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Amazon Echo (2nd Generation)

Voice-activated speaker with Alexa virtual assistant (Heather Grey Fabric)

6 Reviews

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Overview

Our take on the Amazon Echo (2nd Generation)

The original Amazon Echo speaker was a breakthrough product — it quickly got many of us accustomed to using voice control in the house. But that tall, techy-looking cylinder really stuck out when you placed it in the middle of the living room. Since we've now welcomed Alexa as part of our home, Amazon redesigned this next-generation Echo to blend more neatly into all types of décor.

Amazon Echo

Amazon designed the next-gen Echo (pictured in Sandstone) to fit in better with your furnishings.

Alexa voice-control from a restyled speaker

The original Amazon Echo speaker was a breakthrough product — it quickly got many of us accustomed to using voice control in the house. But that tall, techy-looking cylinder really stuck out when you placed it in the middle of the living room. Since we've now welcomed Alexa as part of our home, Amazon redesigned this next-generation Echo to blend more neatly into all types of décor.

Each compact speaker includes a removable outer "shell" that's splashed in low-key, muted tones. But don't worry, you still get the same Alexa voice assistant treatment and the already iconic "pretty blue light." Order pizza, ask questions, or control smart home devices — all hands-free.

Call out your song requests

Our favorite use for Alexa voice control? Has to be music. If you want the Echo to play some background tunes, just say "Alexa," and tell it what you want to hear. It's easy to select songs and playlists. Tell Alexa to mix and match from Pandora®, Spotify®, Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, and more.

And when you need more volume? Say, "Alexa, turn it up." You can even group two or more Echo speakers together to play the same song in different rooms.

How to get better sound from your Echo

I mentioned in my article Voice Control for your Home Stereo that convenience is only part of the story here at Crutchfield. We always ask ourselves: how can we get better sound? One way is using the Amazon Echo's built-in Bluetooth transmitter. It lets you send audio wirelessly to any Bluetooth-enabled speaker, sound bar, or home theater receiver.

This made for a clean setup when we paired an Echo wirelessly with the powerful Klipsch R-15PM powered speakers. I found it more convenient than a wired connection. You can sit in your favorite chair and request songs without having to shout across the room to where your speakers are set up.

Alexa blue light

On the top panel, you'll find optional touch controls and Alexa's responsive blue light.

Have a Sonos system in your house?

Sonos recently added Alexa voice control. So if you have Sonos speakers and add the Echo (or the smaller Echo Dot), you can tell Alexa what to play in each room. Or say, "Alexa, play my Tom Petty playlist in the whole house."

Hands-free control over smart devices

But it's not only about music. Alexa can control smart home lights, switches, and thermostats from companies like WemoPhilips HueSamsung SmartThingsNest, and more. You set everything up with the Alexa app, a free download for your Fire OS, Android™, or Apple® device.

Always getting smarter

Alexa can answer questions, read audiobooks to you, and give you sports scores. Amazon refers to these types of abilities as "skills." Just ask, and you might be surprised what Alexa can do — order food, check the weather —  more and more skills are added all the time.

And since this speaker is connected to the cloud, Alexa can learn something new in the blink of an eye.

Product Highlights:

  • powered wireless speaker that connects to your home Wi-Fi® network
  • stream music, perform tasks, and control compatible smart devices with your voice
    • use the word "Alexa" to start a voice-activated command
  • low-profile design to fit into your furnishings
  • array of seven built-in microphones picks up voice commands from all directions
  • Dolby processing for full 360° sound
  • dual speaker design:
    • 2-1/2" down-firing woofer with reflex port
    • 5/8" up-firing tweeter
  • 2-way Bluetooth for wireless music streaming and transmitting
    • send audio wirelessly to a Bluetooth-enabled stereo or speaker
Alexa Voice Control:
  • "Voice profile" recognizes different voices for personalized answers
    • each person can sync their calendar, news preferences, and Amazon Music profile to their voice
  • make hands-free calls and dictate messages
  • wirelessly stream from Spotify, Pandora, TuneIn, IHeartRadio, Amazon Music, and other online music services
    • multiple Amazon Alexa devices can be grouped together so you can play the same song in every room
  • free Alexa App is compatible with Fire OS, Android, and iOS devices and also accessible via your web browser
  • access to Alexa skills, such as news updates, weather reports, smart home commands, and more
General Info and Specs:
  • must be connected to Wi-Fi for Alexa voice control
  • microphone mute button lets you choose when Alexa is listening
  • +/- buttons let you control volume manually
  • 3.5mm stereo input for connecting a portable music player
  • requires AC power (power cord included)
  • 3-1/2"W x 5-7/8"H x 3-1/2"D
  • weight: 1.8 lbs.
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

