- Gadgets.Amazon Echo Auto arrives in Spain: Alexa in your car for 59.99 euros
- Analysis.Echo Show 5: Alexa becomes a smart alarm clock
Echo Auto is an easy product to explain, but something more complex to understand: Alexa for the car . On paper, the idea of turning even an R5 into a smart, connected car is a good one and the result is more than satisfactory. However, the question remains whether it is necessary to buy a product (59.99 euros) that does almost the same thing as a phone connected to the stereo and placed on the dashboard. The best way to answer this question, of course, is to test it. The device, not the dashboard.
The idea was to convert my car - well, my father's - into the Fantastic Car (missile above, submachine gun below). And nothing better to prove it than the closest thing to the challenges that a secret super agent must face: the A-3 on a Friday in July. Suitcases, keys, dog, Echo Auto already on the road. Tintinirin tintinirin tintinirin tintin.
Not so fast.
The setup process is straightforward, to be sure, but it needs to be done in the car . In addition, in this increasingly wireless world you have to connect two cables (the power one, with a microUSB input, and the auxiliary to the audio for using a car without Bluetooth), which would not be much of a problem if it weren't for the fact that apart from the highway we Kiko and Paula are waiting for my sister - who stays with the dog - and a gas station where they can refuel and buy potatoes, Kit-Kat and Kinder eggs, which is what you eat on trips. Considering that we should have left half an hour ago, we are wrong. Kit, stop warming up and go back to the bench, which you turn around.
Interlude of paellas, beer, beach, cream, sand that no matter how much you rub returns to Madrid, books, salt and masks.
The A-3 waits again in vice versa, Echo Auto was already configured and the problem of the cables, solved. We go out - again - late and give Alexa the first order: play the tune of the fantastic car. "Sorry, I can't find what you're asking me." Do not do this to me.
The funny thing is that after that initial stumble, the car does come to resemble Kit in a way. It plays music (specific songs, lists or at its discretion, both in Amazon Music and Spotify), it indicates how far and time things are and He even tells a joke ("Why were Chiquito's horses so good? Because they came from Bonanza"). Of course, I had asked for a joke from Chiquito de la Calzada and this is one about Chiquito, which is not the same. It's like asking for an orange juice and having Tang brought to you.
Beyond very specific errors, he understands orders and gives precise answers, which in the end is his reason for being. The best thing is that as Amazon provides new functions to Alexa, they should come to this device with updating the app.
The various Alexa skills allow Echo Auto to also offer games ranging from an escape room to a Trivial (capable of adjusting the difficulty of the questions if one of the participants is smaller). If a traffic jam comes it can be almost a blessing.
Anyway, where Echo Auto shines is not in the software (it's just the assistant app open on the phone), but in its components. Specifically, in its eight microphones. Alexa always listens and is attentive to respond when she hears your name, regardless of music, the road and the conversation .
When it comes to the design, it couldn't be easier and in this case it is something positive: two buttons (action and activate and deactivate the microphone) and a small bar that lights up when Alexa listens is all you need to be able to be used without taking your eyes off the road.
The ports are a microUSB input and a traditional audio input, two standards that have a foot and a half in a grave that has been dug by USB-C. The second is still maintained as a Gallic village and is, in fact, something that users request for their mobiles; The first one will possibly mean having to carry two different cables in case you want to charge the phone in the car.
Wiring is essential and this makes it visually lose points, especially if the car does not have Bluetooth and you have to use the audio connector. If in later models Amazon bets on a small battery, it will win a lot.
In the newer models it is most likely redundant due to the connection of the telephone itself or the assistants included by the manufacturers; in the older or cheaper ones it does make sense. Today a car with an Echo Auto will not be fantastic, but it is remarkable. Now, in the times of the series, any car with the capabilities provided by the device would seem like magic and it is a trick that costs just 60 euros.
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