We weren’t sure how well people will take to it when it first came out, but the Amazon Echo has become a staple addition to many people’s homes. Simply put, what started as a seemingly strange experiment from Amazon is now everywhere. The Amazon Echo Flex wants to make it even more ubiquitous by allowing you to put Alexa in every inch of your home.
A smaller and cheaper version of Amazon’s intelligent speaker, it ditches the tabletop form factor for something that plugs straight into the wall outlet. That’s right, it’s an intelligent speaker that just sticks out of the wall outlet, allowing you to fill the house with these things, provided there’s an available outlet in the room. That way, you can beckon Alexa anywhere you are at home, allowing you to book a flight, control your smart home, and get information at absolutely any time.
The Amazon Echo Flex is a small box measuring 2.6 x 2.8 x 2 inches (width x height x depth) that contains a built-in plug, allowing it to insert directly into a wall outlet, as well as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for wirelessly connecting to other devices. This small size, along with the affordable cost, makes it a viable option to install one in every room, from kitchens and garages to hallways and basements, so you can have Alexa give you a rundown of today’s headlines while you’re chopping up leeks, sorting laundry, or pooping in the crapper.
Like other Echo speakers, it comes fitted with mic and a speaker, giving it the ability to pick up voice commands and provide vocal responses. In this case, however, it’s equipped with a very tiny speaker driver measuring just 0.6 inches, making it sound a whole paltrier than most home speakers. While that makes it a bad option for listening to music, it should be loud and clear enough to listen to Alexa’s voice.
The Amazon Echo Flex has comes with two physical buttons: one that switches the mic on and off, so you can enjoy conversations without a running mic in the room, and one that lets you use it like an intercom, so you can have your voice ringing through the whole house like the true lord of your domain. A USB slot at the bottom of the device adds a USB charging slot to the wall outlet, giving you place to charge phones and other USB devices, while a 3.5mm slot lets you plug in a better speaker, in case you want to listen to music in the room. Aside from charging devices, by the way, the USB slot can also be used to install third-party devices, such as nightlights, motion detectors, and whatever other things you need.
Of course, the best part of this device is that it’s an Echo speaker. That means, it’s equipped with all the functions that make Amazon’s intelligent speakers such a useful tool, from its core set of capabilities to the tens of thousands of skills available in its library.
The Amazon Echo Flex is available now.