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There are a lot of aural assistants. The original Echo was a column speaker that could play and do anything you wanted it to do, even if you didn't want to listen to it. The hockey puck-sized version of theAlexa that you could use as a bedside speaker to wake you up with a loud alarm or help you sleep with any number of nighttime skills was smaller. The Echo Auto, a credit card-sized transmitter that could hear commands even when the kids are screaming at the top of their lungs in the backseat and running orders through your phone, became even smaller.

The Echo Auto is even smaller than the first one. The BIC classic lighter is no bigger than this one. Imagine how small Amazon's smart speakers will be. Someday, they might shrink it to the size of an amoeba so you can swallow it and have a voice.

One of the most used gadgets in my daily routine is the Echo Auto. It can give me directions, allow me to make and receive calls without an earpiece, and play anything my phone can play. If you don't care about all the other bells and whistles that other devices offer, it's a good way to put aBluetooth connection in your car. It's more than enough to earn a recommendation, as the Echo Auto (2nd Gen) delivers on almost all of its predecessors' functions.

Echo Auto (2nd Gen): Pricing and availability


(Image credit: Danny Gallagher)

The only place you can find it is on Amazon, since it's an Amazon exclusive. You should buy it new since the base price is so low, even if you find a secondhand one on eBay.

It can cost a lot to put a device in a car that doesn't have it. If you want to do any work on the sound system of my 2008 Ford mustang, you need six bricks of C4 to be able to do it. Even if I had the know-how to install it myself, it would still cost more than the price of a second generation echo auto. It's only a couple of bucks higher than the original echo auto and Amazon loves to offer even deeper deals on Prime Day.

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(Image credit: Amazon)

The size is the most noticeable difference between the two cars. The whole thing is only 2.15 ounces and has been shrunk down. There were a lot of things in that place. You can hear the thing through your car's speakers if you have a five-microphone array.

The speaker is not as portable because of the tethering wires. The size of the first Echo auto was one of my favorites. It could be carried in my pocket as part of my usual pocket contents. The first Echo Auto had its own port to power the device and a port to connect to the sound system. There is a headphone port on the opposite end of the cord for the new echo auto

There's a small device with a cord on the end that you have to wrap up to put in your pocket instead of just taking one device that can slip into any pocket. It doesn't make sense to put the speaker on the other end of the cord since you're carrying an extra device. The audio wouldn't go in and out of the previous device. If the second version was the same size as the first one, I wouldn't care. One of the strengths of the device was its ability to be portable.

Echo Auto (2nd Gen): Features


(Image credit: Amazon)

The Echo Auto (2nd Gen) is far more useful than its first- generation descendant.

Even though the Dead Kennedy's "Holiday in Cambodia" was playing out of my speakers at the highest available volume, the mic still picked up my voice commands.

The sound that comes out of it is not as good as the device it's connected to, but the echo auto can still deliver a clear sound that never hiccupped It's ability to stay connected to the phone has gotten better. It's one of the biggest problems of the first Echo Auto. You'd have to do a hard reset on the phone and/or the echo auto if you wanted to keep it. That doesn't seem to be a problem with the Echo auto.

The auto mode in the app is useful for keeping your hands on the wheel and off your phone. It can work with third-party apps using the power of your voice. It can find a location, play the latest episode of a podcasts, and shuffle my "Punk Covers" playlist with no issues. Just about any function on your phone can be worked on by the skills on the Amazon store.

Since the speaker is on the far end of the power cord, it's hard to hear it. Plug it into your car's sound system and you'll be good to go.

With other mobile apps, it's easier to dictate. If you want to send a text to someone without putting yourself in danger, it's better to write an email that's easy to read.

Echo Auto (2nd Gen): Should you buy it?


(Image credit: Amazon)

If you want to buy this, you should do it.

  • You actually use your Amazon Alexa and Echo devices
  • You don't have Bluetooth connectivity in your car
  • You need a hands-free phone device that doesn't require shoving something in your ear 
  • You drive a noisy car or have a lot of kids in the backseat and need your phone to be able to hear you

If that's the case, you shouldn't purchase this.

  • You hate it when you have to put wires in your pocket that get tangled up with your phone 
  • You need one place in your life where Amazon can't monitor your behavior 

The second iteration of the device is bound to become one of Amazon's most popular devices because it improves on what the first iteration did well. It can hear you well enough to decipher a text or have a conversation with a person who decided to call instead of texting.

Its form isn't as impressive as its function would suggest. The rush to miniaturize high-powered electronic devices and auto accessories has made the Echo Auto (2nd Gen) a little clunkier to carry around. You won't have to deal with the speaker if you can reach the audio input port.

You're less likely to lose a small microphone device if you see it in a more positive light. If you want to connect to your phone in your car and still keep your hands on the steering wheel, it's not a big deal.