Even with more Echo speakers to choose from than ever, the Amazon Echo Spot remains one of the very top picks – mixing portability, cute looks, and a dinky video screen, the Echo Spot stakes a good claim for a space on your desk.
The Echo Spot immediately grabs your attention as you set eyes on it, and it feels like a natural step forward for Amazon's range of smart speakers, with new models arriving regularly year on year.
Most of the key benefits of the Amazon Echo range in general apply to the Echo Spot: decent prices, tons of functionality, and a voice interface easy enough for complete tech beginners to get a hold of. It's no wonder the Echos have become essentials in a smart home setup.
And so to the Amazon Echo Spot, perhaps one of the less well-known of the Echo smart speakers, but undoubtedly one of the best-looking of the bunch: this has the aesthetics to fit into any, ahem, spot...whether you pop it on your bedside table, your office desk, or kitchen counter.
This is all subjective, and depends on how your home is set up, but if you do want our styling as well as our tech recommendations, then the Echo Spot is ideal for sticking next to your bed.
So, appealing looks aside, how's is the Echo Spot to use? Is a screen that small and round actually useful? And how does the audio quality shape up against its rivals? Read our full Amazon Echo Spot review to find out.
Amazon Echo Spot: design
With features and performance, Amazon's Echo Spot is much, more more than a smart alarm clock – even if that's the impression it gives off. For a lot of Echo Spot owners, chunky alarm clock may become the device's default use, but you'll find it's a lot more versatile than that.
In fact, the Amazon Echo Spot carves out its own niche in the Echo line up, and that's to its credit. The gadget's neatly curved shell does more than enough to make up for some of the design failings of its siblings.
So where the big, bulky and brash Amazon Echo Show tends to take over any area you put it in, for example, thanks to its black slab look and large screen, the Echo Spot is much more refined in its compact, circular design.
The Echo Spot is proof that the best way to do a desk-based video device is to forgo the TV-lite look, and just go with something that's compact and well designed instead. Tech companies, please take note.
If you had to place this in context in the Echo line-up, it's a cross between an Echo Dot and a smaller version of the Amazon Echo Show – the rectangular video-driven gadget that looks a lot like a miniature TV.
This is no Echo Dot replacement, though: the price puts it out of contention for that, and it's also a lot more versatile. To say it's a Dot with a screen would be doing it a disservice (sorry, Dot, we love you really).
Size-wise, it's about the equivalent of a mango. Sure, mangoes may not be the most scientific way to measure things, but at least it gives you an indication that it’s a pretty compact device with a curved back and screen that's angled up, making it easy to view.
The Amazon Echo Spot is a great-looking device, certainly something you won't mind having on show in your home... unlike the, er, original Show, which we always felt like tucking away on the kitchen counter.
Amazon Echo Spot: features and setup
The Echo Spot unit we reviewed was black but there's also a white one available. The screen is relatively small at 2.5 inches, with a 480 x 480 pixel resolution.
On the top of the screen there's space for a camera and on the top of the Echo Spot as a whole there are three buttons, which all sit flush against the surface for a really streamlined look.
Anyone familiar with the Echo range will know what they are: volume up, volume down, and a mic mute button – that last one disables the camera too, so it's the button to press for a little added privacy.
Plus, there are four small pin-prick holes too, housing the four-array mics that listen out for the wake word and for you barking commands at Alexa.
On the back of the Echo Spot you have the standard Amazon branding, a slot for power and a 3.5mm audio jack.
The speaker grill for the Echo Spot is right at the base of the device, which makes it invisible when viewing the device face-on. Bluetooth functionality is also available for streaming audio to or from another device.
Setup is similar to other Echo devices, except for this one you can type in your Wi-Fi details straight on the screen instead of going through the Alexa app, thanks to that handy built-in display.
Admittedly, it's a little bit fiddly putting in your details that way (it asks for your Amazon account password too) but the whole process should take less than five minutes. Then your Amazon Echo Spot is really ready to go.
Once your Echo Spot is up and running, you have the option to watch Amazon's promo video, which tells you what you can do with the device and gets you started. It's not a masterpiece, but it's worth sitting through so you get an idea about what you've just bought.
Then you get that warm chime sound, which means Alexa is online and ready to take orders. Once this appears it's a good time to read our best Amazon Alexa skills article, as well as follow the prompts that come up on the screen to find out what your new Echo Spot can do.
Swipe right on the screen at any time to bring up a whole load of Alexa commands you can use, which is a really nice way to learn what to do with the digital assistant. If you're looking for some fun and silly extras, give our Alexa Easter Eggs list a try, too.
These prompts can be turned off in the Spot's settings, and it's here in the settings where you can toggle home cards on and off as well (little blurbs of information that come up on the home screen).
You can have the home screen include your messages, weather, notifications, upcoming events, reminders, drop ins and trending topics.