The Best and Worst Thing about Using the Amazon’s Echo Spot
The Echo Spot is the only Amazon device with a tiny, round screen — and that’s both the best and worst thing about using it
Amazon’s Echo Spot is in an unusual position in the Echo family.
It has a screen, but not one big enough for serious video-watching.
It’s small, but not as small as the Echo Dot.
It can play music, but it doesn’t sound as good as the Echo or Echo Show.
So, what is it for?
After several weeks of testing the Spot, I’m still not really sure. At launch, the Echo Spot’s primary purpose seemed to be acting as a smart alarm clock for your bedside table or nightstand. It can certainly do that, but it also seems a bit overqualified for the position.
- The Echo Spot has Alexa.
- It can make video calls.
- It can play music videos.
- It can make visual lists and reminders.
- It can play music.
- And — of course — it can display the time.
It does all the things a regular Echo can do, but it does them on a 2.5-inch touchscreen.
And in the end, it was the screen that ended up being both the best and the worst thing about the Echo Spot.
Here’s the Spot on bedside table. It just seems like a fancy digital clock on the surface.
It looks incredibly nice, though! In fact, it’s the best-looking Amazon Echo device you can buy. The shape is ergonomic, the materials feel high-quality, and it’s about the size of a softball: not too big, not too small.
There’s a camera above the screen, and you can use it to make video calls — just say, “Alexa, video call Jane,” and it will call Jane. Even the software design on the Spot is modern and clean, as evidenced by the calling interface.
Video calling is fun and feels a little futuristic, thanks to the round screen. It’s rare to see any video displayed that way, which makes the Spot feel refreshingly modern.
The tiny dot on the right of the screen is where your face would go if you were on a call with someone.
But, the round screen is where the device also fails. Text isn’t designed to fit in a round frame, so it looks pretty amateurish when displayed on the Echo Spot. Luckily, it’s a touchscreen, so you can manually scroll down to read the full paragraph.
Lists aren’t optimized for the Spot’s display either, so by the third item, everything starts to get cut off.
A video briefing is one of the advantages of the Spot — it’s like having a tiny TV next to your bed — but the size is also a shortcoming of the device. Here, you can barely make out the White House. What’s the point?
But the Echo Spot somewhat redeemed itself in the end. At first, You thought it was incredibly pointless to watch a music video on the Spot. How would you even be able to see Beyoncé on this thing? Plus, the square Vevo app — remember, no YouTube videos on Amazon devices — looks terrible.
But then when full-screen mode enabled, and here was Beyoncé in all her glory, albeit miniaturized. Sure, the full width of the video gets cut off on the round screen, but feeling like I was on a video call with Bey was worth it.
The Echo Spot costs $130 with deal $109.99 and is available to buy right now on Amazon.