As everyone knows by now I am on team Alexa. I have Echo devices all over the house, from a full sized Amazon Echo (1st Generation) and a Echo (2nd Generation), to Echo Dots scattered through out the house and an Amazon Tap for use in the yard. To this I recently added an Echo Spot which now resided on my night stand in the bedroom. Since the announcement of the Echo Show, I have been skeptical of an Echo Device with a screen; to me at least a screen just seemed like a step backwards technologically. But with the announcement of the Echo Spot I started to change my mind a little bit, so much so that I pre-ordered (and canceled that pre-order) 4 times before it was released then finally a couple months after release decided to pull the trigger and am happy to say the this little Echo Spot may have changed my mind about Echo’s with screens. The Echo Spot has a lot of things going for it and in this review I will cover those positives and some negatives.
I think the first thing to start when talking about the Echo Spot is the price, lets just get it out of the way, for $129.99 USD it is expensive for what it is. I think this price will hurt the Echo Spot in time but also have a feeling Amazon my lower the price. On the plus side however Amazon is no stranger to putting Echo devices on sale so chances are you can get the Echo Spot for less if you are not in a terrible rush to buy.
Now with that out of the way lets get to the meat and potatoes of the Echo Spot. First things first let talk about the form factor, I love it! It is a softball sized sphere with a flat face where the screen is and a flat base. The first thing you notice is that the Echo Spot is heavy which is a good thing. Having a nice heavy base keeps it in place and stops it from rolling over on itself when interacting with the screen. As with other Echo devices the bottom is also rubberized so it will not be sliding around on you.
Inside the orb that is the Echo Spotyou have some pretty impressive hardware including, a 1.4″ speaker, a 2.5″ display, an array of four microphones, a front facing camera and a 3.5 mm audio output jack.
Since the Echo Spot is an Echo Device and therefor first and foremost a smart speaker lets talk about sound for a second. For such a small speaker the sound quality is not bad. Granted you should not expect to get room filling high fidelity sound out of this device, in a bedroom it will do even for me and I tend to consider myself a bit of an audiophile. Now I am sure people will complain about the sound quality and volume of the Echo Spot but ultimately you have to accept that this is not a high fidelity device and was never meant to be. If you want better sound use the 3.5 mm output.
Next up is the display, its small but the Echo Spot makes good use of every bit of it. It is a round display which to my eye makes it seem a bit bigger than it actually is and unlike Motorola with the Moto 360 there is no flat tire! Now this is also a touch screen display and the response to touch seems very good, in my testing I have not noticed any lag between presses and action which is nice since we all get used to high end smartphone the have snappy response to touch and anything else would be unacceptable.
The last hardware aspect I want to touch on is the front facing camera. People seem skeptical about this camera but these are also the same people who put stickers over the webcams on there laptops and wear tinfoil hats. As I have said in previous posts I am not worried about anyone spying on me through a camera in a device and I don’t think anyone else should be. If someone if going to spy on you I am sure there are better ways they could do it and unless you are some international spy no one wants to spy on you.
I have a hard time wrapping my head around the practical uses of the Moto 360 however. To me it is not big enough to be in a kitchen or living room and I feel like it will not get used enough in my bedroom so it really has become just an alarm clock. Luckily everything when this alarm clock goes off I am greeted with things to try with Alexa and this has helped me to start getting more use out of it. Time will tell what the real practical uses of the Moto 360 really is. I have added the Ring Skill to it so that I can check my Ring Video Doorbell Pro and get motion notifications from my Ring Floodlight Camera and that is a nice feature. I would like to see Amazon do some more with what we can display on this screen and I would also like to see a greater selection of clock faces.
Ultimately this is a nice device and while I would not recommended someone to start there Echo obsession with an Echo Spot, it is a nice addition to my Echo Family.
Anyone else have an Echo Spot? What do you think of it and what are you using it for? Let me know in the comments below.
I am passionate about the IoT and connected devices. Using connectivity to automate our lives will empower civilization to achieve greatness.