Skip to main content
Loading...

Featured Post

Amazon to start its biggest Black Friday sale yet on 16 November

Amazon's Black Friday Sale 2018 is to be its biggest yet, running from 16 November to the 25th. Here's what you need to know.
Amazon is all set for its biggest Black Friday sale yet with ten days of discounts on electronics, toys, games, fashion, beauty and home products. Black Friday deals begin 16 November and end on the 25th.

Amazon Echo 2 Review

Amazon Echo 2 Review
PRICE WHEN REVIEWED
  • $99.99
The first-gen Amazon Echo was the first smart speaker available in the UK, but a year on the choice is much broader. Google now has a range of Home speakers which covers just about all budgets (and matches the Echo Dot at £49) while Apple has finally launched the high-end HomePod.


The Echo 2 is essentially a shrunk-down version of the original with softer, less industrial styling at a lower price. It has interchangeable shells which allow you to change your mind about its colour or finish: there are fabric, metal-effect and wooden options. Sound familiar? That’s because it’s exactly what you can do with the Google Home.

WHAT IS THE PRICE OF THE ECHO 2?
The original Echo (now discontinued) cost £149.99, so £89.99 for the second-generation model is a good deal indeed. You can buy an Echo 2 from Amazon, of course.

There are differences which we’ll get into in a moment.

Don’t forget there are other Echos to choose between, including the new Echo Plus (£139.99) and Echo Show (£199.99).

In a YouGov survey published in April 2018, it was revealed that Amazon's Echo family holds 75% of the UK smart speaker market.

HOW IS THE ECHO 2 DIFFERENT FROM THE ORIGINAL?
Although similar in features, the second-gen Echo has been completely redesigned. It’s still a cylinder – a little bigger than a pint glass – but it’s a much nicer-looking gadget to put on a bedside table or shelf.
Gone is the volume ring at the top, replaced by volume buttons, a la Echo Dot. There are seven little holes at the top for the array of microphones, plus a mic-mute button and an action button, which can be used for silencing alarms among other things.

The mics have been improved for better voice recognition, and they work better when music is playing at higher volumes. Amazon says they’re better at beamforming (working out where your voice is coming from) and noise cancelling, to better hear what you’re saying when there’s other noise in the room.

Speakers are also new: there’s a 2.5in woofer as before, but a new, smaller tweeter. You can see these when you pop the shell off, a simple process of grasping the body and pushing in the centre underneath.

The power connector is on the side rather than underneath, but a bigger change is the addition of a 3.5mm minijack aux output. This means you can plug in a speaker which doesn’t have Bluetooth.

The Echo 2 still works as a Bluetooth speaker like the original, too.

Alexa’s capabilities have improved somewhat since last year, and the Echo 2 benefits from these as well as all the features added throughout the year, such as multi-room audio and voice calling and messaging.

What this means is that the Echo 2 is no more or less capable than the original – or the £49.99 Echo Dot. They can all do the same things.

Performance
The microphones do seem to work better than on the original Echo and Echo Dot, specifically when there are other people talking or the Echo 2 is already playing music loudly.

I couldn’t really notice any difference in how well it recognised the ‘Alexa’ wake word, although it could be that there are less ‘false positives’. First-gen devices often respond when they hear something that sounds like Alexa, but isn’t.

You might have read that the Echo 2 sounds worse than the original Echo. However, while that was true when it first launched, Amazon was quick to push out a software update which noticeably improved things.

Before the update, the Echo 2 lacked bass and vocals weren't quite as crisp as the original. However, after the update bass is considerably better. Now, you can hear the basslines in tracks such as Daft Punk's Get Lucky, and there's much more bass kick in Calvin Harris' Feels. 

The Echo 2 also sounds good if you’re listening to a podcast or your Flash Briefing.

Admittedly, you can get similar sound quality from a £40 Bluetooth speaker such as the Aukey Eclipse but that's missing the point: the Echo 2 is all about Alexa and voice control. And with Amazon constantly improving her and adding new capabilities, it's a great buy.

Comments

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Loading...

Popular posts from this blog

LG G5 Review In-Depth

Can LG take on the Galaxy S7 with a metal design, dual-cameras and an accessory slot? Here's our first LG G5 review, focusing on LG G5 design and build, LG G5 specs, LG G5 cameras and LG G5 software and apps.
Alongside the Galaxy S7, the LG G5 is one of the biggest phones (not literally) to launch in 2016 – and we're not just talking in the Android world. It's one of the heavyweights and LG will be looking to set the market alight with the G5's alternative and innovative modular design.

2019 BMW i8 Review

The 2019 BMW i8 is a head-turner for its looks, which hides its plug-in powertrain. That’s good or bad, depending on your priorities.Even among six-figure cars with two doors, the 2019 BMW i8 steals stares. That could be because of the dramatic wing doors and futuristic shape, its laser headlights at night, or the 2019 i8’s silent propulsion for up to 18 miles.
Or it may steal attention because, even after more than four years on sale, it’s a very rare sight.

Apple iPhone XR Review

If you aren't sure you are ready to leave the Home button behind and embrace Face ID, think again. We'll tell you why the iPhone XR is worth the sacrifice - especially because it's just as good (if not better than) the iPhone XS. Find out more in out full review.
Should I Buy The Apple iPhone XR?
The iPhone XR brings Face ID to the masses. We’re sure people will continue to rebel against the lack of Home button, but eventually we expect them to come round and embrace the larger screen, Portrait mode (front and back), animoji and memoji.We have no doubt that this will be a popular iPhone and it deserves to be. The only question is why would anyone buy an iPhone XS when the iPhone XR is just as powerful and has a bigger screen.

Oppo RX17 Pro Review: Hands-on

We had time with Oppo’s new RX17 Pro. It may be blue and purple but how different is it to the similar OnePlus 6T and is it worth your time?
Should I Buy The Oppo RX17 Pro?
Oppo has made a solid mid-range phone in the RX17 Pro. Build quality is premium, fast charging is industry-best fast and the display is of high quality.But the price is high at 599€ considering the OnePlus 6T with a better processor starts at £499/€529. And while functioning as it’s supposed to, ColorOS is still unrefined for the western market with far too many changes to Android to recommend over competitors.

Google Pixel Review

Not everyone wants a phone with a big screen, but most small-screen phones compromise on performance and cameras. Not so with Google’s latest flagship Android phone: Here’s our Google Pixel review.
Joining the ranks of the Pixel C and Chromebook Pixel are Google’s new Pixel phones. We’re reviewing the smaller 5in Pixel here, but you can read our separate Pixel XL review if you’re after a bigger phone.

Like Fan Page