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Echo Flex Evaluation: A $25 Plug it in Alexa Speaker

Echo Flex Review: A $25 Plug it in Alexa Speaker

Echo Flex Evaluation: A $25 plug-it-in Alexa speaker

“Being a stand-alone, absolutely practical Echo speaker, the Echo Flex is a wonderful worth.”

  • Compact dimension
  • Inconspicuous
  • Has audio output jack
  • An unbiased Alexa speaker
  • Very inexpensive
  • Equipment price additional
  • Poor audio high quality
  • Poor voice recognition

Amazon just lately launched a number of new Alexa units, and one of many firm’s most inexpensive new choices is the Echo Flex. The Flex retails for $25, however throughout Cyber Week and different buying occasions, Amazon has been providing the system on sale for an excellent lower cost. What’s the Echo Flex? What precisely can the Echo Flex do? What options does it boast? Is that this $25 system an acceptable different to bigger, costlier Echo audio system?

Plug it in, plug it in

The Echo Flex comes packaged within an extremely cute little field, and it comprises the Echo Flex speaker and a fast begin information. There are not any cords or cables mandatory, as you merely plug the Flex proper into an outlet. After you obtain the Amazon Alexa app to your smartphone and plug the Flex into your wall outlet, you simply comply with the on-screen directions within the app so as to add the Echo Flex speaker.

Nonetheless, if the app doesn’t routinely immediate you to arrange your Echo Flex, you simply faucet the units icon within the app, choose the “+” signal so as to add a tool, select so as to add an Echo Flex, and comply with the on-screen prompts. General, setup takes lower than 5 minutes.

echo flex review angled viewErika Rawes/Digital Tendencies

The Echo Flex speaker is extraordinarily small, measuring solely 2.8-inches tall and a couple of.6-inches huge. In contrast to most Echo audio system which have a cylindrical form, the Echo Flex is box-shaped. It has a USB port on the underside portion the place you possibly can join the non-obligatory equipment (extra on that later), and you’ll even join a charging cable and cost up your telephone.

You may plug the Flex immediately into your wall outlet the place it will probably sit unnoticed. It’s not an excessive amount of larger or any extra noticeable than a typical sensible plug.

On the entrance face of the Echo Flex, there’s an indicator mild that allows you to know Alexa is listening. There’s additionally an motion button and a microphone off button, so you possibly can fully cease Alexa from listening if you need. On the aspect of the system, there’s a 3.5 mm audio output jack.

Full Alexa performance

Amazon has different miniature Alexa units, just like the Echo Enter. However, the Echo Enter requires a separate speaker to function. The Echo Flex is a very standalone, extraordinarily compact Alexa-enabled system. Alexa’s responses come immediately from the Flex, because it has its personal built-in speaker for playback and microphones for voice detection.

The system can management your sensible units, play the information, carry out Alexa abilities, reply questions, and extra. You may even use the Echo Flex to make hands-free calls, use customized abilities you create via Blueprints, handle your schedule, or get the morning site visitors report.

Poor audio, and even poorer voice recognition

You may play music on the Echo Flex, simply as you possibly can with bigger Echo audio system, however Amazon clearly states within the product’s description that the speaker is “not optimized for music playback.” So, the audio high quality on the Echo Flex isn’t superb in any respect. Sure, you possibly can hear music, and you’ll hear Alexa’s responses, however the sound isn’t very loud and it lacks depth. It in all probability sounds about nearly as good because the audio system on a mean smartphone. You may, nevertheless, join a extra highly effective speaker by way of Bluetooth or utilizing the three.5 mm audio output jack.

It’s not optimized for music playback

Though the awful audio may be circumvented by connecting an exterior speaker, there’s nothing to assist out the Flex’s poor speech detection. The Flex’s microphones don’t do an excellent job of listening to instructions except you’re in shut proximity to the system. You often need to be inside six to eight toes of the Flex to get it to constantly hear your instructions. That is maybe the system’s greatest flaw.

The Echo Flex is beneficial in areas just like the kitchen or the storage. You may management your sensible lights and use Alexa with out having to shout instructions at one other Alexa speaker in one other room in your house. If you happen to’re cooking within the kitchen, you possibly can ask Alexa questions on measurements and recipes, or have her management your sensible home equipment.

