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Make your car smart by installing Amazon Echo Auto!

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The key selling point for Amazon‘s Echo Auto is that it’s an Echo for your car. It’s a little $50 gadget that’s designed for one thing and one thing only: using Alexa to make your car smart.

While the Echo Auto mainly delivers on its promise, a closer examination reveals that it’s a fairly narrow piece of technology that doesn’t do well in comparison to the competition.

Price and Availability

The Amazon Echo Auto is $50 and has been available for purchase since January 2019. The Echo Auto, mount/cable tidy for your car vent, a micro-USB power cable, a 12v dual-USB power converter, and a 3.5mm aux cable are all included in that price.

Design

design of amazon echo auto

Amazon’s echo smart car devices can play music, read the news, an e-book, or an audiobook. Report weather and traffic conditions, call a cab, shop, check your bank account, give movie schedules, check your calendar, set a timer, crack jokes, organize a game night, and answer questions thanks to Alexa. It’s also capable of connecting to your smart home devices. Many of these features are available right out of the box. But by enabling Skills, you can expand the skills of the Echo.

The Echo Auto smart car device is a tiny rectangular gadget about the size of a credit card, measuring 3.3 inches in length by 1.9 inches broad. It is, however, half an inch thick and resembles a little battery pack that you may keep in your backpack or wallet.

It also has the same two buttons as any other Alexa speaker: one mutes the microphone and stops Alexa from answering, and the other toggles the virtual assistant without first saying “Alexa.”

There’s also the Amazon arrow logo, which gives the impression that the Echo Auto has a cheerful face on it.

A micro USB and 3.5mm Aux port are located on the right side of the device, as well as a square-shaped depression that allows the Echo Auto to magnetically connect to the provided mount.

Overall, it’s a slim and subtle gadget that can fit into any nooks or cubby holes in your automobile.

The mount itself is practically the polar opposite, like a cumbersome metal ‘7.’ A 7 with a rubber grip for attaching to your car’s vent, as well as a tiny cord clip to keep the Echo Auto’s lines from swinging perilously over your vehicle.

Setup

setup of amazon echo auto

The Echo Auto will also question if your car has Bluetooth audio. If it is available then it will advise you to throw away the Aux wire. Because all audio is routed over your phone’s Bluetooth connection, the Echo Auto just works like an Alexa microphone in this case.

If your automobile lacks Bluetooth, the Echo Auto effectively functions as a Bluetooth adaptor. The audio from your phone is sent through the Echo Auto’s Aux wire. If your phone doesn’t have a headphone port and you don’t want to put an adaptor into your phone, this adds a few extra smarts to your automobile in the process.

The Echo Auto does a soundcheck at the end of the setup. It is to confirm that the audio and microphones are operating properly. If everything is in order, the app will notify you in less than 30 seconds.

The setup procedure will also ask you which mapping provider you’d want Alexa to use by default. With options including Google Maps, Waze, and Apple Maps.

That was pretty much it for the setup, and the whole thing went really well. In fact, Bluetooth speakers are more difficult to pair than the Echo Auto. This is something Amazon should be proud of.

The only thing left for you to do is determine where the gadget should go. Although the provided mount is the most apparent option, it isn’t optimal. The Echo Auto includes eight microphones and uses far-field technology, so it can be placed almost anyplace in your car that doesn’t block the microphones.

Navigation on amazon echo auto

smart car  amazon echo auto

As previously reported, the Echo Auto’s setup procedure includes a question about which mapping app you prefer. Although there isn’t a complete list of approved applications, it does include huge names like Google Maps, Apple Maps, and Google-owned Waze.

And Alexa will respect your decision. If you choose to navigate with one provider over another, the assistant will use that choice every time you ask for directions.

However, navigation is one of the areas where voice assistants, such as Google and Siri, fail. You ask Alexa to take you someplace, and if you’re not detailed enough, the assistant will give you a list of options. This is helpful for things like finding a gas station in a new region. But not so much for going to more particular destinations.

The compatibility with the third-party navigation app, on the other hand, is pretty excellent. Though it’s actually more of a compliment to the mapping tools themselves. All Alexa does is provide it with a location or a list of possible destinations you’ve asked for. While Google handles all the heavy lifting. Even when it came to the search results themselves.

But that’s a good thing. There’s no involvement of Alexa in the navigation process. This means she won’t be a source of additional distraction while you try to figure out where you’re going. You can even connect with Android Auto when your phone was hooked in. And when asked for instructions, they appeared on the dashboard rather than on your phone.

Hardware performance

setup of smart car  amazon

The Echo Auto doesn’t need to accomplish much because of what it is. It only has to be in the car and connected to your phone through Bluetooth. It’s best to have it somewhere open. But thanks to the device’s eight microphones and far-field technology, Alexa will almost always hear you.

The only time it didn’t hear you were when you turned up the air conditioning to its maximum setting and reacted much more quietly than normal.

It’s also worth noting that the Echo Auto smart car device is effectively a microphone-equipped Bluetooth adaptor. Any sound your phone makes will be broadcast through the Echo Auto and into your car’s radio through the aux cord, regardless of whether or not an app or service is compatible with Alexa.

Even if you don’t care about Alexa, it gives your automobile some wifi connectivity. If your phone doesn’t have a headphone jack and you don’t like adapters, this will come in handy. And the entire procedure is effective. The majority of the time, at least.

Alexa performance

alexa smart car

Alexa is Alexa, and the Echo Auto isn’t much different from any other Echo you could have at home. The main difference is that it is fully reliant on your smartphone for its functionality.

The Echo Auto smart car device can also do all of the standard Alexa functions that you probably wouldn’t think of doing in your car. This includes remote control of your smart home gadgets, setting timers and alarms, and playing the many different audio games that the Echo speaker can handle at home.

However, Echo Auto’s main flaw is its dependency on smartphones. While you can use your solo Echo speaker to activate abilities, the Echo Auto smart car device relies on you having the right applications on your phone. Some Amazon-centric services, such as restricted access to Amazon Music, are available. But third-party services, such as Spotify, need the installation of the app.

If you try to use an app or service that isn’t installed Alexa will alert you. And direct you to the appropriate app store. You may either have a passenger download it for you or do it yourself once you’ve stopped driving. Though it’s doubtful that you’ll try to utilize a service that you haven’t already installed.

Conclusion

The Amazon Echo Auto might be handy for drivers who have an older vehicle. The car that doesn’t have Bluetooth, Android Auto, or Apple CarPlay. If you’re completely charmed with Alexa and don’t want to use one of the alternatives while driving, this is the option for you. To Amazon‘s credit, it has managed to create a pretty powerful Bluetooth adaptor. Those are difficult to come by.

However, anyone driving a newer automobile will have a hard time finding a use for the Echo Auto. Google Assistant or Siri, both of which have superior app compatibility and control over your phone, can handle all of its most practical purposes.

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