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Alexa is back with a brand-new Echo smart speaker -- and a much lower price point. Click through and we'll show you everything that's new.

Published:Caption:Photo:Tyler Lizenby/CNET

New design

The new Echo is shorter and slightly wider than the original.

Published:Caption:Photo:Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Buttons up top

It also ditches the volume ring of the original, and replaces it with the volume buttons of the Echo Dot.

Published:Caption:Photo:Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Aux-out jack

The new Echo also features an aux-out jack for connecting it with external speakers -- another similarity with the Echo Dot. You can also connect with your existing audio setup via Bluetooth.

Published:Caption:Photo:Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Shells

The Echo now comes in a variety of new designs, complete with removable "shells."

Published:Caption:Photo:Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Woodgrain

By default, you get a fabric shell in your choice of three shades of gray. For an extra $20, your Echo can come in a hard-bodied silver shell, or a woodgrain shell in oak or walnut.

Published:Caption:Photo:Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Push Pop

To remove a shell, just press through a hole in the bottom to push the internal hardware up out the top.

Published:Caption:Photo:Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Google should be flattered?

With the new, squat stature and the interchangeable shells, the Echo seems designed to compete more directly with the Google Home smart speaker.

Published:Caption:Photo:Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Smarts

The new Echo isn't launching with any new, major features or integrations. Instead, Amazon gave Alexa's smart home controls a tune-up, with new "routines" that let you trigger multiple devices with a single command. You'll also be able to tell your Echo devices what rooms they're in, so when you say "Alexa, turn the lights off," she knows to turn the lights off in that room. All of the refinements are coming soon via app update.

Published:Caption:Photo:Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Sound quality

The new Echo's speaker is very similar to the original, and it sounds similar, too. We had a hard time telling the two Echoes apart in our tests.

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Price

The new Echo starts at $100 -- down from $180. That's a big price cut for a device that's demonstrably better than the original. Read our full review to see if we think it's a must-buy.

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