Amazon Echo 2nd Generation Review

Amazon Echo 2nd Generation Review

Product: Amazon Echo 2nd Generation

Price: $99.90

Cheapest Place to Buy: Amazon.com

Guarantee: 1 Year Limited Warranty

Overall Rank: 4.5 Out of 5

This is a tough spot. The Amazon Echo 2nd Generation is definitely a lot better than the first generation and outranks the Dot by a good bit. I like the device, but it doesn’t quite have the ‘wow’ factor of the Show or Spot, nor does it have all the cool integrated toys of the Echo Pro. As such, this is a firm fourth place in Amazon’s excellent Alexa ecosystem.

 

Product Description

The second-generation Echo is a smart-speaker, one of those tech descriptions that feels like it could really mean anything. For the average person, that means that the Echo is a speaker connected up to Alexa, Amazon’s A.I. personal assistant. It’s essentially a speaker-bound version of Siri or Cortana, but made to work with Amazon’s ecosystem of products. Generally marketed as a speaker, I’ve found that playing music is really the least of the device’s capabilities.

 

 

The commercials for the Echo are really good at showing what it can do. Need to know the weather? Ask Alexa. Want to play Jeopardy? Ask Alexa. Want to get the scores for the big game? Same thing. With some really nice voice-recognition technology and speakers that are way louder than I ever expected, it’s a handy little device that also happens to play music at the same time.

As you can see there’s a lot of love here. In fact, there’s thousands of reviews on Amazon about this product and almost all are overwhelming positive. If you want to see what other custer are saying about this product, Click Here!

 

 

Pros & Cons of the 2nd Generation Echo

I like the 2nd Generation Echo quite a bit if you can’t already tell. That doesn’t mean that it is perfect, though. There are a lot of really good points that I’ve found through using the device, but there are also quite a few things that I hope will be changed in the next iteration. I think it’s vital to know both before you spend any money on the device.

I absolutely love the speaker on this thing. It’s not just loud – it’s crisp. If you’re having a party or just trying to listen to some music while you’re cooking, it’s great. I’m sure that audio snobs can point out exactly why the speaker isn’t great, but most people are going to love the quality of sound that you get out of the device. It’s got enough bass to feel right without overwhelming the room, but the highs are honestly clear enough that you’ll want to use your Echo to stream music instead of your dedicated devices.

The voice recognition is also a lot better than what you’d expect. If you’ve ever spent time trying to use a speech-to-text program on a computer, you know that figuring out human speech isn’t exactly something that most PCs do well. Fortunately, the Echo makes use of some great technology and some very sensitive microphones to help make sure that it understands almost everything that you say. Honestly, you’ll be surprised by what it manages to pick up sometimes. It’s also useful even if you’re already across the room, so there’s no shouting necessary if you’re trying to use the device to do something specific.

I did also enjoy the sheer number of cool tricks you can do with the device. Want to play sounds from your favorite show? They’re probably in a Skill. Need directions? Just ask. I have found that most of the information I want online is easier to get from Alexa than a Google search, so it’s been really life-changing.

I wish the microphone was a little better at picking up speech, though. It has a difficulty with accents and it won’t pick up higher-pitched voices quite as well as lower-pitched voices. It has a hard time responding to some commands, which is not surprising. I only mention it because it happens rarely, but it will make you frustrated when your Echo starts playing NPR instead of setting up your white noise for the night. The system is generally good, but the flaws make every problem seem a lot more glaring.

Way worse than any mic problems is the Amazon Echo Skill ecosystem. While it’s nice that there are so many good applications for the device, the bulk of what is available is honestly awful. You’ll have to wade through a huge store to get what you want, and Amazon will still try to default to using its own products. This isn’t bad when you’re trying to order something online, but you’ll get tired of having to specify that you want a song played via Spotify instead of through Amazon’s own streaming service. The more specific you want to get with the device’s options, the more problems you’ll have with the skill store.

Finally, there’s the fact that the device is rapidly becoming outdated. It’s the second iteration of a good device, but Amazon’s new products now have video screens and better smart-home hub integration. That’s not a fault with this device, but it’s hard not to feel like you’re dealing with something that Amazon has already left in the dust.

 

Price

The second generation Echo has hit a bit of a price drop, with a typical retail price of around ninety-nine dollars. While that’s pretty cheap for a smart speaker, you should probably be aware that it goes on sale all the time. Amazon likes to discount its own toys whenever it has a big sale, so you can easily grab one of these devices for twenty-five dollars less if you’re willing to wait for a Prime Day, Black Friday, or even for the odd Gold Box sale.

Guarantee

YES. The 2nd Generation Echo comes equipped with a 1 year limited warranty from Amazon. You can also by a longer warranty when you purchase the device. You will be dealing with Amazon’s customer service and warranty department if you do have a problem, which I have always found to be fairly easy.

 

Product Specifications

Size: 5.8 inches by 3.4 inches by 3.4 inches
Weight: 29 ounces
Wi-Fi: 802.11 a/b/g/n
Bluetooth: Yes; does not support devices requiring a PIN code
Audio: 2.5 in woofer, .6 inch tweeter
OS: Compatible with Android, iOS, and FireOS

 

 

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