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Amazon Echo Spot smart speaker: First Impressions
Amazon has a new smart speaker, but this time with a circular display.
Amazon recently launched its Echo Spot smart speaker in India for a price of Rs 10,499. It is yet another Echo device that can be controlled through your voice commands. What makes this a standout device is its circular display that can show the clock, notifications, videos, latest news and more.
Not just that, you also get an integrated camera that allows you to make video calls to other Echo devices and phones. But is it something that you should definitely buy? Let's find out in our initial impressions of the device.
Design wise the smart speakers look really attractive and is something that would complement your workstation. It only houses a power port and a 3.5mm audio jack on the rear end making it look neat.
There are three physical buttons on the top -- volume rockers and the Alexa turn on/off key. On the bottom you'll find a circular grouping of downward-facing vents which also serves as the speaker grille for the 1.4-inch speaker.
On top of the display, there's a front facing camera. This feature is definitely going to bother a lot of users. For instance, if the Echo Spot is recording your kids activity or recording your sleep. Although the company claims that the device doesn't record any of the user's activity, it still is vulnerable to many cyber threats. To avoid this situation Amazon has added a button that allows users to disengage the Echo Spot's camera.
Under the hood
Amazon says that the Echo Spot features second generation far-field technology with four microphones, acoustic beam-forming technology, and enhanced noise cancellation so it can hear users from across the room even when music is playing.
The UI on the device has four main screens that shows the time, weather, trending stories, and Things to Try. Out of these only the trending stories screen is interactive where in you can tap and get a quick read on the topic.
Alexa hasn't changed much in terms of her prowess to control the smart devices. Though it isn't the greatest of researchers, it does offer more home skills than its contemporaries. With the addition of the screen, Alexa now shows you the information she's reading to you if you ask her a question.
But unfortunately none of it is interactive. The company could have given an option to view further information on the topic through a webpage. The addition of the touchscreen seems like a missed opportunity here.
As for the sound quality, the new speakers sound better than what we've heard on the much cheaper Echo Dot speakers. It delivers a decently balanced audio output. Of course you won't be filling any rooms with the sound, but it's loud enough for a small area. However, the functionality is more or less similar to what you get on other Echo devices.
The Echo Spot comes with a four-microphone array and is capable of hearing you from anywhere in the room. The device also has an ability to connect to services such as Amazon Prime Music, Saavn for music, Aaj Tak, India Today and NDTV for news, and Ola for booking cabs.
Overall the Amazon Echo Spot is cool looking device with smart functionality. The screen tries its best to keep you updated cycling through bits of information like date, time and weather. Add Alexa to the list and voila. It makes your life even easier by adding cards for your reminders, upcoming events, and notifications from other Alexa skills.
The screen support should be expanded -- something both Amazon and the Alexa skill developers will need to embrace. We will hopefully see that in the coming days considering the deep skill background and support Alexa has.
That being said it's hard to say that Echo Spot delivers much more than the much cheaper Echo Dot. It looks way cooler though. Video chatting and a touchscreen is of course a better deal, but all that for an extra Rs 6,000? Perhaps not.
We will be testing the device for a couple of weeks and come up with a detailed review of the product. Until then stay tuned.