Smart Speakers, which are pivotal to smart homes, are currently a growing segment, and it’s likely that most people buying these in India are just getting familiar with them. Which is precisely why the affordable Echo Input is an important addition to the wide array of Echo devices already available in India.
The Echo Input can add Alexa and basic smart connectivity options to any speaker with an Aux input. This makes it an ideal option for audiophiles you’d want to leverage Alexa’s smart abilities without compromising on the high fidelity audio experience from their choice of speaker, and also for people who have a dated audio system. The point being, a wide variety of people would find a use for the new Echo and it could potentially take Alexa to a lot more homes.
ALSO READ: Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Gen) Review 2018
What’s Amazon Echo Input?
Well, its a Cookie shaped Alexa powered device and, in terms of functionality, you could think of it as similar to Chromecast Audio, only smarter. You need to simply connect Echo to any speaker for Alexa to hijack it.
Next, you may converse with Alexa and here responses via your speaker, or directly cast music using Prime Music, control Alexa integrated smart home devices, and more.
In fact, since it’s super portable, I also tried plugging it in my car audio system and it worked just fine!
Amazon Echo Input Review: What’s in the box
Outside this box, you won’t be requiring any other accessories. It includes:
- Input device
- USB Cable
- Aux cable (1meter)
- Power adapter (5W)
- User manual and warranty guide
ALSO READ: New Amazon Echo Dot Review (3rd Generation)
Amazon Echo Input Review: Design and Connectivity
Since it sheds all the music system weight, it is as compact as it gets. To put that in better perspective, It’s only a fraction the size of Amazon Echo Dot 3rd generation. And to be price, this puck measures 80mm in diameter and is just 13.8mm tall.
So, does it means it can easily camouflage behind your audio system or speaker once connected? Well, actually not. Like all Echo devices, Input also requires constant input (micro USB port) from a power source. If you connect it to your speaker using Aux (Bluetooth is also an option) there’s an additional wire. And if you connect it to a portable Bluetooth speaker, you will need to give it power input too, as most portable Bluetooth speakers power off after an idle time. Even when there are wires to deal with, we’d say that connecting Echo Input is not a hazel at all, and even though it’s not meant to be, it is very portable.
The top panel has the same arrangement as the Echo Dot with identical four directional far-field microphone array and (Alexa) and mute buttons placement. Since the Input device doesn’t have its own speaker, Amazon has ditched volume buttons. There is a tinny LED light that blinks blue when Alexa is at work (either listening or saying anything).
As for connectivity, the Echo Input supports dual-band WIFI and Bluetooth (A2DP).
Amazon Echo Input Review: Setting it Up
Amazon has ensured that setting Echo Input up doesn’t require any expertise. All you require is Alexa app on your phone, power supply, and a speaker to connect via 3.5mm aux cable or Bluetooth and stable Wi-Fi network.
To start, open Alexa app and log in to your Amazon account.
- Select a device section from the bottom menu and then tap on the ‘plus’ sign on the top right corner.
- Add device followed by Amazon Echo.
- Now choose your device to set up, in your case its ‘Echo Input’
- Tap on Echo Input.
- To enter setup mode on Echo input by holding the action button for 6 seconds. LED light starts blinking in Orange color
- Go to phone’s Wi-Fi settings and select connection starting with Amazon name.
- Once connected, go to Alexa app and tap on WIFI connection that you wish to store the Echo Input.
- Now connect your Echo Input with your external speaker using an Aux cable your Bluetooth. Your speaker should be ready now.
Amazon Echo Input Review: Performance
The Echo Input performs as advertised. Once attached to a speaker, it could do everything that an Amazon Echo Dot or Amazon Echo Plus can do. Where it really perform better than the 2nd generation Echo Dot is the ‘Alexa’ Hotword detection even in a loud environment. I even tested it from a distance with a low pitch and it did wake up.
The quality of audio it streamed on to the external speaker via both means (wired and wireless) was great. Though the Input can’t control the volume of your external speaker. It basically has its independent volume control and can adjust the volume at the source.
Just like any other Alexa device, the Echo Input also support 50,000 plus skills, and we quite like its ability to play retro music via live radio.
Amazon Echo Input Review: Should you buy it?
If you have no prior experience with Smart Home speakers, the Amazon Echo should be a good start. This way you’d be able to determine if Alexa as a personal assistant makes sense to your specific needs. If you already are invested in Amazon’s smart home ecosystem, the Echo Input can be an affordable means to conveniently extend Alexa to more rooms in your home.
Moving on from its affordability, it’s also a great option if you already have an audio system of your choice and would want to extend its abilities by adding smart connectivity and smart assistant to it.
Which is to say, the Echo Input is one of its kind and can be put to many good uses. And we can wholeheartedly recommend it.