Amazon’s new Echo Spot is an almost-perfect smart alarm clock for your bedroom, but it has few issues, like one super annoying thing it has a camera on it. And the Spot can do everything an Echo, Dot, or Show can do. Here are the details.
The $130 Amazon Echo Spot is a new, tiny, Alexa device with a camera, display, and shockingly powerful speaker. Reviewers say this is a good piece of thing that you won’t mind turning off the phone to let the Spot get to the business of waking you up every morning.
Alarm clocks haven’t exactly been that popular for a long time. Most of them use their phone as an alarm clock. A smart alarm clock provides a better way to get your phone out of your bedroom, yes still maintain useful things like weather reports, smart home device control, and of course, telling the time, without including distractions like email, social media apps, or a web browser.
The all-new Echo Spot is taking another run at this problem, though, it’s the most promising attempt since, well, ever. Now, Amazon unveiled the Echo Shows’s smaller, more affordable sibling: the Echo Spot. It has all the same functionality as the Show, except it’s wrapped in a much compact package. It’s smaller size is something of a downside, as it’s not ideal for watching a video. The reason why it’s $129.99 asking price a little harder to swallow.
When we go into detailing the Amazon’s Echo Spot, it has a very appealing design, touchscreen enriches the Alexa experience, and has a great technology for voice calls. It also has some downsides, like the tiny screen, which isn’t suitable for longer videos, and the audio quality is mediocre.
If you want Alexa on a device that looks like a cool alarm clock, then the Echo Spot is it. The display of it is pretty useful, as it adds additional context and visual information, and as aforementioned, it’s great for voice calling as well. If you consider all those in the summary, you will love the Echo Spot, but at this point, but at a better price later on.
Most importantly it has a camera built in, it’s also decent for video calls to anyone with a Show, Spot, or smartphone, and if you want you can Drop In and check on whatever is happening in front of its camera without requiring the other person to answer the call.
Calls on Spot can be made to other Echo devices with screens or phones via Amazon’s Alexa app. In testing, this works well: the image is clear, the sound is good, and you can easily see the person you’re calling and your own image on the Spot’s display. Video calling is a feature that’s better suited for the larger Show than the Spot.
A button on top of the device will disable both the camera and voice control, but you can disable the camera independently in the Spot’s settings menu. Amazon says the Spot’s auto-brightness sensor is in the same place as the camera, so you might end up with a screen that’s way too bright or way too dim if you do that.
Sticking with the alarm clock theme, the Spot is relatively compact and lightweight. The Spot’s display measures 2.5-inches across and is 480 pixels wide. It measures 4.1 x 3.8 x 3.6 inches and weighs 14.8 ounces (0.9 pounds), making it easy to move around. The thing is built out of a sturdy matte plastic, available in either black or white. There’s a contrasting black bezel surrounding the circular display that adds some visual interest, particularly, the white.
Otherwise, you’ll like the Spot’s screen. It’s bright, colorful and the viewing angles are wide. The display is functional for showing basic information like the weather, a calendar overview, trending headlines and to-do lists. There’s a VGA camera above the display. But unfortunately, using it for watching longer videos is not advised.
Swiping down from the top reveals a setting menu, where you can enable Bluetooth, change WiFi settings and disable the camera, among other things. You can choose from up to 12 different clock faces in both analog and digital designs. Or, you can use your own personal photos as your clock’s wallpaper – just upload your desired image using the Alexa app or Prime Photos. The touchscreen also works for swiping through lists or playing and pausing media. You’ll still be using Alexa for the majority of tasks, but the touchscreen adds an extra layer of functionality.
Other specifications and features include on the Spot are three buttons on top; two for the volume and one that disables the microphone and the camera. Yes, there’s a 3.5mm audio jack on the back of Spot, that acts as a line out for dedicated speakers or headphones. Internally, you’ll find a 2×2 microphone array plus WiFi and Bluetooth radios. When Alexa is listening, a blue circle appears on the display; when the microphone is muted, that circle turns red.
The Spot has a 1.4-inch speaker that sounds way better versus Dot’s tinny speaker when Alexa talks. It also sounds fine for casual music listening, but it doesn’t work as well for that as larger speakers like the full-size Echo or a Sonos One. If you want better sound, you can link the Spot to a larger speaker with a cable or Bluetooth.
Unlike an Echo or Echo Dot, both of which support the voice-activated alarms and features, the Spot also displays time. Since there’s a display, you can also view album art, check out the top playlists on Spotify or tap the screen to play and pause. Finally, the Spot’s 1.5-inch speaker is not for audiophiles.
And yes, right now, the Spot really is just a smart alarm clock. Amazon thinks the Spot can work in other parts of your home. That definitely makes the Spot a tough sell. It’s your turn now to review.
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