Amazon Echo Spot review
Echo Spot review • Price £119
- PROS: Cute design will fit any room • Compatible with most popular music streaming services • Screen adds an extra dimension • Alexa still one of the best personal assistants
- CONS: Camera can be creepy • Sound quality lacks any punch • Expensive
Amazon has just added another Echo device to its ever-growing range of smart speakers and this one has to be the most desirable to date.
The Echo Show Spot was launched in the US late last year and offers a cute and friendly round design which includes a very neat in-built display.
It means this mini Echo not only brings audio to your room but also visual alerts, video calling and the ability to view a range of useful information such as local weather, to do lists and what’s on your daily calendar.
You can even use this screen to view live footage from compatible smart cameras so you can instantly see who’s at the front without having to reach for a smartphone.
Express.co.uk has been using the Spot for the past week and we’ve been left hugely impressed by this diddy device.
Its loveable design makes you genuinely want to use it and its curvaceous look means it won’t look out of place in even the smartest of homes.
The 2.5-inch touch screen is bright and responsive with it adding enough features to make it worth its inclusion.
Checking out the latest video reports from the BBC or glancing at trending news is surprisingly useful and certainly adds an extra dimension to the popular Echo brand.
Of course, the Echo Spot is powered by Amazon’s Alexa who is fast becoming the digital assistant every technology firm is trying to beat.
Alexa offers a huge range of voice commands all of which work well on the Spot.
You can ask Alexa to set alarms to certain music tracks, find out the local weather and even tell you a quick, and not always funny, joke.
Although we are genuinely smitten with this new Echo there is an issue and it’s all to do with the camera that’s tucked at the top of the device.
The Echo Spot’s camera can seem a little creepy
Having taken the Spot out of its box, the first thing you think is this is the perfect little device to sit right next to your bed.
Its subtle design and on-screen clock make it the perfect tech replacement for your ageing radio alarm.
But placing it in our bedroom we suddenly became very aware of that camera.
Amazon is very clear about the Echo Spot and user’s privacy saying: “Amazon takes customer privacy seriously and we have taken measures to make Echo Spot secure.
“These include hardware control via the mic/camera off button, disallowing third party application installation on the device, rigorous security reviews, and encryption of communication between Echo Spot, the Alexa App and Amazon servers.”
Of course, the chances of anyone actually wanting – or being able – to hack the camera and watch what’s going on in your bedroom are slim but, even with the ability to switch it off and block a connection it still feels a little unnerving.
There’s plenty of people who feel uneasy about the camera in their laptops let alone the thought of one being installed in the most private room in your home.
The Echo Spot features easy controls on the top of the device
Another slight issue for the Spot is the sound quality.
We tested the device in our Kitchen and, whilst it can boom out a song, the lack of bass and volume means it’s unlikely to replace your sound system.
And this sound quality takes us back to our bedroom dilemma.
As a bedside clock radio the Spot really is brilliant as it brings a huge array of extra features to what is usually a pretty mundane device.
The speakers will wake you up to your favourite tunes and the screen will even show you the song lyrics should you decide to perform some early morning Karaoke.
Plus when you rise from your slumber you can ask Alexa to turn on the lights and pump up the heating without leaving the comfort of your bed.
The Echo Spot joins the rest of the Echo family
The question you’ll have to ask is, are you happy letting an internet connected camera into your bedroom for the privilege? (sounded a little similar to the “most private room in your house” as few lines earlier, so tried to change it up)
We’d preferred to have seen a Spot without this camera but Amazon has included it so users can make video calls and use the “drop in” feature which allows you to quickly interact and see what is going on with other Echos.
These are certainly nice additions to the Spot and it can make speaking or checking in with friends and family decidedly hassle free.
Perhaps a perfect solution would be for Amazon to offer two models of the Spot, with and without a camera.
Sadly, for now that’s not an option you can choose.
The Spot is perfect by your bed but the camera does feel uncomfortable
There’s no question that the Echo Spot is a great little device.
It’s the best looking Echo to date and brings enough added features to make it stand out from the ever-growing range of Alexa-enabled devices.
The design and use of its display add to its appeal and the Spot offers a very neat and friendly way to bring a smart speaker to the side of your bed.
Sadly, the fact that your bedroom is the most likely place you’ll put the Spot is one of its biggest problems.
With its in-built connected camera you’ll have to decide if you feel comfortable with the Spot sitting in one of the most private rooms in your home.
Amazon is very clear on the Spot’s strict privacy settings and it’s highly unlikely to get hacked but there is still something that we feel slightly uneasy about.
We genuinely like the Spot and genuinely enjoyed using it, we’d just love it even more if wasn’t for that camera.