- Jonathan Bray, Alphr
The most attractive of all Amazon’s smart speakers but sound quality isn’t the best.
- Andrew Hayward, Stuff
The smaller sized screen feels more useful here, but it also doesn't need to do as much to justify its presence.
|Warranty (Months)||12 months|
|Size||10.4 x 9.7 x 9.1 cm (4.1 x 3.8 x 3.6 in)|
|Suggest a correction|
We already have smartphones, smart speakers, and smartwatches. Now, Amazon is introducing the smart alarm clock. The question on everyone’s mind is if it’s really necessary—especially since most people just use their smartphone as an alarm clock.
So what makes the Echo Spot "smart"? It’s essentially an Echo Show—just smaller and with a circular screen.
Many reviewers found the rounded design cute and well-suited for bedroom decor. At 4.1-by-3.8-by-3.6 inches, it's a petite device and weighs a paltry 419 grams—or just under a pound. This makes it easy to move around or take with you on the road.
The body is made of matte plastic and available in white or black. While reviewers often complain about big bezels on phones and tablets, they found the chunky bezels added visual interest.
Dominating the front of the spot, you'll find a 2.5-inch round display with a resolution of 480-by-480 pixels. On paper, this might seem low. But considering the size of the screen, most found the resolution adequate. They add it isn’t something you’ll be looking at for hours on end.
Putting the low resolution aside, reviewers were happy with the screen as it was bright and colorful with excellent viewing angles. Engadget adds, “... the small display was perfectly functional for showing basic information like the weather, a calendar overview, trending headlines, and to-do lists.” While it’s also capable of playing video, it does not support YouTube.
Like the Show, the Spot can perform video calling—either with other Echo devices with screens or with phones via the Alexa app. While it worked well enough, most critics suggest using the Show if you intend on making lots of video calls. The small display made it difficult to see multiple people.
The biggest drawback of offering video calls is the always-watching camera. While a button on top of the device can disable both the microphone and camera, smart home devices have had issues with hacking in the past.
Sure, you can place some tape over the camera. But the camera is in the same place as the auto brightness sensor, so this might lead to your display being too bright or dark.
If you're worried about privacy, an alarm clock isn't the best place for a camera—so you might want to skip the Spot.
Like other Echo devices, you can use voice commands to control features and talk to Alexa to perform various tasks—such as playing music, answering questions, and setting timers. While the controls worked well, many reviewers wanted more touch control options. Using voice for simple commands—such as turning off a light or setting an alarm—felt awkward.
Due to its compact size, it only packs four far-field microphones. Reviewers were pleased to discover it worked just as well as the seven microphone arrays found in larger Echo models.
As for the audio quality? Well... it's not amazing. But most were quite impressed with how well the 1.4-inch speaker sounded. While it didn’t reach the levels of the larger Amazon Echo, they were surprised with how rich and loud it got considering its size.
With that said, they add it won’t fill a large room with sound. But it can connect to other speakers via Bluetooth or wired connection.
While reviewers liked the cute rounded design and its capabilities, most are hesitant to recommend it. CNET states, “It’s a well-made gadget that looks great, but the marriage between that touchscreen display and Alexa’s voice-first user interface feels forced... Amazon still has work to do.” The Verge adds, “... it’s not particularly cheap and has that pesky camera that most people will not want in their bedroom. Despite that, I personally really like it…”
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