Sep 142016
 

The ideal place in our house for our Amazon Echo is the south end of the bar in the kitchen. If it were there, it could easily be used in the kitchen, the breakfast nook, and the living room for music. It’d be a little far to enjoy music in our bedroom, but we could still speak to and hear Alexa (the name to which the Echo responds) from there.

We had an early invitation to own an Echo, and I pushed for it to be on the bar in the kitchen even before it arrived. Alas, Mrs. Williams wouldn’t hear of it. Counter space was too precious, and plus it was a big modern-looking black thing and didn’t match the kitchen decor.

So into the living room it went, on top of the entertainment center. We’ve enjoyed it there, but as good as Alexa sounds, she’s no match for the component sound system in there. So, she’s mainly fielded questions, set timers, and turned lights on and off.

mission1

Then the Mission Power Battery Base for Amazon Echo showed up in my recommended products on Amazon.com. Plug it into the power port of the Echo; set the Echo in the base; then plug the Echo power cable into the base. That’s it. It doesn’t damage the Echo’s minimalist aesthetics at all, and only slightly changes its profile.

mission2

I saw it one morning having my coffee, and then over the course of the day the value became apparent to me. I cook dinner for the family a couple of nights a week, and I could easily bring it to the kitchen for music. I could bring it to the bathroom to get my news and sports briefs while I got ready for work. I was ready to get it when I got home. It was here two days later; $49.99 delivered.

mission3As I already described, setup takes all of one minute. After you’ve mated the Echo to the base and plugged it back in, a green LED indicates it’s getting power, and a blue LED indicates it’s charging. It’s designed for you to leave it plugged in continuously, and you can just grab it when you want to move it.

I love this battery base, for all of the reasons I thought I would. It’s like the Echo is new all over again. It’s still a new enough capability for me to have good-sounding Pandora with me anywhere in the house that I forget I have it. Then I remember, part of the way through my task, and go fetch Alexa with a smile on my face. Last night it was my “Windy” station while I made lasagna.

The claimed battery life is “up to 6 hours.” I’ve not pushed this limit, but I’ve had no problem listening to streaming music at moderate volume for half that time. It’s exactly the same experience listening to it on battery power that it is listening to it plugged in. It also occurs to me that, if your Internet hardware has significant backup battery power, the battery base will keep Alexa alive and functional for short power outages.

The only nitpick I have is that it can be a bit finicky to seat Alexa properly into the base, inflaming the little vein of OCD in me when she ends up not-quite-square to the table. You can match them up perfectly and get that perpendicularity, but it’s not as easy to keep it as it should be. The mating relies solely on friction. I might have preferred a mild tension mechanism as well.

If Alexa lives at your house too, I think that being able to have good-sounding streaming music anywhere is itself worth the cost of this battery base. But, just as Amazon.com makes Alexa smarter all the time, maybe this base will broaden your own visions of how to make the most of her.

9/10

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 Posted by at 7:00 am

  4 Responses to “Review: Mission Power Battery Base for Amazon Echo”

  1. So I dove in for the echo dot, because I already have speaker system in my kitchen. It doesn’t come out for a few weeks, but the price is worth giving it a try.

    • That’s really funny that the second-generation Echo Dot was announced and made available for pre-order literally two hours after this blog post went live. 🙂

  2. So what smart home accessories have you procured? If any?

    • We only have one Wemo plug-in, and while it’s cool, it’s limited (and expensive for what it does).

      I’m really thinking I might want to get into the developer kit and see what I can dream up. A Raspberry Pi or two may have a role. I also still haven’t truly explored IFTTT.

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