The Amazon Echo Auto priced and available at $49.99 allows you to go on a drive while taking the company’s Alexa voice assistant with you. It’s a unexceptional small device that plugs into your car’s 12-volt outlet (or USB port if there is one available) and connects to your phone’s Alexa app to offer every voice-activated service that your Echo Dot installed at your home does, including news, sports scores, recipes, shopping lists, and music streaming. It doesn’t provide car-specific features like Alexa-based voice-guided directions and it even had lost connection to my phone over and over again in testing, but still, it’s a low-priced small device for bringing some smartness to your car.
Design & Features of Amazon Auto Echo
The Echo Auto is a little black rectangular box that is approximately 3.3 by 1.9 by 0.5 inches (HWD) and weighs 1.6 ounces. It comprises of an Action button, a Mute button and eight microphone holes on top of it; a micro USB port and a 3.5mm auxiliary port on one end and a light strip on the front that glows blue when you Alexa is asked any question and the light changes between dark and light blue when Alexa responds. The eight-microphone collection enables the Echo Auto to listen to what you’re saying over the heavy sound of your car’s engine and additional environment sounds. The bottom surface of the device comprises of a square notch for fastening it to the provided magnetic air vent mount. A 3.5mm audio cable, a 12-volt car adapter, a micro USB cable, and a quick start guide is also included in the pack.
The Echo Auto is powered by a Mediatek MT7697 processor and comprises a Bluetooth radio to connect to your car’s audio system and to your phone and even the mobile Alexa app. The device itself doesn’t comprise of any cellular circuitry; as an alternative, it taps into your phone’s data plan to contact the Amazon cloud servers. This won’t be a problem for users that have an unlimited mobile data plan, but if you have got a fixed plan you will be worried about keeping an eye on your data usage.
The Echo Auto directly can be connected to your car’s USB port or you can even use the 12-volt adapter. If your car’s audio system doesn’t accompany the feature of Bluetooth, you can use the 3.5mm audio cable. While devices for example the Garmin Speak and Garmin Speak Plus join up Alexa with navigation technology, the Echo Auto is sternly an Alexa device that provides all of the similar features and functions as Echo speakers. You can command Alexa to play tunes using Spotify, Panadora, Apple Music, and definitely Amazon Music, you can listen to audio books on Audible, and play games, all through your car’s audio system. You can also go through the latest news, weather, and sports scores, can call from your phone’s contact list, connect with other Echo devices, and even manage smart home products that are associated with your homebound Echo device.
Shape & Size of Amazon Auto Echo
Due to the size and shape of the Echo Auto, it can actually be put anywhere. The order usually comes with a vent clip for trouble-free access, but you can place it anywhere.
What the Echo Auto failed to do is provide local driving directions. You can ask Alexa questions for example where the nearest gas station is, and it will come up with quite a few alternatives, but for sequentially getting turn-by-turn driving directions, you’ll need to open a mapping app on your phone, and press Start. At that point, the app takes over and guides through the directions. If you have an iPhone, it’s really simpler to immediately ask Siri and get a similar outcome without even touching (or looking at) the screen. As an added feature, the Echo Auto combines with popular mobile mapping apps including Apple Maps, Google Maps, and Waze.
The Echo Auto utilizes the similar Alexa mobile app as it is using in other Echo products. There are not many settings for the device, but in order to get their access, hit the Devices button at the bottom of the Home screen, then press the Echo and Alexa tab to view a list of all of the devices that are installed. The Echo Auto is present in the Accessories section. Here you perform actions like regulate LED brightness, run a sound test, troubleshoot audio issues, see the device is connected to which phone, and view how the device is connected to the car (via Bluetooth or through cable).
Installation & Performance
Installing the Echo auto is an easy task. Once you connect it to your car’s USB port, you will listen to a musical sound and Alexa will tell you to go to my Alexa app in order to add up a new device. You can open the app, tap on Add Device, select Amazon Echo, then select the Echo Auto from the list. You need to follow the on-screen commands to connect the device to the air vent and when you are done with everything you need to tap Continue. You have to give the device consent to access your phone’s microphone and location, to turn on Bluetooth, and then tap Continue. You will have to wait quite a few seconds for the Echo Auto to appear in the Accessory list, play a rapid audio test clip, and the installation is complete.
One thing that you need to be aware of is that the air vent mount doesn’t work on every type of vents. For example, the Ford F-150 utilizes circular vents with two baffles, and the directions say that these (and a few other) types of vents are non-functional. You might not be able to use the air vent mount in your truck, but it will fit adequately into a slot designed to grasp things like phones and wallets. But, when I installed the vent mount in my Honda CRV, it became displaced and in the end fell on the floor every time the car rolled over a speed bump or a pothole.
But the Echo Auto had no difficulty understanding my news, weather, and football scores requests, but now occasionally if I ask Alexa to perform any action for me or I give any command, she usually responds with a message saying that the device is no more connected to the mobile app. It happens sometimes, but it is irritating, however.
The device did an okay job of telling gas stations and restaurants while driving around, but pulling over the tap to get a notification for getting driving directions is a little difficult. It worked fine when managing smart home devices from the car.
Amazon’s Strategy About Alexa
Amazon’s strategy of incorporating Alexa all over the place is vulnerable by a single key fact: It doesn’t make a phone. That shows Alexa’s power is sternly hindered as soon as we leave our houses. To help put up the shutters on that gap, Amazon has made Echo Auto, a dashboard device that takes Alexa into your car.
As an idea, it’s a very well one. Subsequently to our homes, we spend most of our time in our cars, so instead of selling a pair of Alexa headphones, an in-vehicle device is the most excellent technique to enlarge Alexa’s reach. To compete against our phones and navigation systems that already provide help the entire time is ready, however, Echo Auto has got some amazing convincing reason to bring one in your car. There’s just one setback: It requires a phone to use it, which kind of crush the point.
Amazon Auto Echo Pros & Cons
It is quite easy to install. Reasonably priced. Multiple microphones. It offers all Alexa functionality.
Uses your phone’s data plan. Lacks native driving directions. Air vent mounts not very secure. Occasionally dropped connection to phone in testing.
Amazon’s Echo Auto brings Alexa smarts to your car for under $50, but it doesn’t offer native voice-guided driving directions, and occasionally lost connection in our tests.
The major selling point of the Alexa Echo Auto is that it can listen to your voice over road noise. And generally, with its eight built-in microphones, it can very easily. Over the usual noise in car windows coming down, music is being played, kids yelling the Echo Auto listen well and take action immediately.
The Amazon Echo Auto makes it effortless to get Alexa and all of her talent and expertise with you when you go on the road. Only plug it in to your 12-volt power jack or USB port, connect it with the mobile app on your phone, and use it in the same way as you would use your Echo speaker at home for playing music, getting the latest weather and news, checking your calendar, or Dropping In on another Echo. It can also be used to manage smart devices in your home despite the fact that you’re out on the road.
Although the Echo Auto infrequently dropped its connection to my phone in testing and is deficient in a hands-free navigation solution, it yet offers a comparatively inexpensive way to revamp your car.