To answer the question right away – Echo Auto connects to the internet via your smartphone. This drive-assist gadget pairs with the Alexa app and backdoors into the smartphone’s network connection.
The downside is that streaming music or podcasts might hit the limit of your mobile internet plan in no time, and there is no option to connect Echo Auto to the car’s Wi-Fi. The silver lining is that there are other ways to get Alexa in your car.
The following sections will tell you how to connect Echo Auto to the internet and there are alternative methods to use Alexa in your vehicle.
Connecting Echo Auto to Internet
The internet connection is established when you set up Echo Auto for the first time. This is something you do only once and here are the necessary steps.
Start your car, turn on the stereo and set the input mode to Bluetooth. If the stereo doesn’t support Bluetooth, you can use the auxiliary (AUX) input on the stereo. In this case, you connect the gadget with the stereo via a cable that’s included in the package.
Grab your smartphone, make sure Bluetooth is enabled, and launch the Alexa app. It’s important to have the latest version of the Alexa app installed.
When inside the app, tap on Devices, hit the Plus icon in the upper right corner of the screen, and choose Add Devices. Now, you need to tap Amazon Echo and proceed to Echo Auto.
An on-screen set-up wizard guides you through the process and by the end Echo Auto connects to the smartphone’s internet connection. During the set-up, you’ll need to allow it access to contacts, cellular internet, messages, etc.
Once the set-up is complete, you get a notification and the light strip on your Echo Auto turns blue. This also means the device is connected to the internet.
Things to Consider
Echo Auto is like Amazon Dot or a regular Echo that’s designed to be used in vehicles. One of the best features of this gadget is the pre-installed infotainment center. This makes it easy for you to use Alexa and add more car-friendly skills.
Aside from using your smartphone’s internet connection, Echo Auto can also tap into the car’s built-in cellular data connection. This assumes that the car already comes with Alexa and you still need to purchase a cellular plan.
Alternative Ways to Get Alexa in Your Car
When it comes to Echo Auto alternatives, you have two options – use your smartphone or try to install Echo Dot in the vehicle. As each method has its pros and cons it pays to take a closer look.
Using the Smartphone
If you want to save some money and avoid purchasing Echo Auto, the Alexa app on your smartphone may do the trick. But this solution is not exactly elegant.
Okay, you’ll still be using the same cellular network, but you can’t use the smartphone app hands-free. Those who have Google Assistant installed can ask the app to launch Alexa. That being said, you do have to hit the ring icon in order to issue Alexa commands.
Installing Echo Dot in Your Car
The up-side of this method is that the Dot can connect to the car’s built-in Wi-Fi. And like Echo Auto, it also pairs with the vehicle’s Bluetooth speakers and the stereo’s AUX port.
Note: If there’s no Bluetooth in your car you can use a third-party Bluetooth dongle or add-on. Just make sure the gadget is compatible with the car’s stereo and Amazon smart speakers.
Aside from the Dot itself, you’ll also need cables to charge the device via car’s USB port or charger, plus another cable to connect the speaker to the stereo’s AUX input. It’s worth noting that the Dot can work with some portable batteries and power banks.
Of course, you’ll need to go through the entire device set-up process when you install the Dot in your car. This applies even if the gadget has already been installed at your home. It shouldn’t be too much of a hassle, but you may encounter some problems when paring the Dot with the car’s Bluetooth.
Launch the Alexa app, locate your Dot, and tap Bluetooth from the device’s settings. Choose “Pair a New Device” and your stereo or the car’s Bluetooth should appear. Once the connection is established, issue a simple command to make sure the device is connected to the speakers.
Echo Dot Downsides
As hinted, one of the major challenges of installing the Dot in your car is that it might not synch to Bluetooth. In addition, the gadget might have trouble hearing or understanding your commands, especially when the windows are rolled down. Also, some users report it abruptly disconnects from Bluetooth.
These are drawbacks indeed, but don’t forget that the Dot is not designed for vehicles. And these issues rarely occur with the Echo Auto.
Echo Go Online
The thing is, Echo Auto needs to connect to your the Alexa app and your smartphone for the hands-free options to work. This is a small price to pay for the hands-free entertainment and navigation hub you get.
How much does Echo Auto affect your cellular internet consumption? Did you know there is an option to use the Dot in a car? Drop us a comment and give your two cents on the matter.