Alongside the new, spherical Echo Dot, and the Luna cloud gaming service, Amazon also unveiled the new Echo speaker. And yes, it’s also been completely redesigned to look like an orb.

However, that’s not the only thing that’s new here. Amazon has fitted the 4th-gen Echo speaker with an all new AZ1 Neural Edge module. This, according to Amazon, will process your voice commands’ audio using local machine learning speech algorithms before it’s sent to the cloud. Amazon claims this will shave off hundreds of milliseconds from the Echo’s response time to your commands.

Obviously, I can’t speak to the new AZ1 Neural Edge module’s efficiency, but if it will get Alexa to respond faster, I’m okay with giving it a try. The Echo Dot I currently use is considerably slow at doing what I ask of it.

The new Echo speaker has been priced at $99 and comes with the Zigbee smart home hub integrated so you don’t need an Echo Plus anymore. Moreover, it works with Amazon Sidewalk.

Pre-orders for the new Echo smart speaker are open already, in the US, and you can get it in one of three colours: Charcoal, Glacier White, and Twilight Blue. The device will begin shipping from October 22.

Pre-order the new Echo from Amazon ($99)