As a substitute of one thing that appears like a speaker, the Echo Flex is a wall plug which you can match into any outlet (. It is pretty small at solely 2.eight inches tall and a pair of.6 inches extensive, and it does not obscure the opposite outlet when plugged in. Since it is not reliant on taking on any horizontal floor actual property, the Flex can slot in many extra locations than the Dot. I used to be capable of plug this into the outlet above my rest room self-importance, for instance, which does not have room for a lot apart from a bar of cleaning soap and a pair toothbrushes.
Just like the Dot, the controls are fairly fundamental: There’s an “motion button” to allow Alexa, a mic mute toggle and an LED indicator that lights up at any time when Alexa is triggered. On the facet is a three.5mm jack via which you’ll be able to connect a speaker, and on the underside is a USB-A socket, which you should use to cost your telephone or connect one in all a number of equipment.
Wait, what? Sure, not like the opposite Echo audio system, you should purchase the Flex with varied non-obligatory equipment, which value $15 every. One is a great evening gentle, which works like an everyday evening gentle by default, which is to say it shuts off when there’s gentle and activates when it is darkish. However pair it with the Alexa app, and you may then regulate its brightness and alter the colour to one in all 16 hues, both with the app or simply by speaking to it.
One other accent I discovered helpful is the movement sensor, which can be utilized to create routines, particularly if you happen to personal different sensible house merchandise. For instance, once I had the Flex and movement sensor within the hallway, I set it up in order that my Philip Hue lights would come on once I walked by. You may also have it in order that it turns off the lights when it does not detect any movement for a sure time frame.
Other than these equipment, the Flex works identical to every other Alexa speaker. It will inform you the climate, who received final evening’s sport, what’s subsequent in your calendar and extra. You may also join it to your Hearth TV so you possibly can command Alexa to show in your tv. It performs music too, however the audio system sound tinny and have been clearly not supposed for this objective. Nonetheless, I suppose it really works in a pinch if you happen to simply want to listen to Lizzo whereas brushing your tooth within the morning.
On the face of it, the Echo Flex may look like simply one other Alexa speaker. But it surely might additionally turn into the proper Alexa computer virus in Amazon’s bid to take over the sensible house. It is versatile, it could match nearly anyplace and, as talked about, it is also extremely reasonably priced. For about the price of a single Amazon Echo ($99), you can purchase 4 Echo Flexes, thus including Alexa to nearly each room in your house.
But, even this may quickly be for naught. Amazon has since revealed that Alexa will quickly have the ability to run on low-spec gadgets with as little as 1MB of reminiscence and an inexpensive Cortex-M processor. Which means you’d have the ability to have Alexa on all types of low-end electronics, from lightbulbs to espresso makers, with out having to purchase specialty hardware like a sensible plug for instance. An Echo Flex or equal won’t be vital sooner or later. However till that occurs, the Echo Flex is a reasonably good option to indoctrinate folks into the Alexa ecosystem. And at this value, it is arduous to withstand.