After Amazon introduced the original Echo smart speaker in 2013, not everyone wanted to buy a new speaker just to get access to Alexa.
The price point was hard to justify if you already had a great set of speakers to listen to music, which studies show is one of the primary uses of Alexa devices. To solve that problem, Amazon introduced the Echo Dot (now in its third generation), which offered an auxiliary cable to connect to any speaker that offered a 3.5 mm input.
So the Echo Input is just like the Echo Dot in that function. It just doesn’t have a speaker of its own, so it can’t operate independently. In exchange for sacrificing that functionality, the Echo Input is priced at half the price of the newest Echo Dot.
Since most people already own a speaker they’d prefer to use over Echo hardware, the low price, and the simple setup, the Echo Input is both the newest and best option for adding Alexa to your home or office environment.
What do you get with the Echo Input?
There’s the black disc-like Input device itself, which is about the circumference of a hockey puck, but just one-third the thickness.
There are two cables, a micro-USB to USB cable that provides power to the device (a plug is included too), and a 3.5 mm to 3.5 mm audio cable.
How to Set up the Echo Input:
- Plug your Input into a power source. Use the included plug to connect to an outlet, or you can plug the USB input to a device that will provide power. Some speakers offer this, so look for it as a way to avoid overloading your electrical outlets.
- Connect the audio cable to a speaker. This is not required, but Alexa will wake up and provide you with some basic audio instructions and feedback during the setup process. Since you can’t add a Bluetooth connection before connecting to your Wi-Fi network, the aux input is the only option for this.
- Depending on your vision, you should see an orange light on the Input’s LED. Open up your Alexa app and add a new device. Follow the wizard to complete the setup and you’re ready to start giving commands.
- To connect to your Bluetooth speaker, put the speaker into pairing mode. Navigate in the Alexa app to your Echo Input in the devices menu. Select Bluetooth Devices, then Pair a New Device. Once you have a device paired, you can tell Alexa to “connect to Bluetooth” or “disconnect from Bluetooth.”
The Echo Input is a smart addition to the Alexa hardware by Amazon. The Echo Dot is so popular because of its lower price point and its capability to connect to other speakers. Now people will have an even lower-cost option to do that with the Echo Input.