Despite all the Alexa smart home pros and cons being currently debated, it’s hard to argue against how much Amazon changed how we view smart homes. They used to be novel concepts of the rich and tech-loving. But Amazon has made them an everyday thing for everyone. With just an Amazon Echo or any other smart speaker in your living room or kitchen, you are already well on your way to a smart home.
Amazon has been on a bender, releasing several Echo speakers in the last few months.
One of their recent additions is the Echo Spot, Amazon’s miniature take on their large and blocky Echo Show.
By the way: The Echo Spot is now on sale just in time for holiday shopping. It’s retailing at $130 on Amazon.
The Echo spot is a bedside smart speaker. It has a tiny 2.4” screen and a terrible speaker. But it can do everything that the larger Echo Show can do from watching news briefs to making video calls.
A Surprisingly Good Alarm Clock
You most likely use your phone for alarms. Well, it’s time to ditch your phone alarm and get an Echo Spot instead. Here’s why.
For one, the small screen. At just 2.4 inches, the Echo Spot is not designed for viewing long videos or reading anything more than a few numbers of words long. It’s meant for quick glances, just like a traditional alarm clock.
With just a glance you can tell the time, see the weather or whatever else is on the screen. Instead of fumbling with your phone’s lock screen in the middle of the night, you just pop your eye open, look at the screen and go back to sleep for what feels like 10 seconds before the alarm rings.
Talking of ringing, the terrible Spot’s speaker is perfect for rousing you out of bed. It’s shrill with virtually no base at all. If you love your beats, don’t even try to listen to music on it (but you can connect it to a large speaker via line or Bluetooth).
You can also tell Alexa to wake you up with a specific song or tell it to play songs from a certain artist or genre. Note that the speaker supports several music services including Pandora, Tunein, Spotify and of course Amazon Music.
When the alarm rings, the Spot will still be able to pick up your voice command telling it to keep quiet or show you the morning news.
The only small issue I have with the Echo spot as a bedside alarm is the screen brightness. You can turn down the brightness on the screen but it may still be a bit too bright for some people. If it affects you, try changing the screen to display a dark clock face.
Make sure you also set the Spot to ‘Do Not Disturb’.
It’s great having a nice looking alarm clock on your bedside. It’s even better if that alarm clock can also switch off your lights, control your thermostat and check on your sleeping baby.
Remember the Echo Spot is just as capable as any other smart Echo speaker. So you don’t have to standup to go switch off the lights. Just tell Alexa to do it for you. As long as you have integrated them, you can also control other smart home devices and systems such as your thermostat and fan from the comfort of your bed.
You can also check in on your baby monitor camera using the Drop In feature or place a quick goodnight video call to your mom.
The Echo Spot has a camera. For a device that many people plan on using in their bedrooms, this has understandably raised a lot of concerns. But Amazon gives users a lot of control over the camera and voice settings.
You can even disable the camera using a button on the Echo Spot or through the Alexa app. But a lot of people are still worried about their Echo speaker getting hacked and someone watching or listening to them.
Unfortunately there isn’t much you can do about that other than trust when Amazon says their speakers are secure.
But if you are willing to overlook the privacy issues, something we seem to have to do with almost every device we buy nowadays, the Echo Spot is a great do-it-all alarm clock that also happens to house a smart voice assistant.