If you don't like the idea of investing in multiple smart speakers to be placed in all rooms of the house, the new Echo Input Portable smart speaker addresses this concern. You can continue listening to your favourite music with its smart functionality easily carrying it around the house.
The Echo Input Portable looks premium. The design appears to be inspired by premium Echo Studio (Rs 22,999). However, it is much compact. The fabric on the circumference hides speaker to broadcast 360-degree sound. The is a huge design shift from the Echo family on this one. The top houses just two buttons on this one - action and mute. There is also a strip at the front with the power button, volume buttons and four LEDs for indicating the battery status. Oh yes, this speaker comes with built-in battery. That's what makes it portable. For power/charge, there is a micro-USB power port at the rear. And there isn't an auxiliary port, which is a standard on most of the Echo speakers.
Another regular, the LED ring that illuminates in red, blue or orange, isn't on this one. I always thought the LED ring was an intelligent add-on as it illuminates in blue when Alexa (AI-powering the speaker) is listening, in red when the microphone has been turned off. Instead, here is just a small LED that lights up blue for the said actions and can be missed easily if looking from a distant. Thankfully, the microphone off button along with the LED lights up in red when the speaker is restricted from listening.
Amazon says portability was one of the most requested features from the Indian users, and hence the Echo Input Portable has been built especially for the Indian market. Although, the name appears confusing because the Echo Input launched early last year was designed to make a regular speaker smart. And this one in itself is a portable smart speaker.
Amazon has added a 4800mAh battery onboard that Amazon says can last close to 10 hours of music playback. This means uninterrupted access to music and smart actions anywhere in the house without having to worry about the plug points. The only thing it requires is good Wi-Fi connectivity. It offered close to nine hours of battery back-up for me. It might vary as per use. Also, Amazon says one should keep it plugged in whenever possible.
During testing, I asked Alexa to play my regular soundtracks and I carried it around the house including the living room, terrace, kitchen and even bathroom. It continued to play music without any hiccups. I even used it for controlling some of the smart lights and plugs installed in my house and it obliged. Given the price, the sound quality is well balanced, loud and clear enough for a decent-sized room.
Smart speakers can be used for plenty of things, from playing music to fetching the news updates, controlling compatible devices such as smart lights and smart plugs to alarms and more. Alexa manages all this and more. One has to enable the skills from the Alexa app to start using it.
Setting up a smart speaker hardly takes few minutes. With this one, you just need to install the Alexa app on an iOS or Android device and log in using the Amazon account. Tap on the home icon on the bottom right, select the '+' icon followed by 'add device'. Simply follow the instructions and the Echo Input Portable will be ready to use in less than a couple of minutes. The process would require you to connect it to the Wi-Fi network.
Launched at the introductory price of Rs 4,999, the Echo Input Portable now retailing at Rs 3,999 is a smart buy, especially if you wish to experience smart speaker in different areas of your house without having to invest in multiple Echo speakers.
Price: Rs 3,999