Why the Amazon Echo Input got our lowest review yet

Why the Amazon Echo Input got our lowest review yet

What do you get when you strip an Amazon Echo Dot of its mouth and you’re just left with Alexa’s ear? The newest device in the Amazon Echo lineup, the Amazon Echo Input. A cloud-connected, coaster looking, hockey puck that lacks a speaker of its own but promises to turn any external speaker into an Amazon Echo device.

Amazon Echo devices are the most accessible and versatile smart assistant speakers out there. Alexa already works with many third-party connected devices. But when it comes to bringing your trusty old stereo into the 21st century by turning it into smart connected device there hasn’t really been a solution…until now.

Now you can Alexa-enable any third-party speaker.

Amazon released the Amazon Echo Input; a small internet connected device for those looking to add smart capabilities to their already great home stereo systems. The Echo Input pairs up with your external speaker as output. Once paired, you can do pretty much anything a regular Amazon Echo device can.

For the audiophiles who own a great standalone speaker set with sound quality they really enjoy, but who lack smart functionality, Amazon believes they’ve got an answer. Due to it not having a speaker built in, the Echo Input is a fraction of the size and thickness of the Echo Dot – making it ideal for being inconspicuous and out of the way.

Whether via the 3.5 mm aux cord or Bluetooth, the Amazon Echo Input can connect to an external speaker and make it a smart device. You set it up just as you would any other Echo device, using the Amazon Alexa mobile app. In the mobile app, you can modify device settings, give it a different name, or assign a different location.

If the Echo Input use the same far-field microphone technology as the Echo Dot and you can connect it to external speakers via Bluetooth or an aux jack, just like the Echo Dot, what’s the big deal about the new Amazon Echo Input?

Where the Echo Input really shines is in its mobility and discreteness because of its size. In this review, we will cover more of the Amazon Echo Input’s features and why you may want to consider getting it.

But first, let’s answer the questions we get asked the most often about the Echo Input.

Amazon Echo Input

amazon echo input review

3.8 out of 5


  • Adds Alexa and voice control to just about any basic speaker
  • Easy to hide
  • Small, sleek and cheap
  • Full-featured including calling and drop in (with a caveat)


  • Bluetooth connectivity issues
  • Voice recognition suffers if playing loud music near the device
  • LED light not as visible as the Echo light ring


  • Echo Input
  • Power adapter (5W)
  • Micro-USB cable
  • 1m AUX cable
  • Quick Start Guide.


  • Size: 3.1” x 0.5” (80 mm x 13.8 mm)
  • Weight: 2.75 oz. (78 grams)
  • Wi-Fi connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi supports 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 and 5 GHz) networks
  • Bluetooth connectivity: Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) support for audio streaming from your Echo Input to your Bluetooth speaker.
  • System Requirements: Echo Input comes ready to connect to your Wi-Fi.

Why the Amazon Echo Input got our lowest review yet 1



What is Echo Input?

The Echo Input is the newest Amazon Echo device. It is just the microphone portion of an Echo Dot. It promises to turn any speaker into a smart speaker. And because of its size, you can add Alexa to any area of the home.


Is Echo Input compatible with Sonos? Bose Soundlink? Homepod? Soundbar? Google home?

Why the Amazon Echo Input got our lowest review yet 2

Echo Input is compatible with many popular stereo and speaker systems. Sonos, Soundbars, etc are all compatible devices. Essentially if you can plug an aux cord into it or connect to it via Bluetooth it can be connected to the Echo Input.


Is there an Echo Input for a car or an Echo Input auto?

While it is possible to use the Echo Input in your car. Amazon does not officially recommend this as it already has a device specifically built for the car called Amazon Echo Auto. Voice recognition on the Echo Auto has been trained to be very effective in the noisy car environment whereas the Echo Input may not be as effective.

But of course, it’s been tried.

When will Echo Input be available?

Amazon Echo Input is available on Amazon now. Get yours today. Amazon Auto is still only available by invitation only.

Next, we’ll discuss the Echo Input’s design, functionality, and price tag.



Weighing in at just 2.75 oz, and 3.1 inches wide (80 mm wide and 14 mm tall), Amazon Echo Input is easily hidden in plain sight and actually could get confused for a coaster if left out in the wrong place. Being really thin – at just one centimeter thick – the device can be easily tucked away as though it never existed.

The Echo Input is available in a matte black or a matte white finish. In addition to 4 microphones that provide good range and sensitivity for voice recognition, 2 buttons grace the top of the device; one for muting Alexa and the other for activating the device.

On the bottom, the Echo Input sports a soft rubber grip so that it doesn’t easily slide on smooth surfaces. On the back, the device comes with a micro USB power adapter and an auxiliary output. This means that you can even power the Echo Input with your computer.

We, for one, are very happy to see Amazon return to micro USB power after the switch to a proprietary DC adapter left a sour taste in our mouths.

Rounding out the design is an LED in the center of the device that glows blue when Alexa is listening and red when the device is muted, reminiscent of the light ring.

