Amazon Echo 1st Generation vs 2nd Generation | Comparison ReviewNovember 8, 2018
Amazons line of Echo products is forever expanding and previously I have discussed the Echo Spot and Echo Dot. Arguably Amazons most popular Echo device, the Amazon Echo was also Amazons first attempt at breaking into the Smart Speaker / Smart Hub sector and some would say is responsible for setting up the foundation that all the other Echo devices have been built on. Much like most of the Echo devices, Amazon Echo is in its 2nd generation and if you are in the market for this device it’s important to know how it stacks up to the previous gen device. In today’s article, I will be discussing Amazon Echo 1st Generation vs 2nd Generation to help you make a decision on which one you should purchase or if you should upgrade from your Gen 1 device.
I will be going through the Build, Sound, Features, and Price. These are the most important factors when it comes to purchasing any Smart Speaker / Smart Home Hub
The Gen 2 build is still undoubtedly and Amazon Echo with its cylindrical shape, It is smaller than the Gen 1 and stands at 148 mm high (5.8 inches) and 88 mm wide (3.4 inches). The materials feel a lot more premium this time around and instead of the hard plastic, you got with the Gen 1 you can get it in a few different finishes, Walnut, Oak, Silver and a couple of fabric variants.
The original had a volume dial on top of the device but the Gen 2 has done away with that, you get a button layout on top including the Volume Up and Down, Mute and Alexa Button. All the buttons are very tactile and clicky, just the way I like them 🙂
Included in the Gen 2 is an Aux Out port that allows you to connect to external speakers, this feature was missing from the original and its a welcomed addition here. Out of the box, you also get the ability to connect via Bluetooth to external speakers.
In Gen 2, Amazon has redesigned the architecture and speaker position, the claimed result is supposed to be louder and better sound quality. In reality, the reviews are mixed, some find it better than the original and others see it as a downgrade, personally I found both generations speakers underwhelming and to be honest I would be connecting this up to an external speaker anyway so I’m not too fussed about the sound quality. If I was going to nitpick the bass sounds a lot deeper on the Gen 1 but that is most likely due to the larger size of the device.
You can still stream music from all of your favorite music streaming services like Spotify, Pandora or Prime Music. If we are being honest this is all most people will be using this device for, so couple it with a good external wired or Bluetooth speaker and you have a very capable hands free music hub. If you already own an Amazon Echo device I must mention the fact that you can still play music simultaneously through other Echo devices on your local network as well.
The Echo also still hears you very well and boasts a slight bump in performance, Amazon calls it a wake-word performance increase. When you say “Alexa” the light ring lights up on top of the device and that’s how you know its up, connected to the cloud and listening. Contained in the top of the device is 7 microphones that use noise canceling and sound recognition to hear you through max volume and in reality perform really well.
To be fair if you are familiar with the Gen 1 there aren’t many new features. You can still ask Alexa Questions, Stream Music, get Alexa to read a book for you, set alarms, read the news, control Smart Devices and many more Alexa related integrations that get updated very frequently.
The new features found in the Gen 2 are, Dolby Sound, improved voice recognition, Aux Out, control Smart Homes/Devices easier, make free phone calls via a local phone line and that’s about it minus some minor local Alexa Improvements.
In my opinion, the biggest new feature is the reduced size and improved looks. Amazon has a mission to have multiple Echo’s in various models littered throughout your home and work. This mission can be accomplished easier when a product looks more aesthetically pleasing and unassuming, the first generation device compared to this device seems very old and dated.
(At the time of publishing this Article)
Amazon hasn’t done anything groundbreaking with the Gen 2 Echo besides the obvious size reduction and aesthetic improvement. You are getting all the functionality of the original plus a few minor new features that aim to increase the overall user experience. Should you purchase the new Amazon Echo? It really depends on your current Echo situation, if you own an Echo device and are looking to replace it I would wait till the next one. If you own multiple Echo devices and are looking to add to your smart home set up then Yes, grab a new Amazon Echo.
What is your favorite Echo device? Comment below and let me know