The best review of Amazon Echo Auto
Amazon Echo Auto: is it worth your purchase?
The Echo Auto is ideal for older cars without a modern information and entertainment system, despite the fact that you will need your phone and data connection to function.
- Good microphones even with noise
- Hands-free with Alexa while driving
- Easy installation and commissioning
- No extras for modern cars
- Depends on the data connection of your mobile
Retail price (RRP)
The best review of Amazon Echo Auto
Reviewing the Echo Auto in July 2020 seems somewhat strange given that it has been marketing in the United States for a long time, however, it is something that Amazon has accustomed us to, which extends the marketing afterwards.
If you don’t know much about the Echo Auto, it’s basically an Alexa device for the car. But it is not just an Echo Dot with a different plastic body. It has been designed to integrate with your vehicle’s audio system so you don’t have to incorporate a speaker.
In fact, the system is compact and goes unnoticed like any hands-free device that many users easily install with the appropriate support on the vents of their vehicles.
It has also been manufactured with more resistant materials that allow it to withstand high temperatures inside a vehicle, where easily in summer and in full sun it is possible to exceed 50 degrees.
Installation and commissioning
- Auxiliary 5mm or Bluetooth input
- Vehicle ventilation grille mount
- 12v power adapter with dual USB port
- You need a mobile phone with a data connection
- Alexa application on your mobile
The Echo Auto is a compact device that fits in the palm of your hand. It comes in black and is powered by the car cigarette lighter connector or a USB A socket to operate. These are the compatible grids:
You have a micro-USB power cable in the box along with an adapter that plugs into your car’s 12V power outlet. You also have two ports, so there is a spare to also charge your phone or other device.
While there is a built-in speaker, it’s just for setup and startup, and Alexa uses your car’s speakers to communicate with you and for playing music or answering phone calls. You have two options: a 3.5mm auxiliary cable or via Bluetooth.
All this means that some cars will not be compatible with the Echo Auto, but most will. The most suitable vehicles are older models from around 2000-2012 that may have auxiliary inputs (or even Bluetooth) but not CarPlay or Android Auto
The support for the ventilation grille has a place where you can fix the excess power cable, or the one you use for the physical connection with your car audio system.
The phone, then, becomes a fundamental piece that will act as an intermediary between your Echo Auto and Amazon Alexa. Using the Alexa App, it will be easy to configure the equipment. You must choose to add an Amazon Echo and check the Echo Auto. As simple as that.
You will receive a notification that you do not configure the device while driving. Immediately after, a highly graphical wizard starts on the perfect location and steps to follow with installation.
The color-changing LED light bar lets you see at a glance whether the device is in listening mode or is viewing any questions you have thrown. In the absence of a screen, this system is practical and fulfills its purpose well.
What does the Echo Auto do?
- Everything that Alexa offers as an assistant
- Directions to restaurants and other places of interest
- Answer calls
- Music, podcasts and audiobooks
Unlike other Smart Display systems, the Amazon Echo Auto does not have a screen to show you a map. What it does very well is respond to your requests in hands-free mode, which will avoid unwanted fines for device handling.
If you are familiar with using Alexa or any other voice assistant such as Siri or Google Assistant, you can ask her to add a product to your shopping list, set a reminder or alert, or add an appointment to the calendar.
Music streaming works just like when you use an Echo at home. That even applies if you don’t get your music from Amazon and it comes from another compatible service like Apple Music, for example.
For navigation, Alexa will open the default application (configured within the Alexa application) and manage it to show the destination you requested it. If you have your mobile at hand, Alexa will order Google Maps to show you your route or trajectory.
Where we found certain problems was when it came to browsing the contacts to make a call, despite allowing Echo Auto to access the contact list of my phone.
For unknown reasons, there was no address associated with that contact, even though the address was well indicated in the Google version of that contact. However, when the contact recognizes you, all are advantages to calling in hands-free mode.
Using the car speaker system expands call quality, plus thanks to its 8 built-in long-range microphones, the receiver will hear your conversation loud and clear, even in background noise or traffic noise.
We miss the possibility of being able to configure several profiles or associate the Echo Auto device with different mobile users who can travel in the vehicle. In this way, it would be easier for everyone to interact and toggle the control of the music that plays.
For our tests, we have used Bluetooth wireless connection technology instead of wired and we have to say that every time we accessed the vehicle and set the ignition key, the system recognized the mobile automatically.
In this way, you will not have to do anything every time you access your vehicle for its use. If Echo Auto is constantly connected to the electrical current of your vehicle, it will start immediately and will go into listening mode to mention ‘Alexa, call…’.
Price and availability
Here comes the frankly surprising. And is that if your car is somewhat old and you do not have an intelligent entertainment system in the vehicle, the Amazon Echo Auto can provide you with these features for just over € 59.99.
As we have already mentioned, its use depends largely on the audio system installed in your vehicle, as well as the connectivity provided by your smartphone with a data connection. The Echo Auto is compatible with Android 6.0 and iOS 12 and later.
You should know that the Echo Auto is not the first car-based device that Alexa has, however, it seems the best option to listen to conversations and calls to other users, as well as being easy to configure.
Whether it makes sense to you or not will largely depend on the car you have and the capabilities of your audio system. Although you can always connect it via mini-jack cable to your audio system, the best experience comes via bluetooth.
If you already have bluetooth, you really won’t get much advantage in terms of navigation or calls, since Siri and the Google Assistant are already quite capable of handling these hands-free situations.
But for the music and general Alexa skills, as well as its use with certain ‘skills’ it is very good and brings you the experience of an Echo smart speaker from your home, also to the vehicle.
Of course, some skills are not so useful here and you will have to continue using the manual controls to turn on the heating of your car, operate the lights, or even turn up or down the volume of the music, since it is something that depends on your vehicle and not from the Echo Auto.