The Echo Input comes with strong dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity, keeping Alexa within your reach. This is great given that the device needs to be connected to Wi-Fi for setup. It is a very minimalistic device that feels very light to the touch but also quite solid.



Designed primarily as an input device, the Amazon Echo Input is meant to be used with external speakers. But in fact, the Echo Input does not need to be connected to speakers to function. You can use it as a silent mic if you just want to be able to control your smart home devices in the background.

The downside of this, of course, is that there is no audio feedback or confirmation from Alexa.

Some of our favorite features are that the Echo Input comes with a 3.5 mm aux cord included in the box whereas the Echo Dot does not. In addition, once paired with a speaker device, the Echo Input offers the exact same Alexa features we’ve come to love; answering questions, controlling smart home devices, streaming music, doing drop-ins, setting alarms, and making phone calls.

But there are many issues we discovered too.

To begin with, the small LED in the center that lights up when Alexa is listening is almost too small to see which makes it hard to visually acknowledge that Alexa is ready in comparison to the light ring on other Echo family devices.

amazon echo input review

To compensate for this, Alexa plays a sound when the Echo Input hears you say “Alexa”. For all other Echo devices, this is an optional feature but it comes on by default on the Echo Input due to the limitations of the LED.

The Echo Input’s volume controls are also independent of the connected external speaker. Alexa does not inform you when you try to change the volume by asking her, that you’re not affecting the speaker volume but rather the Echo Input’s volume as a source.

This can easily trip up even the most experienced users who may assume Alexa controls the volume of the actual speaker. To adjust the volume of your speaker you’d need to do that from the controls of the actual speaker’s model.

Next, when placed in a loud environment such as near the external speaker, the Echo Input struggles to hear you and you will need to raise your voice. Here the Echo Input’s noise cancellation and voice recognition functionality are not as good as the Echo Dot since the Dot comes with a built-in speaker built specifically to reduce interference of the mic.

Keeping the device away from noisy TVs or other speakers can help solve this issue – which means connecting via Bluetooth.

But there are a lot of issues with Bluetooth connectivity on the Amazon Echo Input.

For one, if you connect the Echo Input via Bluetooth you lose the ability to do drop-ins or calls. In addition, your external speaker may struggle to initially register the Echo Input as a device that it can be connected to.

Additionally, some stereos and amps have a low power setting that shut off Bluetooth when no audio or output comes from a speaker after a certain period of time. So if this happens to you, while the Echo Input would remain on and ready for you to command, you wouldn’t hear any of the output.

Even though you can switch between multiple Bluetooth connections via the Amazon Alexa app, the Echo Input can only be connected to one other Bluetooth device at a time. This means you can’t connect your phone to the Echo Input and stream music from your phone through the external speaker via the Echo Input.

Both your phone and the speaker would need to be connected via Bluetooth. You are limited to connecting either your phone or a speaker to the Echo Input.

You might assume with Bluetooth having so many issues, the aux cord would be the best way to go right?

Mostly right. 

Connecting your Echo Input to your speaker via the aux also has its drawbacks. For one, you’ll have a hard time with Alexa’s voice recognition due to the speaker’s audio causing interference. Again, you will likely have to shout to be heard. Also, the speaker can still go to sleep after some time and this would cause Alexa to seem unresponsive since you can’t hear her.

Why the Amazon Echo Input got our lowest review yet 3

For the best sound and simplest setup, the best solution may be to use the audio jack as a direct connection to a set of external speakers that allow you to turn off the sleep mode or auto shut-off mode settings. This way, you still have access to make calls and use Alexa’s drop-in functionality.

One silver lining is that the Alexa mobile app will notify you if the Echo Input’s volume is muted or the device is no longer connected to a speaker.



The Amazon Echo Input is a decent addition to the Echo family lineup and is available now in the US and the UK for a low $35 and £35 respectively. That’s just $15 less than the Echo Dot.

The Echo Input obviously doesn’t come with the speaker attached and as a result, the device costs less. But it seems that Amazon may have put itself into a corner by pricing the original Echo Dot so low when it launched.

With Echo Dots frequently on sale, for sometimes as little as $30, consumers are often left wondering why even buy an Echo Input?



For most people when comparing the Echo Input and the Echo Dot, it’s hard to justify not buying the Echo Dot. The $15 difference seems minor when you consider all the added benefits of the Echo Dot.

But for true audiophiles out there, it’s hard to argue the value of the Echo Input. This device brings back the usefulness of great sounding stereo systems. Due to its size, the Echo Input has a totally different use case than the Echo Dot – allowing you to have an Echo in any area or room you want (remember the guy setting one up in this car).

The Amazon Echo Input is minimalistic, simplistic, and does what it promises to do – Alexa-enable any speaker in any room for a low price. It’s not a device for everyone, but for those who see the value in it, it is a good purchase.

We believe that Amazon will start bundling it’s Echo Inputs as an extra for consumers purchasing fancy speaker systems such as the Sonos or Bose speakers in order to gain market share.

Further reading:

Was this post helpful?

No Responses

Write a response