Alexa-enabled Echo devices are pretty easy to use but if you’re looking for some visual aid, Amazon is now selling the Echo Spot - the latest member in the Echo family with a display. We’ve been using it for few weeks and this is what we think.
Unlike existing Echo devices, the Echo Spot looks very different and we actually like it. The ball-shaped device goes well with any decor and looks nice as a desk clock. As far as physical buttons and ports go, the camera/mic on/off and volume buttons are placed on the top whereas the power and 3.5mm audio jack are at the back.
Setting up the Echo Spot and using it is as easy as logging into your Amazon account. The Echo Spot works like any other Alexa-enabled speaker but it’s the circular display that gives visual information like time, weather, alarm as well as flash briefing videos. Another thing that the Echo Spot can do is play videos from Amazon’s Prime Video library, however, there’s no support for YouTube.
Amazon recently introduced the capability to make calls to other Alexa users on their device or the app and with the camera in the Echo Spot, we can now do video calls. Video calling works like a charm. There’s also “drop in” feature that lets you instantly connect with the contact or another Echo device in the household. However, if you’re concerned about the camera, Amazon allows to disable the camera completely or the physical button on the top disconnects the camera as well as the mic.
Speaking of the microphone, Echo Spot features four microphones that use beam-forming technology and noise cancellation and can pick up the voice with ease from the other side of a medium-sized room. However, we found the audio quality to be underwhelming.
Echo Spot allows to control smart home devices but understandably, does not come with a built-in smart hub like its Echo Plus sibling. That’s not an issue if the gadget does not require an additional hardware to talk to but requires a bridge if you’re looking to control Philips Hue, for instance.
Echo Spot is compact but we reckon the audio quality could have been improved. Despite that, Echo Spot does what a regular Echo device can but only adds a display and a camera to the mix. The question is, do you really need these two features? If yes, you’ll enjoy what Echo Spot has to offer. But if not, for Rs. 2,000 more, we’d recommend going with the Echo Plus that offers a better audio quality experience and a built-in smart hub, giving the best Alexa-enabled experience.