Reviewed in the United States on September 30, 2019
I am changing my review from 4* to 1* because Amazon just removed the ability to use hands free from my Tap. This is important because that means that they remove support from niche items that they no longer produce. As this item is likely to eventually fall into that category, it will eventually be useless. You are driving when you use this product. Voice activation (hands free) is crucial. So, when amazon removes that option, this will be a useless little box.
I don't quite understand all the negative reviews. I bought this item for one specific purpose: to pacify my 2.5 year old daughter when she is rapid firing music demands from her car seat. "Wheels on the Bus, Momma! Five Little Monkeys, Momma, pleeeeeeaaassseeee!" It works great for playing music. I have a playlist set up, but she doesn't always want to hear every song on it and asking her to wait repeatedly or trying to change songs while pulling over or at a light or in any type of hands-free manner gets old real fast. So, when I saw it being offered, I requested an invite.
Not perfectly intuitive, but not hard. If you buy this as a gift you need to say so when you check out. Otherwise, it comes automatically assigned to your Amazon account, which makes set up easier. In the Alexa app, just click the + sign (plus sign) on the devices screen. Select Echo, then scroll down to Auto. It's not overly hard, but neither the instructions nor the device tell you where to look for it. It works plugged into your built-in USB port or a car charger. I tested both. Your phone needs to be able to connect to your car via Bluetooth. You DO NOT need to turn on your phone's portable hotspot setting for it to work, although it does connect to your phone's data services. You can supposedly also use the included 9mm auxiliary cord (finally, Amazon includes the needed cords) but once you set up the bluetooth option, I COULD NOT figure out how to get it back to the corded option. I took 1/2 star off for that. It can probably be done, but it should be obvious and it just isn't.
The sound travels over Bluetooth and is decently crisp if you have any type of decent system in your car, but it likely won't satisfy a true audiophile. My toddler couldn't care less. You have to make sure the volume on BOTH your car and phone are turned up or it won't work. I wanted to see if the sound was better with the corded option, but I can't get it to work.
It comes with a vent mount in which the vent portion can turn to accommodate for thin vents or wide vents. This may not make sense, but you will understand when you see it. The portion that attaches to the Echo is magnetic, so it can be easily removed without taking the mount down every time.
The device is a little larger than I was expecting, but not overly large. It is 3 3/8 inches long, 1 7/8 inches wide, and ½ inch thick.
The cord is 39 inches long, which is long enough to reach the center dashboard plug in my mini-van from the vent next to the driver side window without dangling too much. The only thing is that I was thinking of plugging it into the plug hidden in the bottom of the center console since I will be leaving it in the car permanently and I would need probably a 6 ft cord for that. The included cords will likely not reach anyone's center console, even in a relatively small car.
Other than playing music, it can apparently do a whole bunch of other things. However, it doesn't do them all that well. I wouldn't count on being able to get directions from it, for instance. It misunderstands what you're asking half the time. However, it does look up other information pretty reliably, such as business information, weather, briefs/news, etc. I took another ½ star off for that, since the directions feature would be super nice. It claims to be able to place/answer calls, check texts, etc. However, my car can do that itself and I don't want to allow devices and apps to access my contacts more than I have to.
This is a nifty device and if you need a hands-free way to play music/news/podcasts/etc, it is worth a try. If you want it for other reasons, you may end up being somewhat disappointed.