This week Amazon released the Amazon Echo Spot in the UK. The new Spot is designed for the desktop or bedroom table with a small screen. The Spot has a 2.5 colour touch screen and a 1.4 inch speaker and looks really stylish.
Setting up the Echo Spot is really simple, you select your Wi-Fi network, enter the password and then for me it detected which user account to use. I am not sure how it worked that out, maybe it’s pre-populated by Amazon or maybe it detects it from the other Echo devices in the home? After the inevitable mandatory update it was ready to go. It showed me demo video of the features available and how to access them, which it probably very handy for new users.
It can do all the unusual things the other Amazon Echo’s can do but with the addition of the 2.5 inch screen. So you can also do video calling between Amazon Echo devices (and the phone apps). You can also use it for things like viewing smart home security cameras, watching Amazon Video and have it display song lyrics. Some skills make good use of the screen like Recipedia.
I like the addition of the screen, the screen cycles through the clock, news headlines and gives you tips on voices commands you can use. The news items are actually really helpful, interesting headlines scroll past and you can ask Alexa to read out the story or tap the screen and it displays them on the screen. With the Amazon Echo Show I have in my kitchen I was surprised how many times I found the headline interesting and ask Alexa to read the story out. The only issue is it can take some time for the headlines to come back around, so you see a headline you like and miss asking Alexa for the details you have to wait for it to scroll back around.
The screen has a good brightness range and is autosensing so while there is light in the room it’s nice and bright and when it’s dark it dims the screen. This makes it great for using on a bedside table as an alarm clock and home control device. You can also manually control the brightness if you like.
The Spot has a 3.5mm audio output port so you can plug it into an external speaker (something you can’t do on the Show). The sound quality is good for such a small device and surprisingly loud. It’s not a match for the larger Echo Show but it would be great for music playback in a bedroom. Plus you get album art and lyrics on the screen (you can turn off the lyrics if you want) and it works as part of a multiroom audio system.
Another use of the screen is video calling. You can call your contacts via Alexa and then use the screen and built in camera to chat over video. I tested it with a call between my phone and it worked very well. My next test is to use it with other Alexa device around my home. There is no support for 3rd party systems like Skype, its Alexa to Alexa calling only.
The Echo Spot will be on my bedside table for use as an alarm clock, music player and to control the home. I can also use it to check on the security cameras, check the heating and control my lights. At £119.99 on Amazon it’s cheaper than the 7 inch Amazon Echo Show (see my review) and has a different use case. It’s not ideal for watching movies but great for the other task I previously mentioned.
Amazon Echo Spot video room
Here is my video of the Amazon Echo Spot unboxing, setup and review.
Ian Dixon is a Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional), founder of TheDigitalLifestyle.com tech site and producer of the weekly The Digital Lifestyle Show podcast. Ian has been writing and talking about Windows for over 10 years and has over 20 years in IT as an IT Manager. Ian has thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook and over 4 million views on his YouTube channel.