Bring Alexa Home with the Amazon Echo Spot

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I’ve been wanting to try one of these newfangled smart home voice assistant devices for quite some time now, but up until recently I never got the chance. Today, however, I’ll share with you the results of my recent testing of the Amazon Echo Spot. Over the past few weeks, I’ve had this device on hand and given it pretty much every question, query, inquiry, and command under the sun. How did it perform, you ask? Well, read on and I’ll tell you all about the Spot’s excellent features and specs, it’s performance in testing, and my overall thoughts and opinions on it. (Note: The above link is for the white version of the Spot. I’ve linked to the black version at the very bottom of this article.)

 

Introducing the Amazon Echo Spot

The Amazon Echo Spot is the latest smart home voice assistant to feature Amazon’s highly popular Alexa personality. At roughly the size of a standard nightstand alarm clock, the Echo Spot is small, unobtrusive, and potentially even portable (provided that you’re willing to hook it up to different Wi-Fi connections when you travel).

 

Features & Specs of the Amazon Echo Spot

There are many cool and useful features with the Amazon Echo Spot. In addition to always being ready to assist you with your inquiries (thanks to its use of 2nd generation far-field voice recognition technology to connect to Amazon’s cloud-based voice service known as Alexa), the Spot can also stream your favourite tunes (as well as audio books) from services such as Spotify, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and Audible.

Similarly, if you’ve signed up for Amazon Music, simply ask your Spot to play pretty much any song you can think of and it’s no problem at all.

Moreover, the Spot allows you to make hands-free phone calls to friends and relatives, shows you the time via its 480 x 480 resolution screen (which can display any one of a number of customizable clock faces, as well as videos and images related to online searches), and can even carry out commands for controlling your other smart home devices.

In other words, you can have Alexa control your lights, lock or unlock your doors, start up your lawn sprinklers, adjust your thermostat’s temperature, display what your security cameras or baby monitors are currently seeing, and a great deal more. You can even ask the score from last night’s hockey game and receive an instant answer. There’s definitely a vast world of near unlimited usefulness to a device such as this.

 

Testing and Use

Getting the Amazon Echo Spot up and running was super easy. All I did was plug it in and wait a few seconds for it to power up, at which point it led me straight into a simple setup process that involved finding my home’s Wi-Fi network, entering its password, and ultimately logging into my existing Amazon.com account. The entire process was quick and easy, as the Spot practically does all of the work for you. I really appreciate that kind of simplicity!

 

 

During my testing of the Amazon Echo Spot, I tried it out in various places around my home (and even in the homes of some of my family members) to get a good sense of how it might be useful in different rooms and under different scenarios (I also wanted to get a sense of how it would look amidst a variety of different décor settings). In every case, the Spot seemed very much at home, and I concluded that I liked seeing it in just about any room aside from the bedroom and bathroom. The most ideal place, though, was the living room, as we spend the most (awake) time in there and therefore have easy access to Alexa’s vast knowledge and fun personality.

 

 

I also found that I greatly enjoyed asking Alexa all manner of questions, both silly and serious. Whatever issue I happened to be thinking of or wondering about at any particular time, if the issue was of great importance to me, Alexa was always ready to provide her 2 cents worth. And I must admit, I was rather impressed with her answers most of the time. She nearly always understood what I was saying (funny accent and all), and she usually had pretty reasonable answers to my questions.

One of my favourite ways of using this feature was to ask Alexa to show me a picture of something that I might not readily know the appearance of. For example, I tried asking to see a photograph of the Statue of Liberty (I chose a familiar image so I’d know if Alexa got it right), and up it came immediately. This sort of thing could be very useful for anyone planning a trip and wondering whether or not they should visit certain landmarks or tourist attractions. All in all, I found that the Amazon Echo Spot was fully capable of doing anything I asked it to do.

 

Final Thoughts and Recommendation

In the grand scheme of things, whether you choose the Echo Spot or one of the other excellent Amazon Voice Assistants that are currently available probably doesn’t make all that much difference. What I really like about this particular model, though, is that it is compact, attractive, and looks a lot like a standard nightstand alarm clock.

Initially I was somewhat skeptical as to whether or not I would like having one of these devices around, but I ended up enjoying it quite a bit. I don’t know if it’s necessary to have an Echo Spot in every room of your home, but having a single, centrally located, unit (or a couple of them at different ends of the house) can be rather convenient, and I can certainly see its value.

It’s great to be able to get immediate feedback to questions such as “what will tomorrow’s weather be?” or “where is the nearest pizza joint?” (particularly if you specify an address where you will be spending some time but are not currently familiar with). These kinds of conveniences, along with the ability to control your other smart home devices 100% through voice commands, make the Amazon Echo Spot a very cool addition to any modern living space. It may even make you feel like you’re living in Star Trek!

 

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Leonard Bond
Originally from Nova Scotia, I currently live with my wife in Burnaby, BC. I have previously lived in both Toronto and New Zealand as well. I love to travel and I also love classic literature and great movies (especially spy & espionage works such as those featuring James Bond & Jason Bourne). I am also a serious toy and memorabilia collector (mostly Transformers) and have a great interest in gadgets and technology of all sorts. Many things intrigue me, and that's why I'm here on the Plug-In Blog. I never know what interesting things I'll encounter next!

1 COMMENT

  1. Why all Alexa products is not available in Quebec but Amazon Canada doesn’t have any problem to sell them and ship them in Quebec? (I bought an Echo Spot throught them) As I recall, the law says if a product is available in French somewhere in the world, it has to be available in French in Quebec. Alexa does not support french language nowhere so Bestbuy should be able to sell it here…
    There’s a good promotion for the Philips Hue giving 2 Echo dot but I’d have to travel in Ontario to get it… Pretty lame.

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