A built-in screen adds an extra layer of functionality to the newest member of the Amazon Echo family.
What is Amazon Echo Spot?
Amazon Echo Spot is a voice-controlled smart device that takes the compact design of Amazon's Echo Dot smart speaker and adds a screen for watching videos, viewing photos and receiving other visual feedback from Amazon's virtual personal assistant, Amazon Alexa.
As with all Amazon Echo devices, Echo Spot relies on Alexa to interpret your spoken commands and respond to them in a helpful and natural manner. Because Alexa's brains reside in a cloud-based voice service, though, Echo Spot needs to be connected to the Internet for Alexa to function.
To ensure your voice commands don't go unheard, Echo Spot contains four microphones that make use of Amazon's latest far-field technology, working in concert to more accurately cancel out ambient noise and hear you from further away, even in the midst of a bustling room.
Sadly, Amazon Echo Spot is currently only available for purchase in the US, UK and Europe.
Can't wait for Echo Spot to come Down Under? These Echo devices are already available:
What can Amazon Echo Spot do?
Echo Spot is capable of all the same functions as the standard Amazon Echo, including looking up information for you on the Internet, reading out the latest news headlines and managing your daily appointments through your personal calendar.
While the Echo Spot doesn't boast quite as powerful a speaker as the larger Echo, it is still more than capable of playing music from streaming services like Spotify, iHeartRadio, TuneIn and Amazon's own Amazon Music. For parties and occasions where you need the music pumping, Echo Spot can connect with other speakers via Bluetooth or using a 3.5mm cable and leverage their extra audio oomph.
Existing Echo devices already support hands-free voice-calling, but the addition of a screen gives Echo Spot the ability to also make video calls to fellow owners of Echo Spot or Echo Show, as well as anyone using the Amazon Alexa app. If you've got multiple Echo devices in your house, you can also place voice and video calls between them with a simple command.
Echo Spot's screen makes it easier to take advantage of Alexa's shopping functionality. Ask Alexa to buy something from Amazon's online store for you, and it'll be ordered and on its way without delay – provided you're an Amazon Prime member. If you're not, you'll have to settle for Alexa adding the item to your shopping cart for manual checking out later. With the Echo Spot's screen, though, you can get a good look at the items as Alexa hunts them down for you, ensuring you don't inadvertently order the wrong style of garbage bag for the tenth time in a row.
Perhaps the best aspect of the Echo Spot is its ability to continuously evolve by utilising the Alexa Skills Kit. This growing library of add-ons grants Alexa new capabilities such as playing trivia games with you, guiding you through your morning yoga routine and controlling the latest smart home devices. Alexa Skills are completely free, and can be activated at any time through the Amazon website.
What other devices is Amazon Echo Spot compatible with?
If you own other Amazon Echo devices like the Echo Plus, Amazon Tap or the original Amazon Echo, Echo Spot can link up with them for multi-room voice recognition and audio playback. Outside of the Amazon family, Echo Spot can connect with and control a variety of smart devices over Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, allowing for hands-free activation of smart lights, smart TVs and many other intelligent devices. Some of the most popular compatible products currently available are:
- ecobee smart thermostats
- iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaners
- Sony Bravia smart TVs
When will Amazon Echo Spot be available in Australia?
In the US, Amazon Echo Spot launches on 19 December 2017. Unfortunately, Amazon has not yet announced plans to brings its Echo line of smart devices to Australia, though it's highly likely we'll hear more when Amazon officially launches in Australia.
How much will Amazon Echo Spot cost?
Only US pricing is currently available for Echo Spot, with the device weighing in at US$129.99. Based on that figure, Aussies can expect to pay somewhere between AUD$170 and AUD$200.
Amazon Echo Spot specs
- 104mm x 97mm x 81mm
- 2.5" screen
- 1.4" speaker with 3.5mm stereo output
- Dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n @ 2.4GHz/5GHz
- 4-microphone array