What's in the Box:

  • Voice-activated powered speaker
  • AC power adapter (attached 69" DC cord)
  • Quick Start Guide
  • "Ask Alexa" booklet

After seeing how the Amazon Echo worked at a friend's home recently, we knew we wanted one. Very happy with it and still learning everything Alexa can do.

Linda, Tulsa, OK

Reviews

Amazon Echo (2nd Generation) Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(6 Reviews)

Amazon Echo

Linda from Tulsa, OK on 1/16/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

After seeing how the Amazon Echo worked at a friend's home recently, we knew we wanted one. Very happy with it and still learning everything Alexa can do.

Pros: Great addition to our home

Cons: So much to learn

Amazon Echo (2nd Generation)

Anonymous from Lewes, DE on 1/13/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Bought this for my daughter for christmas and she loves it she said she plays it every night while shes making dinner and it sound great.She tells me its the best.

Pros:

Cons:

Amazon Echo (2nd Generation)

Anonymous from Palmyra, MO on 1/1/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Ordered for my wife for Christmas and she loves it. Still trying to figure it all out and what it can do.

Pros: Looks great and sounds great.

Cons:

Amazon Echo (2nd Generation)

Anonymous from Lynchburg, TN on 12/31/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Great product

Pros:

Cons:

Simple intergration

Marty from Oklahoma City, OK on 12/27/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Very easy to setup control. Alexa is controlling all of my Sonos ,Samsung smart T.V. S and my ecobee thermostats. Works well with all these products..

Pros: Ease of setup

Cons: Non so far

Amazon Echo (2nd Generation)

Anonymous from Bothell, WA on 12/24/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

It's great to have Alexa as part of my household. The speaker has good quality sound. No complains at all!

Pros:

Cons:

Details

Hands-on research

Product Research

Features

Voice-Activated Powered Speaker: The Amazon Echo (2nd gen) is a hands-free speaker you control with your voice. Echo (2nd gen) connects to the Alexa Voice Service to play music, make calls, set alarms and timers, control smart home devices, and provide information regarding news, sports scores, weather, and more.

360° Omni-Directional Sound: The Amazon Echo (2nd gen) with Dolby processing has been fine-tuned to deliver crisp vocals with dynamic bass response. Its two-way driver design produce 360° omni-directional audio to fill any room with immersive sound. An upward-firing 0.625" tweeter delivers crisp highs, while a down-firing 2.5" woofer produces deep midbass response.

Built-In WiFi (MIMO): The Amazon Echo (2nd gen) comes ready to connect to your home's WiFi network. It features Dual-band (2.4GHz/5GHz), dual-antenna MIMO WiFi (802.11a/b/g/n) for faster streaming and fewer dropped connections than standard WiFi. It does not support connecting to ad-hoc (or peer-to-peer) WiFi.

Alexa Voice Service: When you want to use the Echo (2nd gen), simply say the wake word, "Alexa," and the Echo (2nd gen) lights up and streams audio to the cloud, where the Alexa Voice Service is leveraged to recognize and respond to your request instantly. Once you say "Alexa", the audio stream includes a fraction of a second of audio before the wake word, and closes once your question or request has been processed. Alexa (the brain behind Echo) is built in the cloud, so it is always getting smarter. The more you use Echo (2nd gen), the more it adapts to your speech patterns, vocabulary, and personal preferences.

