Amazon Echo Flex: what it can’t do, but why you need one


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Erin Lawrence

amazon, echo, flex, review, why, speaker, how Do you have a space at home where you could really use the help of a digital assistant, but you don’t have a proper place to put one? Amazon now has the Amazon Echo Flex. The Echo Flex is designed to bring smart home control to smaller areas, bringing assistance from Alexa to more rooms in your home. I had a chance to add the Amazon Echo Flex to my smart home arsenal, and I’ll tell you what it’s best for, how well it works as well as what it can and shouldn’t be used for.

What is Amazon Echo Flex?

Amazon Echo Flex is the smallest Echo device you can buy. It fits easily in your hand, and has a plug built into the back so you can connect it directly into an AC outlet. It links you to Amazon’s digital assistant, Alexa. Use it to control your smart home gadgets like lighting, appliances, plugs and thermostats, or use it to get instant help setting timers, alarms and reminders.

What makes Echo Flex different?

Echo Flex is designed primarily to be a smart home connector where you can call for Alexa to turn the lights on, for example. Unlike other Echo devices, the Flex is not meant to be a used as a speaker for listening to music, podcasts and other audio. Amazon makes a point of noting this on its website, admitting up front Echo Flex  is not optimized for music playback. The company recommends that for richer and louder sound trying the Echo Dot or connecting Echo Flex to your own speaker via 3.5 mm aux or Bluetooth.

amazon, echo, flex, review, why, speaker, howSound quality of Amazon Echo Flex

The speaker is definitely small and tinny-sounding; the speaker itself is just under an inch long so while you could listen to nearly anything on it, but that’s not what it’s meant for, so for that reason I’m not going to try to rate the sound quality.

Where can I use Amazon Echo Flex?

You might wonder why you’d buy a smart device like Flex if it’s not meant for music listening. There are a few situations where Flex can be helpful:
  • Add it where you need smart home connectivity, but you don’t have furniture, a shelf or counter space available
  • Place it in the basement to ask Alexa to turn lights on or off as you head down
  • Use it in the laundry room when your hands are full
  • Plug it in the kitchen to set recipe timers or to add food to your grocery list
  • Use it in the garage to get Alexa to turn the lights on in the house as you’re heading inside
  • Try it in a high traffic hallway or near the door to call out for all the lights to be turned on or off as you enter or leave
  • Place it somewhere you don’t want wires trailing to your Echo speaker or Dot, like a workshop, bathroom, or small kitchen
  • Broadcast announcements like calling out dinner’s ready without screaming all over the house, or drop in using Amazon’s Drop In intercom feature which turns Echo devices into speakerphone-radios.
amazon, echo, flex, review, why, speaker, how The Echo Flex  has a built in USB port in the bottom. You can use it to connect devices for charging, or plug in one of Amazon’s accessories, like the motion sensor or night light.

Downside of Amazon Echo Flex

I did find one significant downside to the Amazon Echo Flex and that’s that it takes up an outlet unnecessarily, in my opinion. While it does allow USB access, that does limit what you might be able to plug into it. Plus, unless you want to block two outlets, the Flex also needs to be used in the bottom outlet.

Overall review of Amazon Echo Flex

Overall I’m a fan of Amazon’s Echo smart devices. They’re smart, reliable, handy and they control my smart home well. This is another blade in Amazon’s Swiss Army knife of smart home connected gadgets, allowing you to place an Echo in places that weren’t possible before now. Echo Flex is also the least expensive Echo on the market at around $30 bucks CAD, making it a great starter gadget if you’re wondering is getting a smart speaker-digital assistant is worth it. Find Amazon Echo Flex at Best Buy.

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