Aren’t echos auto already?
has technology evolved beyond our control?
Now we need to buy an extra useless device, so that we can connect our “smart phone” to our “smart car” .
I bought one of these – I think from Woot – when the price dropped to $17. The value proposition isn’t huge; it’s good for:
- searching the web by voice (which is something that I think Siri does already, but I’m not sure about that),
- voice-activating devices that have something to do with driving, like a garage door/gate or garage lights),
- to a lesser extent, controlling smart devices in the home if you somehow know they need to be activated while not home (thermostats, security systems, lights, smart door locks).
I literally use it about once every few months to search the web, and less frequently than that to turn on the lights in the garage to make it easier to back into the garage within an inch of the shelving unit like I like to do. (My garage door opener is not Alexa-enable because that’s an even stupider value proposition.)
Anyway, overall it was worth $17 to me, so for $10 less it’d be even more worth it to me. But not so much that I’m thinking about getting one for the wife’s car; I don’t see her using it at all.
A key use case - if you have an older vehicle without Bluetooth, but having an 1/8”/3.5mm aux audio jack, this Echo Auto can add Bluetooth to your vehicle.
However, while updates improved the experience, connectivity/reliability remains occasionally unreliable. Works well enough most of the time.
Otherwise, unless you wish to spontaneously control your Alexa-capable devices remotely from the car, like if before exiting your home, you forgot to say “Alexa, I’m leaving” (to trigger security mode)… or perhaps turn on lights if you are away after dark… or perhaps tell your smart thermostat to adjust the temperature to a more comfortable level prior to returning home… it has limited benefit vs a standard Bluetooth connection to your phone’s smart assistant. And of course, you can do all this by opening the Alexa app on your phone - the benefit would be having Alexa ready all the time like at home.
BTW, with this Echo Auto, your phone’s smart assistant remains available at the same time using its trigger word.
==> Unlike a lot of stuff on Woot, this is NEW, not refurb - and includes the full 1-year Woot mother Amazon warranty.
The lowest price I’ve ever seen on Amazon was $14.99, so $9.99 is a great price.
(I have not used the 2nd gen Echo Auto, so cannot compare it.)
Does it pick up voice directly and play the call through the speakers, or does your voice still go through the phone? My phone doesn’t have an audio jack, and my car doesn’t have bluetooth, so I’ve been forced to connect via a bluetooth dongle attached to the car for music apps, but my phone doesn’t pick up my voice well unless it’s on speaker, so I’ve been forced to use that for calls. It’s been a pain.
Attention all tech nerds, hobbyists and people who depend on Alexa!
This is an awesome opportunity. Its functionality is almost identical to the latest version.
I use it in conjunction with Apple CarPlay. While driving, there are times Siri won’t answer my questions. She says “I can’t do that while driving” or something of that sort. Alexa to the rescue! I can even add items to lists while driving. Many times, that’s when I have epiphanies that will be somehow forgotten once I get home.
Siri also won’t read out my shopping list – or any other of the dozen lists I have that work with Alexa. Again, Alexa’s response allows me to decide whether or not to go to the supermarket or other stops will driving somewhere.
One thing I didn’t like was the mounting kit. It is smartly designed, but did not really suit my needs. So I “reengineered” it so that I could mount the device in a nontraditional fashion. The result was a fit that was more or less permanent, stable and out of the way.
I mean, for 10 bucks, whether or not you are deeply invested in the Amazon Echo ecosystem, this can provide you with another tool to experiment with. It can come in handy. But if you don’t like it, you really aren’t out much at all.
Here is the review I wrote on Anazon when this item was first released and I waited almost a year to get one after signing up to buy one once it was announced. Even if Woot! Was giving these away I wouldn’t order it.
These are future B.O.C. worthy, since they are pretty much useless. Unless you need a 12v USB adapter, micro USB cable, a 3.5mm aux cable and throw the Echo Auto in the garbage.
I received my Echo Auto after almost a year of waiting and it was returned to Amazon as soon as I tried to set it up since it will only work if paired to a phone via Bluetooth and not via WiFi hotspot.
I had been using an Echo Dot in my vehicles with a Verizon mobile hotspot and was excited to hear about the Echo Auto and signed up for an invitation soon thereafter.
While I was waiting to get my hands on an Echo Auto, I purchased an Echo Input when they went on sale for $19.99 and put it in my vehicle in place of the Echo Dot. I had subsequently bought two additional Echo Inputs when they were on sale to put in other vehicles that I own.