  • Voice Profile: Voice Profiles give you the ability to teach Alexa your voice. Now when you then interact with your compatible devices, Alexa creates a personalized experience for you and each user in your home who creates a Voice Profile.
  • Wake Word: When the Amazon Echo (2nd gen) detects the "Alexa" wake word, the light ring around the top of Amazon Echo (2nd gen) turns blue to indicate that the Amazon Echo (2nd gen) is streaming audio to the Cloud. If you'd like, you can give each Alexa device (Echo (2nd gen) or Echo (2nd gen) Dot) a distinct name.
  • Wake-Up Sound: You can also enable a "wake-up sound", a short audible tone that plays after the wake word "Alexa" is recognized to indicate that the device is streaming audio.
  • End-Of-Request Sound: You can also enable an "end-of-request sound" that will play a short audible tone at the end of your request, to indicate that the connection has closed and the device is no longer streaming audio.
Note: Alexa is developed to get better over time. Alexa uses your voice recordings and other information, including from third-party services, to answer your questions, fulfill your requests, and improve your experience and our services. When you set up the Echo (2nd gen) or link third-party services with Alexa, Alexa begins processing some information, such as your music playlists. You can also help Alexa improve its voice services by providing feedback within History or by using Voice Training in the Alexa App.

Far-Field Voice Recognition: Tucked under its light ring is an array of seven microphones that use beam-forming technology and enhanced noise cancellation. With far-field voice recognition, the Echo (2nd gen) can hear you ask a question from any direction - even while playing music. When you want to use Echo (2nd gen), just say the wake word "Alexa" and the Echo (2nd gen) responds instantly.

Note: You can turn the Amazon Echo's microphone off by pushing the microphone on/off button on the top of the device. When the microphone on/off button turns red, the microphone is off. The device will not respond to the wake word, nor respond to the action button, until you reactivate the microphone by pushing the microphone on/off button again.

ESP (Echo Spatial Perception): If you have more than one Echo or Echo Dot, Alexa responds intelligently from the Echo you're closest to with ESP (Echo Spatial Perception).

Note: You cannot connect multiple Alexa devices to each other and play the same requested audio at the same time.

Alexa Calling & Messaging: Now you can quickly call and send/receive voice messages for your family and friends via Alexa-all just by using your voice. You can send and receive Alexa messages, as well as place and receive Alexa calls, between Echo (2nd gen), Echo (2nd gen) Dot, Echo (2nd gen) Plus, Echo (2nd gen) Spot and Echo (2nd gen) Show, as well as the Alexa App. You can place outbound calls to most phone numbers in the United States, Canada, and Mexico using the Echo (2nd gen), Echo (2nd gen) Dot, Echo (2nd gen) Spot, Echo (2nd gen) Show and Echo (2nd gen) Plus.

  • Calling: You can use supported Echo (2nd gen) devices and the Alexa App to call another person who has registered for Alexa Calling & Messaging, or place an outbound call to most phone numbers in the United States, Canada, and Mexico for free. When you receive Alexa calls on your supported Echo (2nd gen) devices, Alexa will tell you that you have an incoming call and identify the caller. You also will see a rotating green light ring on Echo (2nd gen), Echo (2nd gen) Plus and Echo (2nd gen) Dot devices, and an incoming call screen on Echo (2nd gen) Show and Echo (2nd gen) Spot. You can say "Alexa, answer" to pick up the call. Either person can end the call by saying "Alexa, hang up." When you receive a call, you also will receive a notification on your mobile phone and will see an incoming call screen in the Alexa App that lets you answer the call.
  • Messaging: You can use supported Echo (2nd gen) devices and the Alexa App to send voice and text messages to another person who has registered for Alexa Calling & Messaging. Messages are processed in the Cloud to convert voice messages to text, and vice versa. When you receive a message on a supported Echo (2nd gen) device, you will hear an audio tone and see a visual notification. You will be able to retrieve the message on your supported Echo (2nd gen) devices by saying "Alexa, play my messages." When you receive a message, you also will receive a notification on your mobile phone, and you will be able to view and play the message in the Alexa App. Alexa messaging does not support sending or receiving text messages to or from phone numbers.
  • Drop-In: The optional Drop In feature will let you easily connect with your closest friends and family that have supported Echo (2nd gen) devices. When someone drops in on your supported Echo (2nd gen) device, you will hear an audio tone and see a visual indicator that someone is dropping in on you. The contact on the other side of the Drop In will automatically hear audio through your device.
Notes:
  • Alexa Calling & Messaging supports receiving Alexa calls only; it does not support inbound calls from phone numbers.
  • You cannot call 911 and other emergency services using Alexa.

