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Amazon Echo Auto Review

Updated 8/23/19 – our Echo Auto finally arrived! We’ve completed our initial tests, which you can now see below.

Alexa in the Car

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Amazon Echo Auto

The Amazon Echo auto is a new addition to the Echo family. Now, users can benefit from Alexa in their car, as she can virtually act as your co-pilot. The Echo auto is controlled by your voice, just like all Echo products, and can play music through your car’s speakers, read news to you, open garage doors, act as a GPS (mapping system), set reminders, and more. The Amazon Echo Auto is currently available on an invite only basis, but we expect it to be more broadly available soon.Check Price

Pros

  • Control your car, home, and all Alexa enabled devices on the go
  • Has the ability to hear you over loud noises, such as your A/C, music, and road noise.
  • Users have hands-free control over a ton of different features.

Cons

  • Uses data from your smartphone. Depending your data plan / smartphone, this could be problematic for some users.

Amazon Echo Auto Design

The Amazon Echo Auto looks to have quite the compact design. Although this item has not yet been formally released by Amazon (still an “invite only” product), it has a design and usability that makes it feel just like other Alex enabled devices.

Amazon Echo Auto

Here are some of the commonalities we see with the Echo Auto:

The Echo Auto uses a blue light bar to let you know when it is listening and responding to you. Additionally, there is an action button and mute button on the top of the Echo Auto, which is the same design utilized by the 1st generation Echo and Echo Plus.

RELATED – See our Echo Plus review here

Amazon Echo Auto specifications

The only other items located on the top of the Echo Auto is an 8-microphone array, which is designed to hear you from all angles of the car (and over the top of car / road noise).

How does it get power?

Along the side of the Amazon Echo Auto is a Micro-USB power port, which can plug into your vehicle’s power ports. Once your car turns on, the Echo Auto will power up.

Amazon Echo Auto mounted to car
Power and AUX cable run from the side of the Alexa Auto

Is the Echo Auto noticeable?

The Echo Auto is surprisingly small. It easily fits in the palm of your hand, on your dash, center console, or even in a cup holder.

Echo Auto cord holder
Cord holder on the front side helps secure cords out of the way

Amazon includes a magnetic mount that attaches to your vent. So that’s probably the ideal location, but it’s small enough to sit in several places in your car.

Amazon Echo Auto in a cup holder
Amazon Echo Auto in a cup holder

RELATED – Amazon Echo Dot 3rd generation tests and review

Size & Dimensions

As noted above, the Amazon Echo Auto is not a large device. It sits at 3.3″ long, 1.9″ wide, and 0.5″ tall. The size allows it to easily fit on your dash, console, or on the included air vent mount.

Amazon Echo Auto size and dimensions
  • Length – 3.3″
  • Width – 1.9″
  • Height – 0.5″
  • Weight – 1.6 oz (45 grams)

Performance

Overall performance is excellent.

The Amazon Echo Auto works exactly like any other Echo devices. Plug it in, sync it to your account, and then start talking to Alexa.

Amzon Echo Auto on center console
Amzon Echo Auto on center console

That’s about it.

Here’s some of the things you can do with Echo Auto:

  • Hands-free voice control
  • Stream music
  • Use as a GPS / locator
  • Set location-based routines
  • Control your smart home items (like Nest and Ecobee smart thermostats)
  • 50,000+ skills

All in all, you can expect to see the Echo Auto act in a manner similar to all other Echo products offered by Amazon. The skill set is the same as most other Echo products.

Amazon Echo Auto mounted in my car
Amazon Echo Auto mounted in my car

Is it Bluetooth compatible?

The Amazon Echo Auto is indeed Bluetooth compatible. If your vehicle supports Bluetooth, the Echo Auto can connect to the Bluetooth through the Alexa app on your smartphone.

Amazon Echo Auto input output
Amazon Echo Auto input output. Micro USB power (left) and 2.5 AUX (right)

On the other hand, if your car does not support Bluetooth, you do have the option of connecting the Echo Auto to your car via an auxiliary cord. The Echo Auto contains a 3.5mm audio output, which is where the auxiliary cord will plug in.

