Amazon announced its second-generation Echo at an event last month in Seattle, along with a number of other Alexa products. And now the Echo is finally available and shipping. The "all new" Amazon Echo is a smaller Echo than the original, and also has its audio tuned by Dolby, although initial reviews have stated that it's not as good as many would have expected. Like the Echo Dot, however, you can still plug in another speaker to it and get better audio.
The second generation Echo is available in a few different finishes, instead of being stuck with just black or white like the original. Amazon offers it in three different fabric covers, two wood covers and then a silver cover that is metal like the original Echo and the new Echo Plus that is also launching today. As usual, the Echo can play music over WiFi as well as Bluetooth. There are a ton of music streaming services already supported by Alexa, to allow for WiFi streaming, including Spotify, iHeart Radio, Google Play Music and of course Amazon Music Unlimited. Since there is Bluetooth support, you can also opt to stream music from unsupported services as well.
Alexa and the Echo have been known for being great for controlling your smart home, and that is still the case with the Amazon Echo with this generation. Alexa can control a number of different products from Wemo, LIFX, Eufy (Anker's sub-brand), Philips Hue, Nest, and many more. So that you are able to say "Alexa, tell the Neato BotVac Connected to start cleaning" or something similar for turning off the lights. Alexa skills have continued to improve, and the database has grown quite a bit. There are now over 10,000 skills available for Alexa. A number of them are smart home related, but there are some other great ones available, including some podcast and news ones, so you can get your news delivered while you are having your morning coffee.
The Amazon Echo is shipping now for $99, and Amazon is still running a sale where if you buy three Amazon Echo's, you can get $50 off (effectively getting you three for $250) with the promo code ECHO3PACK. That is only available for a limited time though.Buy the Amazon Echo (2nd Generation)