The Amazon Echo Spot is a smart assistant with a friendly rounded design. The device is essentially a smart alarm clock complete with productivity, entertainment, and communication features. The device is all you need upon waking up and before you go to bed. Amazon put the device on hold for some time but is bringing it back once more. If you’ve always wanted to get an Echo Spot, this is the perfect time to get yourself one.
What is the Amazon Echo Spot?
The Amazon Echo Spot is part of a series of smart speakers released by Amazon. It’s a smaller, rounded version of the Amazon Echo Show. It’s also the only Amazon smart speaker so far to have a circular touchscreen that makes it look a lot like an alarm clock. The device looks like a cross between the Echo Dot and a smaller version of the Echo Show. That’s interesting given that Echo Studio was designed for audiophiles while the Echo Show is designed for the kitchen. We can only surmise that Amazon intended for this device to be placed by your nightstand or on your office desk.
But more than being just another Echo with a touchscreen, the Echo Spot is actually a new experience and direction for the platform, and it just might be the device that showcases the full potential of Alexa over competitors Siri and Google Assistant. Alexa is an example of a smart assistant alongside the two popular assistants that belong to the Internet of Things (IoT). The concept refers to a system of interconnected devices that can communicate with and complement each other. Smart home hubs and digital voice assistants are the most popular examples, but the list of IoT applications are wide-ranging and span across multiple industries.
Similarities with Amazon Echo Devices
The device provides the same hands-free features as other Amazon Echo devices. You will be able to enjoy all of the skills and smart home connectivity you are used to with other Echo devices with the Echo Spot. Through it, you will have access to thousands of songs, audiobooks, recipes, and more. And of course, you also get to enjoy the boundless intellectual capabilities of Alexa. Whether it be scheduling an event, keeping track of a grocery list, or checking the weather, Alexa will be available at each turn with this new device.
But perhaps a unique feature of the Echo Spot is the circular display that adds functionality to the whole exercise. This function allows you to watch videos, view photos, and more. And the device itself comes in a compact form to complement whatever room you decide to place it in.
What Can You Do with the Echo Spot?
The Echo Spot is equipped with a complete set of features that are typical of all Echo products. That includes making voice calls, running audio, and providing information via Alexa. And you can bet that Alexa will come in handy when you need help with a question and for productivity purposes. And considering that the Echo Spot has a slightly different design than other devices in the Echo line, there are more features to work with than a simple smart speaker.
For starters, you can make voice calls to other Amazon Alexa devices as well as contacts who have the Alexa app installed on their smartphones. But since this device has an LCD, it’s also possible to make FaceTime-style calls, too. Calls connect quickly with clear audio and lag-free streaming, which is great for making calls while you’re busy doing other things. You can also instruct Alexa to call anyone from your contacts list. While this device’s camera isn’t as high quality as a premium smartphone, it’s certainly good enough for casual conversations.
And in case you want to avoid friends and relatives dropping in unexpectedly via video, you can always turn off the camera and even audio. You can mute audio and video through the mute mic button at the top of the device. You can also control the mic and camera through device settings. This should prevent other people from being able to drop in on you unexpectedly and will also stop Alexa from listening in. As you might already know, the device is always listening in for the keyword, “Alexa.” Any false-positive trigger can wake Alexa, at which point she will start recording. To stop Alexa from recording your requests, or turn off her functionality altogether, read this comprehensive guide on why is Alexa always listening and how to stop it.
The Echo Spot looks and feels a lot like an alarm clock, so it’s not surprising that it actually functions as one. The Echo Spot has a beautiful clock interface that allows you to switch between analog and digital designs. You can also customize the clock background to any personal photo. The touchscreen functions of the alarm clock makes it easy to set the alarm for any important event, and that surpasses simply waking you up in the morning.
And the best part is the alarm will play any tune of your choice. You can choose from Spotify, Amazon Music, Deezer, and other music streaming software that will double as the device’s alarm to notify you of an appointment or wake you up in the morning. All you have to do is to pair the device with the music software of your choice. If you are a Spotify user, here’s a simple guide on how you can pair with external devices.
You can also download songs from Amazon Music onto your smartphone and then play them remotely through the device. Check out this brief guide on how to download songs from Amazon Music for free. It’s also equipped with quick-touch volume controls so you can modify the ringing volume when the device wakes you up. And the best part? You can use your voice to turn off the alarm or snooze off the morning’s timer. The device is also equipped with a microphone and a camera so you can easily make and take calls through the device.
Mapping and Directions
Alexa is also able to give you verbal directions and traffic information about any location. This is great when you’re planning for a trip or when you’re about to leave the house for a meeting. There’s also the local search feature that provides you with information on nearby restaurants, shops, and businesses. You can also ask Alexa about movie showtimes, concert schedules, and TV schedules.
The Echo Spot can also work with compatible video cameras, video doorbells, smart baby monitors, and nursery cameras. Surveillance services like the Amazon Cloud Cam, the Google Nest Cam, and the Netgear Arlo range are all compatible with the Echo Spot. It’s also readily compatible with the Ring Video Doorbell so you can see who is at the front door. The device has its camera at the front, and this makes it possible for you to drop in on different areas of your house or the baby’s room if you have children.
Aside from the ability to provide you with information, Alexa is also great for facilitating entertainment. You can ask Alexa to play any song, playlist, or album from several compatible apps. It can also play videos from open-source websites (except YouTube). Alexa is also more than capable of searching for a TV show that you want to watch from open-source websites.
Let’s say you want to play a TV show. Give Alexa the title of any TV show, song, or playlist and she will search for it all over the internet. You can also request Alexa to slideshow a series of pictures that you have stored in a cloud. Alexa is also able to run games like Bingo, Earplay, or Tic Tac Toe. Alexa is also able to tell jokes or engage in a basic conversation when prompted.
