CNET Smart Home
The new, cheaper Amazon Echo is more tempting than everWith all the smarts, an improved design, and a much lower price, the second-gen Amazon Echo could be a juggernaut this holiday season.
[MUSIC] Meet the brand new, second gen. Amazon Go Smart Speaker. It's a bit smaller than before and it comes in a variety of new looks thanks to these interchangeable... Shelves. There's an aux out jack in the back for connecting it with external speakers, but the volume ring is gone, replaced with volume buttons. As for the cost, Amazon cut it down to $99, $80 less than the original and $30 less than it's Chief rival, the Google Home Smart Speaker. Aside from the new design and that aux abject, there's really not much that's new here. You're getting the same voice-activated Alexa experience, the same library of skills, the same integrations with music Streaming services, and smart home gadgets. And to my ear, roughly the same sound quality as before. In some, there isn't a whole lot to dislike about the new Echo. It's the same picture as before, except that it looks a lot nicer and cost a lot less. The ability to connect it with the existing speed, which is a nice bounds But if that's what you're planning, you're still better off just spending 50 bucks on an Echo Dot. But what about the alternatives? After all, this is the first Echo device that's faced clear cut competition at launch, and I'm not just talking about Google. There's the Sonos One which offers Google Assistant and Alexa access plus Siri access next Next year, when AIRPLATE 2 arrives. Apple's own series speaker the HomePod gets here in December. And then there is Microsoft that has the Cortana-powered Invoke from Harmon-Carden. We're practically drowning in smart speakers these days. [MUSIC] Still, all of those alternatives cost at least twice as much as the new Echo and Alexa has the momentum thanks to a steady stream of updates and improvements. Improvements. Recent additions include Echo to Echo calling, along with the ability to distinguish between individual voices. New features are arriving all of the time, which helps keep things fresh and interesting. I also found that the new Echo sounds noticeably more powerful than the Google Home. Here, check out this clip from my test at the CNET Smart Home. [MUSIC] [MUSIC] If you've already got a first Gen Echo, there's really no reason to upgrade to a new one. That first Gen model can do everything that this one can do except connect with external speakers, but if your shopping for your new smart speaker, the new Echo is going to be tough to beat.