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Synopsis: In this article, I pledge to do my very best to give you a thorough Amazon Echo Auto Review that was just released last year, including the pros and cons. My goal? To help you discover how Alexa can help you on the road ahead this year and beyond.
The Bottom Line First
Now in its long-awaited 2nd Generation, Amazon’s new Echo Auto brings location-aware Alexa to your car at an affordable price.
With Alexa as your co-pilot, things you already do in your car become simpler.
Echo Auto can help you navigate to your destinations, listen to your favorite music and podcasts, play audiobooks, make calls hands-free, as well as help you find the nearest gas station or taco stand. Alexa can even help you manage your calendar, to-dos, and shopping lists—all from the comfort of your driver’s seat.
Plus, with the latest “2nd-Generation” Echo Auto, you get a better form factor and new capabilities. These include a slim new design, a five-microphone array so Alexa can hear you over music and road noise, as well as a fast car charger so you can charge your phone using the device.
Let’s get into some of the pros and cons of this Alexa-on-the-road device in my Echo Auto Review.
Echo Auto Review: Pros and Cons
The new device is so much improved over the 1st Generation I can’t, in good faith, recommend the Gen 1 Echo Auto anymore.
I’ll include an image of the new 2nd Gen Model below.Here are the pros and cons as I see them right now:
📚 Related: Echo Auto 2nd Gen Vs 1st Gen
9 Ways Echo Auto Makes Driving a Gas
So what would an Echo Auto review be without telling you what this bad Larry can do? In this article, I’ll dive deeper and review nine ways the Amazon Echo Auto can make your drive easier, more interesting, and more fun.
Here they are:
- Way #1. Navigate Like a Boss
- Way #2. Make Phone Calls and Send Texts
- Way #3. Get Your Tunes How You Like ‘Em
- Way #4. Enjoy a Relaxing Audio Book
- Way #5. Receive a Warm Welcome Home
- Way #6. Manage Your Busy Calendar
- Way #7. Find Nearby Restaurants and Services
- Way #8. Food Shop from the Road
- Way #9. The Other Cool Alexa Stuff Too
Of course, I’ll go into each of the nine ways in more detail below. Read on, fellow commuters!!
While I don’t have the latest-Gen device in hand just yet, I’ve done a TON of research since this was announced, and I have enough experience with Gen 1 to feel I can cover the bases for you here.
I even wrote up a review that compares Roav Viva vs Echo Auto last year if you are interested in learning more about Roav Viva.
That said, here’s my UPDATED Echo Auto review for this year.
But first, a flashback!
Here is a video of when Amazon announced the Gen 1 Echo Auto [along with other products] at their annual “surprise event.”
Here’s how Echo Auto can help you own the road this year.
Way #1. Navigate Like a Boss
I’m terrible with directions. I couldn’t find my way out of a paper bag. Before the advent of GPS, I often traveled back to my old neighborhood the next town over to use that launch point for my latest excursion. [Yep, THAT bad.] Needless to say, GPS navigation apps like WAZE, Google Maps, and, yes, even Siri have been a godsend.
That is AFTER you get them open.
Admit it, you’ve been here too. Fumbling around to get these apps open and ready for the state when they are ready for your input can range from annoying to infuriating to downright dangerous.
And what’s up with that Waze screen that makes you lie and say you’re a passenger before you can get directions??
I always feel dirty after pressing that Passenger button.
Yeah, I’m trying to drive someplace right now, so let’s open up the !@#$&* app already!
Echo Auto promises to solve all this by providing real, on-demand, voice-controlled directions.
Way #2. Make Phone Calls and Send Texts
Despite laws and hefty fines, the number of people I still see texting and driving regularly makes me nuts.
Hopefully, Alexa can help make this ancient history with simple hands-free texting capabilities that actually work.
But what about phone calls?
My little Mercedes wagon has a voice recognition setup that will let me make calls over voice. Aren’t you impressed?
I’m not. It is so over-the-top complicated and unreliable that I never use it.
With some very basic setup to integrate Alexa with your address book, Alexa will let you make phone calls and send text messages using your voice simply. And Amazon continues to add more skills to Alexa on the communications front. For example, you can use drop-in calling to let your family know you are on your way home from work.
Thanks to our friends at Old Nerd Reviews for this helpful unboxing video on the 1st Gen product:
Way #3. Get Your Tunes How You Like ‘Em
This next one is probably my favorite way in my Echo Auto review.
If you own an Echo device, you know that Alexa has mad skills in the music department.
No question. Alexa can help you get your groove on as you ease on down the road.
Hmm. Now I wonder if there is a skill to control my satellite radio. I will look into this and report back.