Productivity and Information
Another thing that the Echo Spot does well is providing information and helping you stay productive. This is, of course, done with the help of Amazon’s proprietary speech-driven digital assistant Alexa.
Alexa is equipped with a number of skills that range from very useful to fun and interesting. One thing Alexa does best is conducting open searches over the internet and checking information about available resource materials. Alexa is able to provide plenty of information sourced from the internet like any proper search engine. Alexa should be able to provide you information as long as the Echo Spot is connected to the internet.
You can ask Alexa to provide you with daily news updates, weather, and information about your favorite sports and teams. Alexa can also provide fast facts, trivia, and historical information. You can ask Alexa how many kilometers there are in a mile, or how many people live in a certain area. It’s also possible to inquire with Alexa regarding proper spelling for select words or the English translation of certain words. You can even ask Alexa to translate phrases from one language to another. The device can also act as your kitchen timer, to-do list tracker, shopping list keeper, and calendar monitor.
The Echo Spot has a small camera at the top. Paired with communication capabilities, this makes it possible for you to drop-in on other Amazon Alexa devices in your house. It can easily connect with another Echo Spot, Echo Show, or smartphone with an Alexa app installed. What this does is it allows you to check on family members on another part of the house instantly. You can also use the device as a security cam to check in on specific rooms. It also works as a baby monitor.
It must be noted that drop-in functions are limited to people whom you have permission to drop in under settings. You can drop in on anyone who has given you permission to do so under his/her device settings and vice versa. As an ideal situation, both devices should have both camera and microphone enabled to allow both parties to see each other during a video call.
Smart Hub for Alexa Devices
Amazon doesn’t officially label the Echo Spot as a smart hub, but it does have Bluetooth connectivity. The implication of this is that it can still control devices over the local network via Bluetooth. And depending on the smart home devices that you have, it just might be able to work with smart light bulbs, smart door locks, smart thermostats, and more.
To check whether a smart device can be paired with Echo Spot, check the device’s enclosed specifications or ask your local provider. The Echo Spot, along with other Echo devices, were specially designed to act as the command centers for Bluetooth devices within range. For a list of devices that you can potentially pair with Echo Spot, check out this list of the best smart home devices you don’t want to miss.
What are the Specifications of the Amazon Echo Spot?
The Amazon Echo Spot is a highly compact device, weighing about the same as a bulky alarm clock or a large orange piece. This compact design makes the device fit in on almost any tabletop space and makes it very easy to tuck away in a cabinet or box somewhere. The screen is also relatively small at 2.5 inches with a 480 x 480-pixel resolution. This resolution isn’t as good as most modern smartphones, but it’s still good enough to play videos and handle video calls seamlessly.
The Echo Spot has a front-facing camera at the top of the screen. At the very top of the semi-spherical clock are three buttons that all sit flush against the surface for a streamlined look. Anyone familiar with Amazon smart speakers would know what they are: volume up, volume down, and a mute mic button. The mute mic button also disables the camera so it’s the button to press when you want added privacy. There are also four small holes around those buttons. These are microphones that listen for the wake word Alexa and relay calls.
At the back of the Echo Spot is Amazon’s standard logo, a slot for power, and a 3.5mm audio jack. The speaker grills are located near the bottom of the device, which makes it almost invisible when the device is sitting upright. The speaker produces a clean and balanced sound, but it’s not meant to cover large spaces given the size of the device. If you have a much larger space to cover in terms of audio, you can use the 3.5mm jack to plug the device into a solid pair of speakers. The Echo Spot has a singular, semi-spherical design, but you can choose between white and black colors.
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Connectivity
Another important feature is dual-band Wi-Fi compatibility and Bluetooth connectivity. That means it would work pretty well with old or new Wi-Fi modems, and you can choose between a 5GHz or 2.4GHz internet connection. And as we’ve mentioned, the device has Bluetooth functionality that will let it communicate with other devices in your home that’s using the same network.
The device setup also works pretty much the same way as other Amazon smart speakers. You connect your device to your Wi-Fi through the Alexa app on your smartphone. However, we have to consider that the Echo Spot has a touchscreen that other Echo devices don’t have, so connecting to your Wi-Fi should be simpler as you can input your Wi-Fi username and password directly. The entire setup process should only take around five minutes before your device is ready to go.
Should I Buy an Amazon Echo Spot?
The Amazon Echo Spot is unique in that it’s probably the only alarm clock with a digital assistant included. The device functions as an alarm clock in the morning and as a digital assistant and entertainment hub for the rest of the day. We understand that some people are uncomfortable watching videos on a 2.5-inch screen. But then again, you have specialized devices for that. The device also alternates as a security camera and a video phone for making phone calls.
You’d also think that a device with so many features would be expensive, but that’s not the case with the Echo Spot. Amazon recently dropped off 40% of the retail price on this device. Its original retail price was at USD 129.99, but now it’s available for only USD 89.99. We don’t know how long this sale will last, so we recommend taking advantage of this price drop as soon as possible!
Final Thoughts on the Amazon Echo Spot
The Amazon Echo Spot is one of the best Amazon smart speakers that money can buy. The device is a creative blend of a multi-purpose digital alarm clock with digital assistant features. It also possesses the same benefits of deep assistant integration as other devices under the Echo product line. And you would hardly be able to find anything that the device can’t do as far as Alexa is concerned. Plus, it comes in a compact package that is both easy on the eyes and easy to move around.
Overall, the Echo Spot is an irresistibly compact and affordable package with everything we could ask for in a smart speaker. If you enjoy having a healthy work-life balance, we highly recommend the Echo Spot.