Echo Flex Plug-in Mini Smart Speaker with Alexa
While the compact and cheap Echo Dot is an immense technique to have Alexa in your bedroom, home office, or lounge, it’s not a lot of help in a space with minimal or nonexistent shelf space such as a counter, hallway, or shed.
Enter the Echo Flex Plug Mini Smart Speaker with Alexa; it’s a miniature square Echo device with an incorporated AC power adapter you can connect directly to a power outlet.
The Echo Flex’s audio quality is iffy, which means it isn’t suitable for music, but it’s okay for communicating with Alexa.
In addition, the integrated USB port allows you to connect optional motion-sensor and night vision modules. Best of all, the Echo Flex is cheap at around $25.
Weighing 5.2 ounces and about the size of a USB wall adapter, the boxy, 1.75 inch-thick Echo Flex Plug is from a design aspect far away from the fabric-covered Echo Dot.
While the Echo Dot is right at home on a bookshelf next to family photos, the practical Echo Flex looks like something out of a toolbox.
On the front, the Echo Flex has the basic Echo ‘Action and mic-muting switches with a pointer light above them that flickers when Alexa is listening alongside a pair of microphone holes.
Under the buttons are two small speaker ports, while the 3.5mm audio jack is on the side of the device.
These are the same controls on the Echo Dot but with a noteworthy exception; there are no volume switches which means that you’ll need to ask Alexa or play around with the Alexa app to change the Amazon Echo Flex’s volume.
Once you get over the Echo Flex’s lackluster design and crappy sound quality, you’ll start to realize that it can do pretty much anything the Echo Dot can.
For instance, you can ask Alexa to do the usual variety of tasks, from turning on your lights and checking the weather to reciting sports scores.
In addition, you can use it to enable ‘Guard’ mode, which allows Alexa to check for suspicious sounds such as breaking glass or fire alarms.
As with any other Echo device, you can pair the Echo Flex with an external Bluetooth speaker via the 3.5mm audio jack on the right side of the device.
If you need privacy, you can hit the mute mic button or the action button, which allows you to reset the device or silence alarms.
As illustrated above, the Echo Flex’s audio quality isn’t impressive as far as music is concerned.
Amazon should be credited for not making false claims about the Echo Flex because they clearly state in the product description that the Flex’s speaker isn’t optimized for music playback.
Indeed, the Flex’s mini driver is similar to that of a radio or walkie-talkie, and it makes the Echo Dot’s driver seem lush in comparison.
If you’d like to play tracks on the Echo Flex, you’re better off connecting it to a Bluetooth speaker or connecting it to a wired speaker via the 3.5mm audio jack.
What’s more, you can also ask the Echo Flex to play tracks on another Echo speaker or speaker group.
Getting the Flex up and running is easy if you already have other Echo devices in your home.
For instance, if you get a Flex using the Amazon account that you’ve used to register your home Alexa devices, the Echo Flex should be able to connect itself automatically to your Wi-Fi.
With your other Echo Dots acting as ‘assistant’ devices for the connection procedure, no password is needed.
The setup procedure is flawless if you’re careful, and the Flex will connect to your Wi-Fi network within a minute or so after plugging it in.
Even if you don’t have any other Echo devices at home, setting up the Echo Flex as your first Echo device is as easy as setting up any other Echo speaker using the Alexa smartphone app.
As for the Flex’s alternative modules, well, you just connect them to the Flex’s USB socket, and they function. What’s more, Alexa will discover any connected modules automatically.
Once you have a module connected to the Echo Flex, you can use the Alexa App to label the module, for instance, kitchen motion sensor or incorporate it into routines or ask Alexa to control it.
For instance, you can say, “Alexa, turn the lounge light on.”
To sum it all up, the Echo Flex plug-in with Alexa is no music speaker because it was never meant to be.
However, its compact form factor makes it a great way to have Alexa functionality in places where Echo speakers wouldn’t fit.