Amazon Echo (2017)

8.1/10 AVG.
RATING

  • Amazon Echo (2017)
  • Amazon Echo (2017)
  • Amazon Echo (2017)
  • Amazon Echo (2017)
  • Amazon Echo (2017)
  • Amazon Echo (2017)

If you want to dip your toe into the world of Alexa, then the Echo will get you there.

- Chris Hall, Pocket-lint 


If you want the best way to use Alexa, the new Echo is it.

- Dan Seifert, The Verge 

Specs / Features


Echo connects to Alexa-a cloud-based voice service-to play music, make calls, set alarms and timers, ask questions, check your calendar, weather, traffic, and sports scores, manage to-do and shopping lists, control smart home devices, and more-instantly | Just ask for a song, artist, or genre from Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, and more. With multi-room music, you can play music on compatible Echo devices in different rooms. Echo can also play audiobooks, radio stations, news briefs, and more. | Call or message anyone hands-free with your Echo device. Also, instantly connect to other Echo dev... More

Echo connects to Alexa-a cloud-based voice service-to play music, make calls, set alarms and timers, ask questions, check your calendar, weather, traffic, and sports scores, manage to-do and shopping lists, control smart home devices, and more-instantly | Just ask for a song, artist, or genre from Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, and more. With multi-room music, you can play music on compatible Echo devices in different rooms. Echo can also play audiobooks, radio stations, news briefs, and more. | Call or message anyone hands-free with your Echo device. Also, instantly connect to other Echo devices in your home using just your voice. | Powerful speakers with Dolby processing that fill the room with immersive, 360° omnidirectional audio, and deliver crisp vocals and dynamic bass response | With seven microphones, beamforming technology, and noise cancellation, Echo hears you from any direction-even while music is playing | Just ask Alexa to control your compatible smart lights, thermostats, garage doors, sprinklers, and more | Alexa is always getting smarter and adding new features and skills. Just ask Alexa to control your TV, request an Uber, order a pizza, and more.

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Specification

Brand Amazon
Model XC56PY
Warranty 12 months
Release date 31-October-2017
Size 15 x 8.9 x 8.9 cm (5.9 x 3.5 x 3.5 in)
Weight 821.5 grams
(29 ounces)

The "1-Minute" Review

What's good

  • Interchangeable shells for customizability
  • Picks up commands even across a room
  • Auxiliary jack to connect to speaker system
  • Smaller design fits in better with home décor

What's bad

  • Weak bass
  • New routines feature limited
  • Not much of an update from original Echo

The original Echo was an innovation when released in 2014. Today, there are many more options for a smart home hub. Does the Echo hold up in today’s connected world?

Read more to find out what reviewers are saying!

When it comes to design, reviewers were much happier with its shorter and wider footprint compared to previous models. The new design allowed the Echo to blend in more seamlessly to their decor. Also, it also now comes with interchangeable shells so you can change up its appearance.

Aside from that, it keeps the same light near up top to indicate when it’s listening and show you the volume level. There’s also the control buttons up top that allow you to toggle the volume or microphone by hand if you don’t feel like issuing voice commands to Alexa.

One new feature is the auxiliary jack. This allows you to connect the Echo to other speakers for better audio quality.

While the Echo might look different on the outside, not too much has changed on the inside except for a new microphone array. It can hear so well, some critics had to warn guests not to say the Alexa command at all. They never had to yell or raise their voice, even when giving commands from a different room and, more often than not, it was able to complete requested tasks on the first try.

So what can Alexa do? It can control smart home devices (such as lamps or smart outlets), take notes, create shopping lists, buy items on Amazon, order pizza, and even order an Uber.

It can also learn routines. These are a group of actions the assistant carries out associated with a specific phrase. While useful, reviewers still found the feature limiting as it cannot do some basic things, such as turn off or stop music.

They also wish it could recognize multi-layered commands so they did not have to begin each question with Alexa.

The Echo isn’t just a smart assistant though, it’s also a speaker. It comes with a 0.6-inch tweeter and a 2.5-inch subwoofer. Together experts noticed a bump in audio quality from the original, though not a huge improvement.

While it had enough power to fill up a room, most were still let down by a lack of bass and overall thin sound quality. They suggest hooking it up to a better Bluetooth speaker or taking advantage of the auxiliary jack to hook it up to a more beefy speaker system.

For the most part, reviewers recommend the 2017 Echo for people who do not have the original. PC Magazine states, “…with better sound than the Echo Dot, this is clearly the Echo that most people should have in most rooms.” Engadget adds, “…for people who just want an Alexa-enabled speaker that looks good and does its job well, the second-generation Echo is a solid, affordable option.”