RELATED – Read our Echo Sub review (for even better music control at home)

What all is included with the Echo Auto?

Within the box, included is the:

  • Echo Auto
  • Air vent mount
  • Power adapter
  • Micro-USB cable
  • Auxiliary cable
  • Quick start guide
Amazon Echo Auto accessories
Accessories included in the box

Everything you need to get this device up and running is included with the purchase.

Usability

Usability was exactly what we expected and hoped for. It was a mirror to other Echo devices we’ve used in the past.

Echo Auto rubber feet
Echo Auto rubber feet help keep it in place

Let’s take a look at the set up:

  • Plug it in
  • Mount it to your dashboard
  • Link it to your phone / car through the Alexa app
Amazon Echo Auto Setup

It took us about 5 minutes to install the hardware, plug in, and sync to our phone. Unsurprisingly easily.

Echo Auto air vent mount
Echo Auto air vent mount

Once you have the device set up, you can begin using it whenever you’re in your vehicle.

Echo Auto vent mount
Rubber universal air vent mount can fit on most air vent grills

What can you do with Echo Auto?

All the same stuff you can do with any other Echo device. Here are some of the things we tested and what we experienced:

  • Told Alexa to play specific playlists and songs in Spotify
  • Turned lights on at our home so we didn’t have to walk into a dark house
  • Turned the AC up a few degrees as we were leaving and down when we started driving back home
  • Made phone calls (though it did kick those back to our phone for the actual call, I need to play around with the settings more and enable the Alexa to manage mic and send the audio through the car’s speakers)
  • Use other Alexa skills to enable other apps and integrated devices

What can’t it do?

Currently, timers and alarms are not supported on the Echo auto. It’s unclear if they will be supported in the future. Thanks to Modern Castle user Warren for bringing that to our attention!

Echo Auto a Good Value?

In a word, yes.

Like other Echo devices, it just works. Plug it in, sync it up, and you’re good to go.

New unopened Echo Auto boxes
New unopened Echo Auto boxes

Having Alexa in your car is cool as is, but the fact that you can control so much more than just your music and news is extremely satisfying.

This is basically the only device of its type (that we’re aware of). It’s great to have an assistant on the go that works as seamlessly as the Echo Auto does.

All things considered, it’s a great value and a great addition to most cars.

Amazon Echo Auto Specifications

Below is a table showing the full list of specifications of the Amazon Echo auto:

SpecificationsAmazon Echo Auto
TypeCar Virtual Assistant
ManufacturerAmazon
ModelEcho Auto
Length3.3"
Width1.9""
Height0.5"
Weight1.6 oz
Output3.5 mm
PowerMicro-USB
BluetoothYes
Auxiliary AdaptabilityYes
CordlessCordless speaker operation, but requires power cord
ReturnsYes
Warranty1-Year limited
PriceCheck Price

Who Should Buy the Amazon Echo Auto?

The Amazon Echo Auto is one of the coolest Echo products, in our opinion. It’s easy to install, integrates seamlessly with the rest of the Amazon Alexa app, and so far the usability experience has been great.

I would recommend the Amazon Echo Auto if you’re looking for the following features in a car virtual assistant: 

  • Want to have Alexa in your car – By adding the Echo Auto to your car you’ll have the option of speaking to Alexa directly from your vehicle. Once mounted on your dash, you can utilize all of her skills and features by voice.
  • Want to have hands-free access to tons of Alexa features and skills – As a voice controlled device, the Amazon Echo Auto gives you completely hands-free control over your music, GPS, news updates, and many more impressive skills offered by Alexa.
  • Like the idea of connecting your car to your smart home – Although this Echo Auto is designed for your car, it is a part of the Echo family which means you have the option of controlling your smart home items through your car (when within reach).

For more information on the Amazon Echo auto, see here.