Music Apps: The Amazon Echo (2nd gen) provides hands-free voice control for Amazon Music, Pandora, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, Spotify Connect, & SiriusXM. You can also upload your personal music collection from iTunes, Google Play Music, and more to your music library on Amazon and then stream your music through your Alexa device. Simply ask for your favorite artist or song, or request a specific genre or mood. You can also search for music by lyrics, when a song or album was released, or let Alexa pick the music for you.

Note: The Amazon Echo (2nd gen) supports Spotify Connect (requires Spotify Premium subscription), which allows you to play music on the Echo (2nd gen) and use the Spotify app on your phone or tablet as a remote.

Multi-Room Music: Multi-Room Music allows you to play and control music from Amazon, Amazon Unlimited, Amazon Prime, and some other 3rd-pary music providers across multiple, compatible Echo devices at the same time. You can tell Alexa to play music across your compatible Echo devices on the same WiFi network. Tell Alexa to play jazz in the kitchen, top pop in the family room, or play the same song throughout your whole home. To stream different music on multiple devices or on more than one Multi-Room Music group at the same time, you must have an Amazon Music Unlimited Family plan.

Home Entertainment Control: Amazon Alexa now offers home entertainment skills for select multiroom audio systems - including  Sonos, Heos by Denon, & Yamaha MusicCast (all sold separately). You'll be able to control key functions of these systems by simply using voice commands.

Smart Home: The Amazon Echo (2nd gen) works with devices such as lights, switches, thermostats, and more from WeMo, Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings, Insteon, Nest, ecobbe, Wink, and more. Control multiple devices at scheduled times or with a single voice command, like locking the doors and turning off the lights when you go to bed. Some products work directly with Alexa and other smart home ecosystems require a compatible hub.

  • Lighting: With the Amazon Echo (2nd gen) and Alexa, you can control lighting products using your voice, smartphone, or tablet.
  • Outlets: With the Echo (2nd gen), Alexa, and smart outlets, you can control electronics and appliances using your voice, smartphone, or tablet.
  • Thermostats: With the Echo (2nd gen), Alexa, and compatible thermostats, you can control the temperature of your home using your voice, smartphone, or tablet.
  • Door Locks: With the Echo (2nd gen) and Alexa you can control compatible door locks using your voice, smartphone, or tablet.

IFTTT: The Echo (2nd gen) with Alexa supports IFTTT, or "IF This, Then That," a third-party service that automates how your devices, apps, and websites work with each other through rules (or "Applets"). After you activate an Applet through the IFTTT website, Alexa can then trigger that IFTTT Applet when you interact with the Echo (2nd gen).

Note: Currently, the Echo (2nd gen) and Alexa can't be the action in an Applet. For example, you can't allow Alexa to notify you of new tweets on your Twitter account.

Amazon Prime Shopping: If you're a Prime member, Alexa has exclusive deals for you every day on everything from home goods to electronics. Amazon Prime members can ask the Echo (2nd gen) through "Alexa" to order eligible products ordered before, many Prime products, and digital music tracks and albums. Your default payment and shipping settings will be used to place your order. You can require a speakable confirmation code, turn purchasing off, and see product and order details in your Alexa App. Just like orders placed through Amazon.com, orders placed through Alexa are subject to Amazon's Conditions of Use & Privacy Notice.

News & Information: The Amazon Echo (2nd gen) with Alexa can help you stay connected to the news that matters most to you - like world & local news, traffic, weather, sports, and movie times.

  • Flash Briefing: Flash Briefing lets you put together a personalized lineup of updates from news sources like NPR, CNN, Fox News, and CNET. If you've set up a voice profile, Alexa recognizes your voice and can catch you up on the latest without repeating old news.
  • Traffic & Weather: Alexa can help you get ready for your day. Set your commute start and stop point, and Alexa can tell you how long your commute will take. Or ask Alexa how the weather's looking.
  • Sports & Movies: Get scores and schedules for the major football, basketball, baseball, hockey, and soccer leagues or set up a personalized Sports Update to keep tabs on your favorite teams. Alexa can even tell you movie show-times at theaters near you.