Critic Reviews


The Wirecutter

The smarter smart speaker

from The Wirecutter

The second generation of Amazon's Alexa-enabled speaker lets you control music, audiobooks, a wide assortment of smart home products, and thousands of unique Skills with voice commands.

Read full review

The second generation of Amazon's Alexa-enabled speaker lets you control music, audiobooks, a wide assortment of smart home products, and thousands of unique Skills with voice commands.

Read full review

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Ausdroid

Extremely easy to use, and well laid out

from Ausdroid

On its own, Alexa is intelligent and makes for an easy setup for families wanting to incorporate a digital assistant into their home. The setup of the device itself, and then configuring it using the app is extremely easy.

Read full review

On its own, Alexa is intelligent and makes for an easy setup for families wanting to incorporate a digital assistant into their home. The setup of the device itself, and then configuring it using the app is extremely easy.

Read full review

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Good Gear Guide

The original smart speaker makes an overdue debut

from Good Gear Guide

If you’re more smart-home savvy, invested in Amazon’s video and music streaming ecosystem or turned-off by the look of the Google Home, this might well be the smart speaker for you.

Read full review

If you’re more smart-home savvy, invested in Amazon’s video and music streaming ecosystem or turned-off by the look of the Google Home, this might well be the smart speaker for you.

Read full review

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Tech Guide

The power of Alexa to control your life, your music and your home

from Tech Guide

The Amazon Echo speakers are extremely useful tools to have in your home and they can become a useful addition to get things done, hear your favourite music and control your home.

Read full review

The Amazon Echo speakers are extremely useful tools to have in your home and they can become a useful addition to get things done, hear your favourite music and control your home.

Read full review

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iPhone in Canada

The future is here

from iPhone in Canada

It does the job for filling a room with sound for music, but won’t blow you away like a Sonos One. The Echo’s seven mics never fail to hear your voice and Alexa, with its growing number of skills, will get you the information you want whether it’s from the web or companies building skills.

Read full review

It does the job for filling a room with sound for music, but won’t blow you away like a Sonos One. The Echo’s seven mics never fail to hear your voice and Alexa, with its growing number of skills, will get you the information you want whether it’s from the web or companies building skills.

Read full review

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iMore

Capable smart speaker that performs within its price range

from iMore

If you don't need a smart home hub — and for all the stuff I have rigged up in my house, I don't have it all going through a single hub — I'd just go for the $99 Amazon Echo. It's a decent speaker that sounds better than the original Echo and does so at a good price.

Read full review

If you don't need a smart home hub — and for all the stuff I have rigged up in my house, I don't have it all going through a single hub — I'd just go for the $99 Amazon Echo. It's a decent speaker that sounds better than the original Echo and does so at a good price.

Read full review

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The Guardian

Smaller, cheaper and better

from The Guardian

The new 2017 Amazon Echo is an absolute bargain at £80. Alexa is still the best voice assistant for smart home control, still hears you better than any other over noise and music, and is still getting better with feature updates and improvements behind the scene.

Read full review

The new 2017 Amazon Echo is an absolute bargain at £80. Alexa is still the best voice assistant for smart home control, still hears you better than any other over noise and music, and is still getting better with feature updates and improvements behind the scene.

Read full review

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ZDNet

More of the same, only better

from ZDNet

The second-generation Echo is a respectable upgrade from the original Echo, inside and out.

Read full review

The second-generation Echo is a respectable upgrade from the original Echo, inside and out.

Read full review

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Pocket-lint

Cheaper price, cheaper experience

from Pocket-lint

The second-gen Echo steals headlines with a more compact design and a cheaper price point. It's difficult to ignore the £90 price, especially compared to the £149 of the original. But comparing the new to the old, the experience also feels cheapened. The new Echo is not as good as the old Echo, it's as simple as that.

Read full review

The second-gen Echo steals headlines with a more compact design and a cheaper price point. It's difficult to ignore the £90 price, especially compared to the £149 of the original. But comparing the new to the old, the experience also feels cheapened. The new Echo is not as good as the old Echo, it's as simple as that.

Read full review

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Ars Technica

Alexa isn’t niche anymore

from Ars Technica

The new Echo feels less like an experiment and more like a home for a sophisticated AI assistant. The Echo's design should fit even more nicely into your home's decor while providing decent audio quality for music, audiobooks, calls, and more. There's nothing wrong with the new Ec...More

The new Echo feels less like an experiment and more like a home for a sophisticated AI assistant. The Echo's design should fit even more nicely into your home's decor while providing decent audio quality for music, audiobooks, calls, and more. There's nothing wrong with the new Echo's design, albeit some may find its new upholstery boring or cliché.

Read full review

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