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Amazon's second-gen Echo Show looks sleeker, sounds much better

Amazon's updated Echo Show smart display has a sharper screen and much better sound.

Among the slew of new devices announced by Amazon at its September 2018 event is the Echo Show (second generation). 

Ry Crist/CNET

Amazon doubled down on its Echo Show franchise, announcing the $230 Echo Show (second generation) smart display (£220, AU$349). The retail giant made the move at a press event held today in Seattle. This revamped device includes a refined design, a larger touchscreen, plus improved speakers and a better interface.

Like the first Echo Show, the refreshed gadget is linked heavily into the Alexa voice assistant, but sound quality is a priority on this smart screen. Amazon says the new Show has a pair of 2-inch neodymium side-firing drivers along with beefed-up bass. This, according to Amazon, gives the second-gen Show improved audio with more volume and audio presence.

Amazon also gave the Show a better screen. It's now a 10-inch, full HD display, up from a 7-inch touchscreen on the previous mode, giving you effectively twice the display real estate.The new Show will also get native support for Amazon's Fire TV digital television platform. It will also work with Amazon's new digital TV tuner, the Fire TV Recast DVR product.

Amazon also showcased cooking directions on the new Show. You can now receive video instruction while preparing Amazon Meal Kits, which are mail-order meal packages are available through the AmazonFresh online grocery storefront. Additionally, Amazon has partnered with the guided cooking app SideChef. Using Echo Show devices, Alexa will be able to visually walk home cooks through SideChef's library of recipes while prepping meals.

This version of the Echo Show also has subtle refinements. Besides the bigger screen and enhanced audio, the back of the Show is soft fabric, like the new Echo Dot, and like the Google Home Mini before it. The Apple HomePod, along with Google's Home, Mini, and Max speakers all have similar treatments.

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Google's smart display platform offers many of the same features, as well as access to YouTube and the vast library of Google cloud services such as Google Search, Chrome Browser and the Play app and entertainment store. We especially like the Lenovo Smart Display. It combines powerful features, such as multitasking between touch and voice commands, guided cooking, with a handsome design.

You can preorder the second-generation Amazon Echo Show now, with a shipping date of Oct. 11.

Amazon Echo event live blog: Catch all the latest news, pictures and updates from CNET.

Amazon's new device lineup: Here's everything Amazon unveiled today.

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