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Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Amazon rounds out 2020 Echo line-up

Once a tall can and a pudgy squished can, Amazon’s Echo speakers are looking a little more rounder and spherical this year, and for good reasons, too.

You don’t have to look very hard to see similarities in speaker design. Typically tall and following either a cylindrical can or a rectangular box, speakers tend to fall into specific shapes.

One of those shapes is almost never a circle, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be one, either. Depending on how it has been designed and engineered, there is every chance you could find a speaker that looks like a box, or even one that looks like a dome. The latter kind, the speakers of a circular kind, are indeed rarer, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist, and if you fancy circles, you might just fancy Amazon’s latest lineup.

The company has added to its Echo lineup for 2020, replacing the standard cylindrical can design of previous Echo models with something much more rounder that is also designed to round out the sound.

This year, standard Echo is still the Echo, but it’s now rounder and more like a dome, incorporating a 3 inch woofer and two tweeters, plus Dolby processing to deliver stereo defined by one of the driving forces in stereo and surround sound.

It’s a little bit different in design, and will easily stand out at home — being a dome — but it also comes with a smart hub built in, able to talk to Zigbee devices like smart lights, except found inside of a speaker for $149.

Next is the smaller model, and that’s still being called the Echo Dot, but while the original was a squished circle that kind of resembled a full-stop, the 2020 Echo Dot is more of a 3D interpretation, bulging out to resemble a small sphere, except with a firm bottom.

Or more specifically, the 2020 Echo Dot looks like a small Echo, but uses a 1.6 inch speaker for its sound, and arrives in two forms, either as the Echo Dot for $79 or the Echo Dot with an LED clock for $20 more at $99.

Finally, there’s a new Echo smart display, as Amazon beefs up its 10 inch smart display, the Echo Show. This year, instead of having the whole thing come together as a screen with the speaker in one big solid shape, the 2020 Echo Show is a 10 inch screen mounted to a speaker that also acts as a stand.

A little bit different, the Echo Show 10 features a camera that can track you, rotating in its spot to follow your position roughly as you move. It’s something the smaller Echo Show models don’t have, and means you’re not stuck in the same place, and can keep cooking or darting around, and the 2020 Echo Show can work out roughly where you are to keep showing you a video, or even keep a video chat doing.

On the speaker side, there are two front firing tweeters plus a woofer, giving the Echo Show a little more oomph, while the screen itself can be used to trigger music and movie services, talking to Netflix, ABC iView, or Amazon Prime Video, for instance. And much like the standard Echo, the Echo Show for 2020 has a Zigbee hub built in, as well.

A little more expensive, the 2020 Echo Show 10 will be found for $399 later in the year, alongside the Echo and Echo Dot variations, which are also all slated for later in the year, as well.

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