Tried Amazon Echo Auto... - Toyota GT 86 Forums UK
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 29th June 2020, 20:42 Thread Starter
amcluesent's Avatar
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Glasgow
Posts: 1,090
Tried Amazon Echo Auto...

Short review - Sending it back.

Long Review - With the easy access to USB port and 3.5mm Aux input, this does connect very easily. If I was keeping it, would try and neaten wires by popping off the panels. Once connected and linked to mobi by Bluetooth, the eight microphone array picked up voice command over engine/wind noise very well. All the usual Alexa commands/skills are possible, asking for weather, news etc. You can also set appointments, reminders etc. that then get added to the phone calendar. The unit itself has no built in features such as GPS or even a battery, it is only a fancy microphone and line out, plus that Bluetooth link to your mobi. NB the unit can also Bluetooth link to your headunit, but I wanted to try it wired - you get the option to choose connection on setup.

If you have Amazon Music Unlimited you can ask for any music you can think of, and it'll start streaming plus make use of subscriptions to Spotify and TuneIn 'stations'. That's my first dislike, it only plays music by streaming - even if you have a shedload of tracks downloaded into an SD-card, these can't be played. As soon as you lose data connection on the mobi, the music stops. Also, that streaming could take a big chunk of your data allowance. I'd say music quality was just OK, the Bluetooth link isn't apt-X so even if you have Amazon Music HD you lose the benefit due to compression. My next dislike that all sounds from the mobi, such as 'tings' from email arrival are transmitted into the car at full volume. The s/w needs work so that system sounds are only played on the phone speaker.

Navigation is a weak too. You can say 'Alexa, navigate to ...' and it'll start Google Maps but of course all you can hear are the spoken directions unless the phone is on its own mount.

Asking to call worked well, just say "Alexa, call ..." from the contacts in your mobi. This might be an option in a rental car or pool car where you don't want to download all your contacts into the headunit. If you have Echo units in the home, you can ask to connect directly rather then ringing the home phone.

In the box you get a vent mount, micro USB and 3.5mm cables and a 12V USB adaptor, none of which I used in the pic!

All in all it's not worth £50 to me. If I could voice command to play music held on SD-Card maybe a different story. Of course if you have an older car with no Bluetooth for hands-free calling, then it adds a lot.
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 30th June 2020, 10:51
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Kent
Posts: 1,227
Great review!

Correct me if I'm wrong though, but isn't it a bit of a redundant product? If it needs a phone to connect to to do anything...why not just use the voice control on the phone? I set my phone to connect automatically once I get in the car, and if I'm going on any sort of long journey, I'll take the phone out and attach it to the dash mount, so I can just say "OK Google..." from there if I need to. I guess that's not practical if you keep the phone in your pocket, but is it really just a glorified microphone?
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