Updates

  • August 23, 2019 – Updated with real world tests, our own photographs, and our initial thoughts based on our experiences.
  • November 15, 2018 – Initial version of the page was published.
Alexa, Now In Your Car
  • 95%
    Design - 95%
  • 97%
    Performance - 97%
  • 95%
    Quality - 95%
  • 97%
    Usability - 97%
  • 95%
    Value - 95%
96%

Summary

The Amazon Echo Auto is the first Echo device designed for your car. It took us about 5 minutes to install on the air vent and sync with our smartphone. Controlling Echo Auto is as easy as any Alexa devices. Simply say “Alexa” and then say what you want to do. Was a great addition to the car and let us more easily play music, make calls, and control our other smart home devices. A great value, especially at its current price.

15 thoughts on “Amazon Echo Auto Review”

  1. Bought & installed device… and installed device… and installed…
    Every time you restart your car, you need to go through the installation procedure. Short comings: Cannot run the Alexa timer. Cannot set Alexa alarms.
    ~Warren

    • Thanks for your comment, Warren. That’s good to know about the timers and alarms. I’ll add that note to our review above.

      Regarding the repeated installation process, I think there might be something wrong with your unit or maybe a configuration problem between your car, Echo Auto, and your phone. You should not need to re-install every time your start your car.

      Our Echo Auto seems to be fine and only needed to install once.

    • Warren, do you have a Personal Profile and a Work Profile setup on your phone? If so, can you make sure that Alexa App is installed on the Personal Profile?

  2. Hi Derek,
    In terms of reinstalling: The device requires that the Alexa app be running and “on top” when you start the car. If you jump in the car and take off, you need to power down Alexa, then run the Amazon-Alexa app on the cellphone and then plug in (power-up) the Alexa-Auto.
    In addition, if you run another app on your phone after getting the Alexa to connect, Alexa ceases responding. In order to get it operational again, it is necessary to bring the Amazon-Alexa app to the screen again and select that you are only a passenger.
    Thanks for your follow-up and for listening,
    ~Warren

  3. Samsung, Note5.
    I have used the Amazon app since it was first available. It works fine, but it seems like a wadted battery drain to leave it on all day, just in case I use it for the hour or so in the car per day.
    I don’t mind manually restarting it on those occasions when i n eed Alexa, but in those cases, what purpose is served by the Alexa-auto that isn’t filled by the phone app alone?
    Thanks for this exchange and the credibility you give my input. ~Warren

    • True. Alexa isn’t much use if you have to re-install Echo Auto every time.

      Something is definitely wrong somewhere in the connection of devices and app. I would probably start by reaching out to Amazon support and see if they can offer any help.

      I wouldn’t think a Note 5 would be an issue, but anything is possible at this stage. For reference, we tested on a Samsung Galaxy S8, so not exactly bleeding edge either.

  4. Actually, I don’t there’s a problem outside of design. It’s analogous to turning Bluetooth off on your phone to conserve battery and complaining that the connection to your car doesn’t work when you get back in the vehicle.
    Where I really see it working well is on the desk beside your PC. It can be an extension of your home Alexa system while at work. ~W

    • Yeah, that’s true. If you don’t need the speaker, then it’s a discrete option to just drop it anywhere you need Alexa.

  5. I have been using an Echo Auto for two weeks now. In general, unreliable connections between devices (Echo Auto, iPhone 6, FM transmitter, or radio) are encountered about 75% of the time. This device is not ready for prime time, so before you spend the $50 on a spendy 8-array microphone, install the free Alexa app on your phone, mount your phone on your dash, connect your phone to your car’s radio (via BT or aux cable), then test the Alexa skillset using the action button in the app.

  6. I am having connection issues as well. It feels dangerous because I am distracted trying to give it commands until it works. It is also a pain that I have to disconnect my iPhone from wifi before getting in my car since my car is close enough to pick up wifi. That will cause a connection problem. Most of the time it doesn’t think it is connected to tell me the weather when it is already playing music.

  7. I submitted a review at Amazon.com listing pros/cons. Tech support then called me to discuss a few and will be forwarding two to the product team. Assured me product would get better. Returned for refund.

  8. I have a 1994 Pioneer car stereo in my vehicle. Is there an auxiliary cord “plug” on this old of a receiver?
    Thank you.

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