We found response time fine over an AUX connection. But as the day evolved, it was hit and miss – well all miss. We would get the chime but no audio response.

We found on Echo Input’s website, “Speakers connected by 3.5 mm audio cable may power off if not used for an extended period. When possible, we recommend turning off the speaker’s power-saving mode by following the manufacturer’s instructions.”

On Bluetooth, we found that lag time could be a little long often missing the first few words of Alexa’s response. This is both a power saving and Bluetooth wake-up issue.

Far-field mics

Echo Input like Echo Dot has the same four far-field mics. It claims to be able to hear you across the room – and it can when things are at normal ‘household’ <50dB quiet.

Almost every smart speaker has issues with far-field mics and speaker volume. The JBL Extreme 2 is a very gutsy 2 x 20W stereo speaker with good mid/high bass. We found that music over 60dB, especially music with bass and mid bias renders Alexa Input catatonic despite the device supposedly reducing the steaming volume (see later).

The trick with Echo input is to place it closer to where you would normally issue commands and place the speaker a little further away. Or shout! We tried many different locations, and it made no difference.

What it won’t do

It does everything, and Alexa Echo speaker does except Calling and Drop In via Bluetooth. Incoming Drop Ins are not supported and convert to incoming Alexa calls which you can choose to accept or reject.

The 3.5mm AUX cable is stereo (3-pole) as such should support a stereo signal. Signal levels were acceptable, and there was no lag. Sound quality was fine, but stereo separation was noticeably lower, if not absent.

Bluetooth only supports the SBC codec and should support a stereo signal. We noticed a loss of volume, quality and importantly stereo separation when Bluetooth streaming from Spotify compared to directly connected Samsung Galaxy S10+. We need to investigate more if it does support stereo pairing mode (the JBL is stereo in one device).

It does not support Multi-room setup on Bluetooth. It is fine with AUX.

We found using Alexa to increase and decrease volume (it will increase from 1-10) was ineffective. Yes, you should set the speaker manually to maximum level first and use Alexa after but it was not as linear or precise as manual adjustment

I am sure it can alter the 3.5mm or Bluetooth signal output levels slightly, but it really is best to adjust the speaker volume manually. Similarly, if a speaker goes to sleep, Alexa may not always wake it.

It will not work with Sonos speakers at present – a new skill is coming.

GadgetGuy’s take

The main use is to add Amazon Alexa to an existing amplified speaker or for that matter an amplifier and speakers. Or perhaps place it somewhere that you need to reinforce Alexa dead voice spots. To that end, it is cost effective and unique.

It’s not going to control that device as well as it would an integrated speaker – it is just a smart music output device.