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Amazon Echo Input review: It’s a Chromecast for speakers that you must have

Amazon Echo Input is surprisingly very compact
Amazon Echo Input is surprisingly very compact (HT Photo)

Amazon Echo Input lets you stay loyal to your dumb speaker and still try out the full-fledged functionalities of smart Alexa digital assistant. Here’s our full review of Amazon Echo Input.

Brand: Amazon
Product: Echo Input
Key specifications: Dual-band Wi-Fi supports 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 and 5 GHz) networks, Advanced Audio Distribution Profile, 4-microphone array, 3.5mm audio output, micro-USB power
Price: 2,999
Rating: 4/5

You really need to use a smart speaker to know its usefulness. Sure, smart speakers may not match the sound quality of your expensive speaker, but then you've a dumb speaker. If you have somehow missed the 'smart' speaker bus, Amazon is making sure you convert your dumb speaker into a smart one using its Echo Input.

Think of Echo Input of Google Chromecast of speakers. It's an additional device that brings Alexa to your dumb speaker. This essentially means you can evoke Alexa assistant, ask weather, play your favourite music and all other things you could do on an Echo speaker now works on your existing speaker. Good thing is Echo Input works with all kinds of Bluetooth speaker.

Priced at 2,999, Amazon Echo Input is the cheapest Echo device right now. What sets Echo Input apart from rest of the Echo device is that it does not come with speakers. It's just a facilitator that brings Alexa assistant to your speaker. Of course, an Echo device with built-in Alexa is more convenient. But that's a conversation for some other day. Echo input is for those who don't want to spend on an Echo or Alexa enabled speaker and still want to try out the Alexa.

Design

Echo Input is not the only cheapest Echo device but the most compact as well. The device looks like a small circular disc with matte-like finish. It resembles tea coasters a lot though. Measuring 14x 80 x 80 mm, Echo Input weighs around 79 grams. On the top, it has the familiar action and microphone mute buttons.

At the center is a small LED light to let you know it's powered on. There's no volume control on the device which means you can either control it through voice commands or manually from the speaker. On the side are 3.5mm headphone jack (output) and microUSB port for power. Under the hood, Echo Input features a 4 microphone array setup to capture your voice from any part of the room you're yelling.

A closer look at Amazon's new Echo hardware
A closer look at Amazon's new Echo hardware (HT Photo)

Setting up

If you have used an Alexa device, setting up Echo input is going to be a lot easier. In case you haven't, you need to download the official Alexa app from Google or Apple play store. After installing the application, pair your Echo input from the devices section in the app. The device automatically appears in the new devices section.

Now, connect your Echo Input with your speaker. This either you can do via Bluetooth or simply add the 3.5mm audio cable. Note that the device needs to be plugged in all the time for uninterrupted Alexa experience.

ALSO READ: Amazon Echo Dot, Echo Plus 2018 review

Experience

Well, it a lot depends upon the kind of speaker you're using. We had paired Echo Input with UE Boom 3 speaker. The speaker itself is pretty impressive in terms of sound quality. But that's the point of Echo Input. It does not have built-in smart Alexa but probably has better sound than Echo Dot.

As far as Echo input goes, it surprisingly does its job very well. You can ask the Input to play music, latest news or anything from thousands of Alexa tasks and skills. Echo Input quickly responds if you're in the proximity. We tried summoning Alexa from a higher distance, say 10 feet, it did struggle to capture the noise but on most of the occasions, it was pretty quick. Sound quality via both Bluetooth and 3.5mm headphone jack is pretty good.

ALSO READ: Amazon Echo Spot review

Verdict

Amazon Echo Input is a nifty addition to the Alexa hardware ecosystem which already has some interesting devices like Amazon Fire TV and Echo Spot. Echo Input makes a lot of sense for those who have been reluctant to invest in a smart speaker otherwise. The device works just fine and more important lets you stay loyal to your speaker.

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