Smart Gadgets

Does the Amazon Echo Spot Live Up to the Hype?

(Last Updated On: December 6, 2017)

For some months, the Amazon Echo Show was the only Amazon Alexa device with a screen.  The Amazon Echo Show did everything that other Amazon Alexa devices did, but with its seven-inch screen, it is able to show rather than tell.

For instance, instead of just telling you about the biggest news of the day, or how your stock portfolio is doing, the Amazon Echo Show could easily show you a newscast or the graphs and charts for your stocks.  You could also place video calls on the Amazon Echo Show. 

One Amazon Echo Show, however, costs a pretty penny: $230 (For the latest prices check here).  If you buy two units of the Echo Show, you can get a $100 discount.  But even at that discounted price, the Amazon Echo Show may still be out of reach for some people’s budgets. 

Amazon listened and is now planning for a December release of its second device with a screen – the Echo Spot – which will cost interested buyers only $130 (For the latest prices check here).   

Features of the Amazon Echo Spot 

What can you expect from the Amazon Echo Spot? 

Voice commands can control your smart devices.  When you have Amazon Echo Dot, you can control everything without lifting a finger.  You just have to say, “Alexa” plus your command.  You can have Alexa turn the lights on, play some romantic music, or save electricity by asking it to turn the TV off.

Amazon has partnerships with several home automation platforms and smart device manufacturers such as Wemo, Samsung SmartThings, Phillips Hue, Insteon, Ring, Wink, Ecobee, and Arlo.   

Skills.  The Echo Spot can also benefit from the ever-growing number of skills that you can download and use.  These skills enable Alexa speakers to do more, such as order you a pizza or play games.

The good news is that new skills become available every day, allowing you to do just about everything you want to do with your Echo Spot. 

Design and dimensions.  The Echo Spot is a mix of Amazon Echo Show and the Echo Dot.  It looks like the Echo Dot with its small size and puck shape, but its screen looks like that of the Echo Show.  You can choose from either a black or white Echo Spot.  The Echo Spot is 4.1 inches wide and 3.8 inches high.

And with a thickness of 3.6 inches, you can put it just about anywhere you want to.  It weighs 419 grams, making it solid enough not to fall off your table that easily.  The Echo Spot also has a great viewing angle, allowing you to see the screen even from afar.

There are simply no limits on how you could display and use the Echo Spot.  You can put it on your bedside table as an alarm clock, or use it as a timer in the kitchen. 

Speaker.  The Echo Spot has a 1.4-inch built-in speaker, but you can use external speakers using the 3.5 mm audio jack found at the back.

This means that if you are not satisfied with the device’s own two-watt speaker, you can always use a separate yet more powerful speaker for a better music experience. 

Screen.  The screen measures 2.5 inches in diameter.  The Echo Spot can easily show you things with this small screen.  You can watch news broadcasts, see what the weather is like, and even use the device as a clock or a dynamic photo frame.

You can even see the lyrics to your favorite songs, allowing you to sing along to the music you’re playing.

But what makes the screen very useful is that you can use it to make video calls to anyone who has the Alexa app, or any Alexa speaker, especially since the Echo Spot has a front-facing camera that would allow whoever is on the other line to see you as well. 

Beamforming and far-field technology.  With four microphones built-in, your Echo Spot can easily hear you even if you are far away from the device.  Each microphone has noise cancellation capability, far-field technology, and beamforming technology.

This means that it will pick up your commands once you say the activating word, “Alexa,” and it won’t matter if you have loud music playing.  It will hear you and do as you say.

Furthermore, if you have several Alexa speakers, only the nearest one will respond to you, thanks to the Echo Spot’s echo spatial perception technology. 

Other features 

 

  • Drop in feature.  You can check on any room in the house that has an Alexa speaker by using the drop in feature.  This feature allows you to instantly connect with other Echos around the house, hands-free!  You just need to say, “Alexa, drop in on the living room” and talk to whoever is there. 
  • Streams Internet music.  The Echo Spot can play music from Amazon Music, Pandora, Spotify and a host of other online streaming services.  
  • Free audio calls.  You can enjoy free calls to anywhere in the United States, Canada and Mexico. 
  • Connectivity.  The Echo Spot connects with 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi networks.  It is also dual band, allowing you to connect to both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz networks.  Moreover, it can also connect to a Bluetooth speaker. 

What’s in the box 

  • Amazon Echo Spot 
  • 6-feet power cable and adapter 
  • Quick start guide 

What you would like about the Echo Spot 

 

The Amazon Echo Spot is really dead-serious about fulfilling a double role, the other being a clock.  The Echo Spot has a variety of amazing clock faces that you can use.  Think of the Echo Spot as a clock radio that is both smart and is able to control your connected devices.   

The display might be a little bit small, measuring 2.5 inches in diameter, but it has a very crisp resolution and very sharp images.   

Furthermore, the Echo Spot has everything you have come to love about Alexa.  It does the job of listening to your voice commands and carries it out well.  All the other features are just a welcome bonus to this already nifty package. 

What could be better 

 

Wi-Fi connectivity is limited in that the Echo Spot is not able to connect to peer to peer or ad hoc networks.  This means that it cannot connect to your other devices without going through your router or other similar access points. 

Also, while the Echo Spot has a screen, it can be quite annoying to watch anything on it.  For one, the small screen has a circular shape, which might make it not ideal for watching videos with a rectangular aspect ratio.   

Another thing that you should consider before getting an Amazon Echo Spot is privacy.  If you think about it, you are practically putting a camera on your bedside table.

If a hacker could compromise your Echo Spot, then that hacker might be able to peek into what you do in your bedroom, or in any part of your home for that matter. 

Final recommendations about the Amazon Echo Spot 

 

The Amazon Echo Spot is an eye-catching device that serves a lot of functions.  It is an Alexa speaker that listens to your voice commands, a digital clock, and a kitchen timer.

It can also control different connected devices around your home, as well as help you keep abreast with the latest news, order pizza, listen to music, or get an Uber.   

No doubt about it, the Echo Spot is one of the best-looking Alexa speakers around.

It is perfect for those who like to have their video calls or those who like to see and read the information they want to know, but find the Amazon Echo Show too bulky.  It also offers free calls to different places in North America.   

The Echo Spot may not have the best speakers, nor does it have the woofer and base capabilities of both the Echo and Echo Plus, but you can connect an external speaker to it.

It is also not the cheapest Alexa speaker because the Echo Dot and the original Echo have lower price tags.  However, both the Echo Dot and the original Echo do not have an included screen either. 

The Echo Spot may open your home to hackers, but Amazon’s security has so far been unbreachable.  That means your security and privacy are as good as assured.   

All things considered, the Amazon Echo Spot, with its $130 price and the myriad of capabilities it offers, is a good buy.  If you want to add more Alexa devices or if this is your first time to buy an Echo device, then the Echo Spot is a good choice. 

About the author

Patrick Sinclair

Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn’t have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!

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