So my Axiom Air N2 arrived today
and is now paired with 2 x Original Axiom Air N3s all running the same SW..... so here is my First Impressions of what the N2 does better than the N3:
+ Packaging as always is 1st Class
+ The N2 looks terrific, nice fit and finish
+ Much better layout of Buttons, Ports and Lights
+ Love the top mounted Vol Up / Down / Mute
+ Power On/Off is at the Front Bottom and easy to get to
+ Three LED (tiny) are at the front Bottom so you can see what the N2 is up to (I like small as the trend to Eye Ball searing Blue LEDs is beyond annoying).
+ All the input connectors are at the back and easy to get to
+ Plugged it into my LAN (wired) and it just fired up on the NW and I could push music to it immediately
+ Ships with the latest Firmware
+ Far better power supply and connector, should be much more robust than the DIN connector on the N3 (one note: The manual lists the PS as 15v but it really is 26v and the unit is marked as such)
+ Little feet at the back should prevent cable damage if you turn the unit backwards (which is how I broke my Power Cable on the N3)
+ It is almost 1/2 the price of a N3
+ It sounds pretty good! It goes "loud" and I find that it sounds best to my ears at around 75%. It working but not booming and will fill a medium size room, deck, etc with plenty of enthusiasm.
So here are some things the N3 does better than the N2
+ It sounds better... No question but then again it is almost twice the price
+ The N3's tinkers door gives you quick access to the PI (and it's SD Card). While you can get into the N2's "guts" I really don't recommend it. The N2 is much more of a sealed unit.
+ The little flap over the ports on the N3 is annoying for cable routing, but it did provide splash protection for the ports. The N2's ports at the back are exposed with plenty of vents and gaps. Be careful around a Pool or make some sort of "rain shield" for the back. I may knock one up for a 3D Print.
In Summary, the N2 is a great unit and clearly shows the 2nd generation of thinking for the design on putting it together. It is also much more affordable. If money was not a consideration I'd still pitch for a N3 as the sound on these units can not be reviled.... but I'd want it in a redesigned chassis like the N2. Maybe a N3v2 is on the cards or even a blank chassis so we can upgrade a N3v1 to N3v2 (who knows!).
Here is hoping that as this price point there will be many N2's around homes over generic "Smart Speakers"!