Amazon Echo Flex Review
This plug-in speaker can also double as a motion sensor or night light.
It’s a plug. It’s a USB port…no, it’s a smart speaker? One of the most exciting products announced in the 2019 Amazon keynote was the Echo Flex, a smart speaker that actually plugs right into any outlet and boasts a USB port to boot. It’s great if you don’t want your smart speaker to take up much space, and it can even function as a night light and motion sensor. Obviously, I had to get my hands on one as soon as it was available, and when that box finally came, I couldn’t wait to test it out in this Echo Flex review. Let’s get started!
Amazon Echo Flex Pros and Cons
Okay, here are my favorite and least favorite things about the Echo Flex.
What We Like
- Price: Only $24.99 for a smart speaker? You had me at hello.
- Size: At only 2.8 by 2.6 by two inches, the Echo Flex doesn’t take up much real estate in your home.
- USB port: I’m always looking for more USB ports in my home, so the fact that this smart speaker doubles as one is a huge advantage.
What We Don’t Like
- No screen: Without a screen, the Echo Flex is limited to music, shopping and Alexa skills that doesn’t include video or displays of any kind.
- No Dolby technology: Without it, the smart speaker will use more data to produce the high-quality sound that you expect from an Amazon smart speaker.
- No LED clock display: The Echo Flex doesn’t tell you any information unless you ask for it.
Amazon Echo Flex Design
In my opinion, the best smart home technology is nearly invisible to the untrained eye. That’s why I’m so fascinated by the Echo Flex. Only taking up a couple of inches, it plugs into any indoor power outlet, providing you with a smart speaker that doesn’t take up much space. Like I said, it has a USB port on its face, which is incredibly convenient. On the bottom of the Echo Flex, you can either attach a night light or a motion sensor, ideal for homes with children to protect at night.
Connecting to your phone via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, the Echo Flex comes in white and measures only 2.8 inches across as it’s widest. The speaker is a mere .6 inches, but unfortunately, there’s no Dolby technology, which helps limit data usage for sound. Basically, the Echo Flex is the smart speaker at it’s most stripped down, but for $24.99, I can get behind that.
Of course, I’m not naive. I know that Amazon has had its fair share of privacy issues, and the idea of putting a smart speaker that’s always listening for its wake word is more than a little reminiscent of 1984. However, I am pleased that the Echo Flex has a button to turn the microphone off, electronically disconnecting your microphones. Whatever you want to talk about, you can rest assured that if you don’t want it to, your Echo Flex will not be listening.
Amazon Echo Flex Features
The Echo Flex is more than just a smart speaker. You can also use it as an intercom to talk to people in other rooms of your home, or make calls to anywhere in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada or Mexico. But the most important feature of the Echo Flex is its integration with none other than Alexa, Amazon’s voice assistant. Alexa has over 50,000 skills in a wide variety of categories, from fun and games to math and everything in between.
Since this is a smart speaker, after all, music options are of the utmost importance. With the Echo Flex, you can play music, podcasts, and audiobooks from:
- Amazon Music
- Apple Music
Most people use Apple Music or Spotify, so I’m really happy with these options.
I’ll give you three guesses to figure out that you can shop on Amazon using the Echo Flex. Of course, typically people like to actually see what they’re buying, but I could see this being useful for repeat purchases. Alexa, buy more popcorn!
Have you ever cooked something using a recipe from your phone? If so, you probably can empathize with the difficulty of figuring out the next step when your hands are covered in flour. Thank god for voice commands! Using the hands-free Echo Flex, you’ll be able to:
- Set a timer
- Convert measurements
- Ask Alexa to buy you an ingredient
- Search for recipes and get directions read to you step-by-step from Allrecipes
If cooking is not in your wheelhouse, you can use the Echo Flex to order food from Seamless or make reservations through OpenTable. Basically, if it concerns food, the Echo Show has got you covered.
Installing the Amazon Echo Flex
Installing the Echo Flex is as easy as, well, plugging in a plug! After you do the obvious, you are going to add the device in the Alexa app, then to your home’s Wi-Fi network. From there, you decide which room you want the Flex in, and you can name it. The entire process takes a couple of minutes at most!
The Alexa App
I named my Echo Flex the Echo Flex, because I’m incredibly creative. You’ll adjust the audio settings at the top of the Alexa app, but note that you can only change the audio if it’s already playing. Now, the sound on the Echo Flex is a bit tinny, so I recommend connecting it to other Bluetooth speakers in the Alexa app. It’s here where you’ll also control the night light’s brightness and color, as well as create routines for it if you want it to turn on at the same time each day.
Recap of the Amazon Echo Flex
Overall, I think the Echo Flex is an awesome addition to your smart home, or if you are just getting started, an affordable way to begin. However, it may not be the best smart speaker for everybody, so let’s break it down.
Buy the Echo Flex if you’re looking for…
- Small speaker: This is the most compact smart speaker I have ever seen!
- Low price: For only $24.99, it’s also one of the cheapest.
- USB port: With so many other connected devices, the Echo Flex will prove useful when you need a charge.
But don’t buy the Echo Flex if you wanted…
- Screen: Obviously, movies and TV shows are not possible with the Echo Flex.
- Dolby technology: For true music buffs, the Echo Flex’s speaker isn’t as strong as it is on the Echo, Echo Plus or Echo Studio, for example.
- Google Assistant integration: If you’re already in the Google ecosystem, then the Echo Flex definitely isn’t for you.
Amazon Echo Flex FAQs
What is Alexa Flex?
The Amazon Echo Flex is a smart speaker that plugs into any standard outlet and includes an Alexa integration.
How much does the Echo Flex cost?
The Echo Flex costs $24.99 on it’s own and $39.98 with the smart motion sensor or the smart night light.
Is there a monthly fee for Alexa?
No, there is no monthly fee to use Alexa.