Amazon has added to its line of Echo speakers with the Amazon Echo Input and this time, it’s the speaker that’s not included!
The Amazon Echo Input, launched less than a fortnight back, let’s you add Amazon's Alexa to your own speaker, making for quite a leap in smart home technology.
The Input - the least expensive of the entire Amazon Echo series - is an extremely compact device, much smaller than the rest of the Echo series. You can connect it to your speaker either wirelessly through Bluetooth or through an AUX cable. This means it can connect to virtually any speaker, including your home audio system.
Right now, it is only available in black.
It's relatively easy to set up – just download the Alexa app and follow her instructions. Make sure you connect your speaker to the Input using a cable before setting it up. You can do it even using Bluetooth but that makes the setup a tad more complicated as Alexa won’t be able to give you the instructions.
Once it is set up, it functions just as well as any other Echo device. You can read our full review of Alexa and the new Echo devices here. If you already own a good Bluetooth speaker and would like to enable Alexa on it, then this is definitely the product for you. It can also be used with a home theatre system.
Don’t let its size fool you. The Input’s four built-in microphones are just as good as any of the other Echo devices, which means you can to put it anywhere in the room while retaining functionality. Like all Echo devices, it does have to be plugged into a power socket to work. If your speaker’s battery life isn’t great, then maybe plug that in as well.
I used it with a JBL GO Portable and didn’t notice any difference in the battery life.
The only real drawback is the price. Despite having no speaker, the Echo Input will still set you back Rs 2,999, close to the range of the Echo Dot. Right now, Amazon is sweetening the deal by offering Echo Input + speaker bundles across price points. When bought with either the Bose Soundlink Revolve (Rs 19,900) or the Ultimate Ears Boom 3 (Rs 12,999) speakers, you can get the Echo Input at zero cost. You can also get the Echo Input at half the cost when bundled with the entry-level JBL GO 2 (Rs 2,399–2,699) speaker.
All in all, the Echo Input is a great way to become a part of the smart home trend. It’s a smart idea at an entry-level price and gives you your money’s worth (especially if you got it at zero cost).
Also read: One year on, Alexa is the new ‘Desi Girl’