Echo Auto: first impressions

Echo Auto: first impressions

We’ve had our

Echo Auto (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

for about a day, so I thought I’d give you my first impressions of it.

The initial thing that struck me was that it is small, sleek, and elegant. That hasn’t always been the case with Amazon hardware. The first gens of the Kindle and Echo Show were…well, perhaps charmingly quirky, but clunky.

Second, the initial set up was easy. I bought the

Echo Auto Air Vent Mount (at AmazonSmile*)

which really turned out to be unnecessary, but I can see having one for when you want to temporarily put your Echo Auto in another car, such as a rental. Otherwise, the included dash mount is fine.

The only thing that gave me pause during the set up was when I was adding the device through the Alexa app, and it was showing me types of devices. The category of device is “Echo”, then Echo Auto is a choice…I kind of expected to see Echo Auto first, but this makes sense.

Using it in the car by voice was fine. It heard us over the sound of music playing and road sound. The only weird thing is that the “ding” that tells you Alexa is listening comes some time after it is actually listening (the lightbar indicates that), at least on Bluetooth.

It did everything we asked it to do: play music, answer questions, check the weather, find vegetarian restaurants nearby (it has location services), remember something and tell it to us later.

When using it, we loved it!

The one negative was that, on the second day, the one where I was going to show it off to my SO and explain how to use it, it would just not connect. We were in a RAV4. I think it may have gotten confused because I had my phone, which usually defaults into the Bluetooth pairing. When I had tested it the day before, I only had my SO’s phone with me.

After that, I couldn’t get it to smoothly pair…so we are using the Aux jack instead of Bluetooth (they include a cable for that). That seems to be great, but we’ll test it more tomorrow.

So, our set up is: Echo Auto magnetically attaches to vent clip (my SO prefers the vent clip); there are two cables, one to the USB power port (they give you an adapter for the “cigarette lighter”) and one to the aux 3.5mm audio port.

Those two cables could have been considerably shorter for us: it does seem a bit untidy to have them hanging there, even though there is a cable guide on the vent clip.

Having the magnetic attachment works well: you could easily take the Echo Auto with you out of the car or put it in the glove compartment…might be tempting to thieves.

A few other points:

  • You need the phone in the car for it to work…and you need an internet connection (not surprisingly)
  • If someone did steal it, they wouldn’t have access to your account, because it wouldn’t be paired with your phone any more (I’m sure that’s true)
  • It’s available to request for Prime members for $24.99 right now…eventually, it will be open purchase for probably twice that

Overall, I like it!

If you’ve gotten one already (or have questions), I’d be curious to know what you think by commenting on this post!

Amazon Prime Day (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

starts Monday!

One tip: if you aren’t sure if something is really a deal or not, you can check the Amazon price history with


You can do it right on that site, or get a browser extension (including for Chrome).

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

Bufo’s Alexa Skills

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get.


Shop ’til you help!


This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

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