Amazon Echo Spot
AN ALEXA DEVICE DISGUISED AS A BEDSIDE CLOCK – IT’S A GREAT LITTLE PERSONAL COMPANION
Physically, the Echo Spot looks like a bedside clock – and when dormant its circular 480 x 480 touchscreen shows a colourful clock face (there are 23 styles to choose from). Like the Show, it can also cycle through upcoming calendar entries, news alerts and so on – although, since the screen’s only 2.5in in diameter, it can be a little hard to read from across the room.
The Spot isn’t exactly a small device, mind. A sizeable bezel surrounds the display, and the rounded casing bulges out behind it: the black model is a bit more slimming than the white, but whichever you choose the footprint is slightly larger than that of an Echo Dot.
Happily, its sound quality is vastly better, thanks to a much larger 35mm driver. There’s zero in the way of sub-bass, but music is well balanced, and the 66dBA maximum volume is loud enough to sing along to while you’re getting dressed in the morning. There are only four microphones, rather than the Dot’s seven, but we had no problem getting the Spot to hear and understand us.
Functionally, the Spot is all but identical to the Echo Show. You can even watch videos on its tiny screen, should you so wish: the picture gets letterboxed at the top and bottom, and rounded off at the sides, but if you like to doze off with a TV show in the background, it’s perfectly doable. It’s just a shame that you’re restricted to Prime Video: here’s hoping that Amazon will sort out some additional video sources for the future.
It’s also possible to make video calls from the Spot to other Echo users, or to other devices in your own home. Amazon doesn’t reveal the resolution of the little embedded camera, but it looks perfectly sharp on the receiving end. The angle isn’t adjustable, though, so if you have it on a nightstand, you might have to slump down on the bed or your friends and family are liable to end up conversing with your crotch.
Technically it may be just another Alexa device, but there’s something particularly likeable about the Spot. If the Echo Show’s sizeable screen seems to over-promise, the Spot’s dinky display sets expectations much more realistically. And while sound quality isn’t exactly stellar, you get both a 3.5mm jack and Bluetooth to connect to an external speaker – so there’s no reason why you couldn’t use a Spot as your primary Alexa device in a living room or study. $180 • www.amazon.com.au/Echo