Cool non-obligatory equipment

You should buy non-obligatory equipment which can be uniquely designed for the Echo Flex. They plug immediately into the USB port on the underside. The 2 equipment — a Third Actuality Sensible Nightlight for Echo Flex and a Third Actuality Movement Sensor for Echo Flex — increase the system’s options, and so they every retail for $15 (however you possibly can generally discover them on sale for $12).

Plug both of them into the underside of the Echo Flex, it routinely acknowledges the accent. There’s just about no setup required. For the reason that Echo Flex solely has one USB port, you possibly can solely use one accent at a time, so you can’t use the sunshine and the movement sensor concurrently (except you may have two separate Echo Flex audio system).

echo flex review hero with accessoriesErika Rawes/Digital Tendencies

The movement sensor is a PIR (passive infrared) sensor. It will probably detect movement as much as 20 toes away, and you’ll create routines utilizing the sensor. For example, you possibly can have your lights or a fan activate once you enter the room, or you possibly can have Alexa play a customized message once you stroll by.

The nightlight additionally connects to the Echo Flex’s USB port, and it options 6 RGB LEDs you possibly can management along with your voice or with the Alexa app. You may inform the nightlight to alter colours, regulate the brightness stage, or create routines utilizing the sunshine. It additionally has a sensor that routinely turns the nightlight on when it will get darkish, after which turns the sunshine off when it’s daylight.

echo flex review with first lightErika Rawes/Digital Tendencies

I examined each equipment as a part of the evaluation, and I discovered myself utilizing the nightlight greater than the movement sensor. The nightlight isn’t super-bright, nevertheless it’s simply vivid sufficient to mild the way in which in pitch darkish. It’s enjoyable to alter the sunshine’s colours from pink to blue to inexperienced, and the sunshine makes the Echo Flex look extra full, and it improves the general aesthetic.

The movement sensor, whereas considerably helpful, operates on a little bit of a delay generally. I set a routine to have the lights activate when the sensor prompts. Nonetheless, it took nearly 45 seconds for the motion to completely happen. The sensor additionally falsely stories movement at instances due to sure environmental triggers. So, all in all, I’d say the sunshine is extra of a worthwhile addition.

Guarantee

The Echo Flex comes with a 90-day restricted guarantee. Nonetheless, you should buy an prolonged accident safety guarantee from Sq. Commerce for between $Three and $Eight that covers the system for as much as three further years.

Our take

Being a standalone, absolutely practical Echo speaker that retails for $25, the Echo Flex is a particularly good worth. Though it doesn’t provide stellar voice-recognition or sound high quality, the system nonetheless has its deserves as an additional speaker for placement in rooms like garages, bedrooms, and kitchens.

Is there a greater different?

That relies upon. The Echo Dot is a extra highly effective system when it comes to its sound high quality. It has 4 far-field microphones to select up your voice, and it has a considerably bigger driver for playback. Nonetheless, the Echo Dot is designed for positioning on a floor, as an alternative of in a wall outlet. The Dot additionally retails for $50, which is double the worth of the Flex.

How lengthy will it final?

Amazon updates its {hardware}… so much. The corporate continues to come back out with increasingly Alexa units, so the Alexa app possible isn’t going anyplace for a very long time. The corporate additionally seems to be focusing extra on inexpensive audio system and shows. The Echo Present 5, Echo Present 8, Echo Dot with Clock, and Echo Enter are all examples of such inexpensive Echo choices.

Primarily based on what we’ve seen from Amazon over the previous few years, historical past tells us the corporate will possible come out with a brand new or completely different model of the Echo Flex. However, this doesn’t imply the corporate with discontinue help for the Echo Flex anytime quickly. You may confidently buy the system, and it ought to final you for fairly some time. The Echo Flex is well-made general, and it shouldn’t randomly break with out purpose.

Do you have to purchase it?

Sure. If you happen to’re in search of an ultra-entry-level sensible speaker, or should you’re trying so as to add one other Alexa speaker to your own home, the Echo Flex is an efficient selection.

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