Either way, this will be one of our favorite ways to use Amazon Echo Auto on the road in 2022.
Way #4. Enjoy a Relaxing Audio Book
In addition to tunes, with an Audible subscription, you can listen to the world’s largest collection of audiobooks.
This can be great for that long commute to and from work. Even better, it can help calm your nerves when stuck in the bleeping Boston traffic. That can be enough to make you want to get out of the car, jump and down on the roof, and scream to the high heavens.[Yup, me again! Boston traffic is the worst!]
Don’t have Audible yet? Click here for Amazon’s latest Audible subscription offer.
Echo Auto Review Way #5. Receive a Warm Welcome Home
With Alexa and Echo Auto at your fingertips—um, I mean voice—the world is yours.
You can combine Alexa with your smart home devices to create “routines” that are anything but…routine.
For example, you could have a welcome home routine that automatically detects when you are within a few hundred feet of home, turns on the outside lights, opens the garage door, turns on a few lights in your home, and even tunes the TV to your favorite local news program. Pretty cool.
Similarly, you could have a “Workday” routine that automatically locks your door, opens the garage door, closes your smart blinds, and turns on your daytime lighting configuration. Also cool.
Way #6. Manage Your Busy Calendar
I don’t know about you, but I’m terrible at managing my calendar. I am too often caught up in what I’m doing [read blogging] and neglect to take the time to manage my schedule properly. If only I had a secretary…but wait! I can get Alexa to manage this for me. Problem solved!
With Alexa as my assistant, I can ask her to schedule meetings, set appointments, send reminders, and more. And with web calendar integration, I have full access to my calendar from anywhere with a web browser, including my phone. Shoot. I have a dentist’s appointment tomorrow at two.
Let’s get into Way #7 of my Echo Auto review.
Way #7. Find Nearby Restaurants and Services
Almost out of gas? No problem. Just ask Alexa the location of the nearest and least expensive gas station. Hungry for a huge cheeseburger with extra pickles and a side of fries? [Oh wait, that’s me…]
Alexa’s got’chu. Just ask her the location of the nearest hamburger joint. You’ll never run out of gas—or go hungry—again.
On to our Echo Auto Review Way #8.
Way #8. Food Shop from the Road
I do some of my best thinking in my car. When I think, I usually get hungry! Luckily, I will soon be able to use Alexa lists to add items to my shopping list while I drive.
I recently set up Peapod integration, so now I ask “Alexa, Ask Peapod to add Powerade Zero to my shopping cart.”
And she does it!
Speaking of lists, my car seems like a great place to put Alexa to work on my good old to-do list as well.
“Alexa, add work on my To-do List to my To-Do List.”
Way #9. Get All The Other Cool Alexa Stuff Too
Of course, you get all of your favorite Alexa skills too.
This includes weather reports, news, alarms, games, jokes, Find My Phone, food delivery, etc.
So that wraps up my Echo Auto Review 9 ways that Alexa can help. What do you think? Is there anything I missed?
Let’s take a quick look at the setup process next. The 2nd Gen setup process is pretty much the same as the 1st Gen, with Alexa doing most of the heavy lifting.
Setting Up Your New Echo Auto
Brian from Automate Your Life does a nice job with his own Echo Auto Review and a video walkthrough that includes setting up a new Echo Auto.
Thanks for pausing the game, man. Very helpful!
Echo Auto Review: Fun Fact
Out of curiosity, I Googled “Echo Auto Review” shortly after Amazon announced this product way back in 2018.
At the time, there were 92 Google results with these words in the title. Yes, that number indicates the number of pages with those words in the title from the Internet.
I tried again a little over one year later, and Google spits back 15,100,000 results.
Last year I tried again, and there were 52,900,000 results! And again, just now, there were a whopping 65,700,000 results.
How’s that for crazy popularity?
That said, I feel pretty special that you discovered MY review in that FAT haystack.
Discover What Alexa in Your Car Can Do For You
Click the button below to learn more about Echo Auto at Amazon.
Amazon Echo Auto Review – Your Turn
So what do you think of my Echo Auto review and ways you can use it this year?
Are you clear on what Echo Auto can do to help you own the road?
Did you get the information you were looking for? Are you as excited as we are about putting Alexa in your car?
Please leave a comment below and let me know. I would love to hear from you.
Until next time, be careful out there!
Beep beep !
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Tim Brennan, a tech blogger and host of the @TecTimmy YouTube channel, writes about smart homes at oneSmartcrib, home theaters at UniversalRemoteReviews, and AI in writing at Writeinteractive. He holds a Journalism degree from Northeastern University and has covered technology for three decades. He lives on the ocean in Nahant, Massachusetts.
Please subscribe to my YouTube channel for a fun take on all things tech.