I had planned on moving the first Echo Input to a fourth vehicle when I received my Echo Auto.
I am disappointed that I can not use it with my hotspot and will only work when tethered via Bluetooth to my mobile phone, this is not an ideal solution for several reasons.
My vehicles are used by several people. With an Echo Input or Dot regardless of who is driving a vehicle, the Echo device works without needing to have each user load the Alexa app on their phone and set up my device on their Alexa app. This needs to be done each time a new driver takes the vehicle with the Echo Auto if they want to use it.
My hotspots have unlimited data, my phones have a data limit and are tethered to the vehicle hotspots when they are in the vehicles.
If someone else is driving and they drop me off the Echo Auto will disconnect from my phone and stop working. This was never an issue with the Echo Dot or Input on the hotspot. Two of my four vehicles have hotspots integrated into the vehicles, the other two have Verizon Jetpacks.
The power optimization on phone needs to be disabled for the Alexa App, so the app will run constantly in the background and in doing so drain my battery faster than normal.
I had called Amazon device support to see why I can’t just use the Echo Auto with my hotspot. I was told that it was designed to tether to a phone via Bluetooth only and will not work directly with a hotspot or WiFi connection since it uses the Alexa app on the phone to do everything. I was told that the Echo Auto also lacks a WiFi radio. So WiFi support cannot be fixed with a firmware update, only if a second-generation Echo Auto is ever released with a WiFi radio.
For all intents and purposes, the Echo Auto is just a Bluetooth microphone that interfaces to the Alexa app on your phone and not much else; especially since it can’t work at all without being tethered to a mobile phone via Bluetooth.
Why would anyone spend the $24.99 introductory price, or the even more outrageous $49.99 MSRP, for a Bluetooth adapter?
Especially if you could just Bluetooth tether your phone for free to your car and set the Alexa app to be your phone’s default voice assistant.
If your car does not have Bluetooth you can buy a much cheaper Bluetooth adapter like the $16.99 Anker Roav SmartCharge F0 Bluetooth FM Transmitter on Amazon and set the Alexa app to be your phone’s default voice assistant.
Both of the options listed above will give you the same functionality of the Alexa app on your phone without needlessly wasting money on an Echo Auto.
The Echo Auto I have been waiting almost a year to receive was sent back to Amazon to be resold as a Warehouse Deal or on Woot! and I will be buying a 4th Echo Input when they go back on sale or show back up in Amazon’s Warehouse Deals.
Many are waiting to connect to their brain directly so they can be considered smart too.
Yes, this will now allow you to hear your phone calls through the car speaker and the microphones are really good on it, better than my speakerphone picking up my voice in the car. I’ve had one of these for a while now, happy to buy a second one for my other vehicle.
Too-late reply: No; it pairs with your phone, so any voice input goes through either your phone’s mic or the mic on some device paired with your phone. That paired device might be your car – for someone other than you, that is, since you’ve specifically stated that your vehicle does not have BT – or a BT speaker.
Amazon warehouse must be filled to the rafters with these 1st gen Echo Auto’s. Woot has been selling them for a month and counting…
Interestingly, approaching half the buyers have bought three. Thinking they can resell them?
Possibly. But at this price, they’d make good presents.
I’ve been thinking about trying one out in our cars (a few older cars without BT or lacking Android Auto or Car Play). Still not sure of the value prop, but I’ll give this a try at this price! In for one!
I’m seriously considering this SOLEY to play stuff like itsy bitsy spider on demand. Sometimes it’s the only way to calm the wee beasties. Android auto won’t do it unless it’s an MP3 saved on my phone but Prime has a bunch of free music.
Haha, our less than two year old grandson is entertained when I rotate thru the three smart plug/bulb lights in our family room verbally turning them on and off.
Finally sold out, for now.
Oddball use case:
Echo for the off grid cabin. No resident Internet at the cabin, only what our phones bring with us (although, considering adding another phone to our plan to leave plugged in at the cabin. AT&T agent informs me they’ve heard of a lot of folks doing that since it tends to be cheaper than a hotspot.)
Cabin has plenty of 12 VDC power via solar and battery bank. In effect, we now have Alexa at the cabin. Could do a lot with simply the voice smart assistant on the phone, but the Echo Auto adds direct feedback from our devices at home and streams music just like at home. Connected to a powered speaker.
The deal is again alive, over here!