Questions & Answers + Fun & Games: The Echo (2nd gen) with Alexa taps into Yelp to provide you with info on local restaurants, shops, and other businesses. It also makes a great calculator and dictionary. You can even get fast facts on all type of topics from Wikipedia. Alexa also offers funny jokes and fun games for the family.

Alexa App: With the free Alexa App on Apple iOS 9.0+, Android OS 5.0+, Fire OS, and desktop browsers, you can easily setup (including WiFi network) and manage the Echo (2nd gen) voice-activated powered speaker. The free Amazon Alexa App is a companion to your Alexa device for setup, remote control, and enhanced features. Interactions with Alexa are automatically mirrored visually on your Amazon Alexa App, providing more information as you want it. The Amazon Alexa App lets you easily manage your alarms, music, shopping lists, and more.

  • Music Apps w/ Multi-Room: Use the Alexa App to connect music services you already use like Spotify, Pandora, and iHeart Radio. The new Multi-Room Music section allows you to designate a group for devices on the same WiFi network. Once created, group names can be used to control music playback.
  • Smart Home w/ Routines: Setup your smart home devices from WeMo, Philips Hue, SmartThings, Insteon, Nest, and more. You'll be able to view the state and control your smart lights, locks, and thermostats. When you are on-the go, you can use the app to quickly check the status of your lock or turn off your lights. The new Routines section allows you to automate a series of Smart Home actions with one custom command.
  • Calls & Messaging: With the Alexa App, you can call and message Amazon Echo device owners and anyone else with the Alexa App on their phones. When you're away from home, use the app to make a quick call or send a message to your family's Echo. Use Drop In to instantly connect with your devices for a call. For example, you can drop in to let the family know it's time for dinner or check in on the baby's nursery.
  • Other Features: See what books are available to read from your Kindle & Audible libraries, plus enjoy Podcasts. View shopping, to-do lists, and Google Calendar while on the go. Control your timers and set custom tones for your alarms, and much more. The Alexa App is also where you discover and enable third-party skills.

Skills: Skills are voice-driven capabilities that enhance the functionality of the Amazon Echo (2nd gen) with Alexa. The Echo (2nd gen) uses tens of thousands of skills and counting; new skills are being added all the time. You can search for and enable skills in the Alexa app or from the Alexa Skills store on the website. You can also see ratings and reviews to learn what other customers are saying about the thousands of skills available in the Alexa App. To use an Alexa skill, first enable the skill, and then make your request based on the example phrases shown in the app. If you know the exact name of the skill you want, you can say, "Enable [skill name] skill." Some skills may require you to link to an existing account and a separate subscription in order to use the skill.

Note: At this time, you cannot customize which content is available on specific devices. For example, music, skills, shopping lists are available on all Alexa devices registered to the same account as the content.

Bluetooth Audio Streaming: The Echo (2nd gen) is also Bluetooth-enabled (A2DP/AVRCP) and acts as a Bluetooth receiver, transmitter, or controller. Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) support provides audio streaming from your mobile device to the Amazon Echo (2nd gen), or from the Amazon Echo (2nd gen) to a Bluetooth speaker or headphone. Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP) offers voice control of connected mobile devices - like your smartphone or tablet.

Note: Hands-free voice control is not supported for Mac OS X devices. Hands-free phone communication (HFP) is not supported.

Aux Input: The Echo (2nd gen) is outfitted with a 3.5mm Aux input for connecting an external audio source.

AC Power Adapter: The Amazon Echo (2nd gen) includes an AC power adapter that will need to be plugged into an AC power outlet, surge protector, or power conditioner.

Note: The Amazon Echo (2nd gen) is not battery powered.

Auto Updates: Because the Amazon Echo (2nd gen) is always connected to the internet, updates are delivered automatically.

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team. They verify what’s in the box, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

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Q & A

Customer Q&A

Crutchfield asked  
Why did you buy this?

Now my wife can ask Alexa what the forecast is, instead of asking me! [ John  Jan 01, 2018 ]
Better speaker, smaller size, choice of colors. [ John  Dec 31, 2017 ]
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