Top positive review
A high quality device with endless potential, offering low cost Alexa convenience
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 18 November 2019
The echo flex is a fantastic addition to the Echo line of products. It gives you a cheap way to make Amazon's Alexa service available all over your home whilst also adding the flexibility to attach modules to customise its usefulness to your personal requirements (e.g. you could add a nighlight) - the possibilities for this device are endless and you could make this device your main echo if you wanted or just have it as an extra echo in the hallway.
It was an absolute breeze to setup, it literally took me 1 minute and I didnt even have to refer to the quick start guide. All I did was plug it into a plug socket and after a few seconds a light on the device turned orange and the device spoke to confirm it was ready to be setup via the Alexa app. I went to the Alexa app and clicked add device, selecting the Echo option, then Echo flex, i had to enter my wifi password and once done a few seconds later the light on the echo flex turned blue to confirm it was ready to use. I did a test command 'Alexa, what is the capital of Brazil' and it effortlessly picked up my voice and responded appropriately. Just so you know this device works on both 2.4ghz and 5ghz wifi networks unlike most 3rd party smart devices which will only work on 2.4ghz.
The reason why I bought this device is because I always want access to alexa when im walking through my hallway and I remember something, like I need to turn off an electric heater, a fan in a bedroom or a light etc, this normally happens on my way out whilst walking through the hallway and I'm like damn I have alexa in the bedroom and in the lounge, I dont want to go back there just to tell Alexa to turn something off, I also dont want to pay loads of money to have an echo or echo dot in the hallway, especially as that would mean having unsightly trailing wires from my plug sockets, I can also imagine that not everyone has a place in their hallway that they can rest their devices on top of too. So the Echo flex fills this particular case perfectly, as I have spare sockets in my hallway, being able to just plug this in adds so much more convenience to life being able to talk to Alexa on the way out.
As far as I am concerned this is a device purely for increased convenience at low cost, as you can flood your home with Alexa devices without burning a major hole in your wallet.
Alexa is very responsive and seems to pick up the Alexa call very quickly and accurately despite any background noise, the audio from the device is loud, crisp and clear.
There is a button on the flex so you can turn off the microphone that listens to you and it will indicate the off state by glowing red. There is another button on it for pairing but I have not needed to use that.
The build quality of the plug is reassuringly solid, I expect this will last for quite some time and if it doesnt I know I will be treated well by Amazon's customer service team.
The sound quality is perfect for everything except playing modern music, the audio is loud and clear, but this is a small plug in device with a teeny weeny speaker inside with no capability for bass, so the sound is lacking significantly in fullness - it can sound like a laptop speaker although I would actually say it's probably not THAT bad. I listen to traditional Chinese music, and will regularly have it playing in the background as ambient noise as I find it very relaxing and peaceful, the echo flex can handle this type of music perfectly without sounding cheap, I have it constantly playing in my hallway now :-) If you are the type of person that wants the echo flex to also be able to play any kind of music with decent audio quality well it seems Amazon also has a solution for you too as the echo flex has a 3.5mm audio Jack on the side, so you could actually plug this into your own sound system if you were to use it in your lounge or bedroom which would improve the sound quality significantly. Unfortunately a cable is not provided to enable this so you'll have to get one yourself. Amazon go a step further allowing you to play sound from the flex to a bluetooth speaker, although I am yet to test it I can imagine this would be straight forward to setup, there is also an option in the app to connect to a 'Stereo pair / subwoofer' - so I guess this device has been made to please everyone!
The Echo flex has a usb port on the bottom which means you can plug in addons to give it even more usefulness - some of the existing addons are motion sensors and nightlight both of which can prove useful, but I can imagine at some point they may introduce even more useful addons such as security camera modules, door bell modules, baby monitor modules, temperature sensors, clocks and possibly even a speaker module to provide fuller sound direct from the devices, the possibilities are limitless. This is a brilliant idea from Amazon and I hope third party manufacturers exploit this opportunity to the fullest extent!
If you are not really bothered about addons you may be interested to know that you can use the usb port to charge your devices, I connected my Samsung S9 Plus and it charged to full after about 2 hours without any issues - please note that the usb port does not support fast charging though.
Overall, the device defitniely fills a gap that is not quite hit by the other echo devices, and for me it has proved to be a very useful addition to my family of smart devices. I can imagine Amazon's main smart home competitor will copy this idea pretty soon as it is a really good idea and concept which has been implemented in an almost faultless way.
At £24.99 I feel that this device is definitely value for money and money well spent, I cant wait for amazon prime day or black friday as they will be even cheaper so I'm going to fill every nook and cranny of my home with these :-)
Warning to the guys out there: I am talking to Alexa a lot these days and have found my wife is becoming very jealous lol - this is the only real downside I have come across so far! :-)