removing a shell is completed by twisting the outside of the Echo and sliding it off. Installation follows the identical steps, simply in reverse.
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At this time, nevertheless, it would not seem Amazon is actively promoting shells for many who need to change up the Echo’s look once in a while.
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Measuring 5.9 x three.5 x three.5 inches and weighing a lowly 29oz, the brand new Echo does a much better job of mixing with its environment.
A light-weight ring nonetheless adorns the highest of the Echo, turning blue when the wake phrase is heard. The ring additionally lights up brilliant yellow, slowly flashing when you could have a pending notification. It might be a placebo impact, or as a result of base of the Echo being a distinct coloration, however the gentle ring appears brighter when in comparison with the unique Echo.
On high of the Echo are the quantity controls, an motion button, and a mute button.
Tucked behind the brand new exterior is a 2.5-inch woofer and zero.6-inch tweeter. The new sound system has a crisp sound high quality to it, when it comes to Alexa’s voice and when listening music. It’s not going to compete with higher-end audio system from the likes of Sonos, nevertheless it’s sufficient to fill a room with some tunes.
Amazon has continued so as to add new options to its Alexa platform because it first launched. More just lately, multi-room music, routines, and teams for good house integration have been a spotlight of the corporate.
With routines, you are able to do issues like say “Alexa, good morning” to the Echo to have your espresso pot powered on and lights turned on.
My household and I’ve loved utilizing multi-room music, which can play the identical track or station on a number of Echo units all through the house. As longtime Sonos customers, we have grown fond of getting music all through our house, as a substitute of being restricted to a single room.
After creating a bunch of Echos and giving it a reputation like “Upstairs,” a easy voice command of “Alexa, play music upstairs” will start enjoying an Amazon Music station on all acceptable Echos.
Another family favourite is asking Alexa to play a TV present on our tv utilizing a Fire TV. The children, particularly, respect having the ability to use a voice command and never should navigate by way of a grid of apps and reveals.
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Of course, the listing of Alexa expertise and options that the Echo has lengthy had entry to are nonetheless out there. Ask for climate updates, set reminders, create timers, or play trivia video games with the household — it is all there.
It was time
I by no means did buy the unique Echo, partly on account of not being satisfied I’d use it past setting timers =- to some extent that is nonetheless my main use case -= but additionally as a result of I did not like the way in which it seemed.
The thought of inserting the unique Echo on the TV stand in my lounge wasn’t interesting. And throughout that point, there was nothing forcing Amazon to rethink how the Echo seemed.
Then, Google launched Home with a clbady design, and Apple introduced the HomePod, which, in fact, has Apple’s design aptitude.
Amazon’s competitors was not solely getting smarter, nevertheless it was beginning to look higher. The second-generation Echo, nevertheless, retains tempo with opponents and lowers the value level on the identical time.
The second-generation Echo is a decent improve from the unique Echo, inside and outside.
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