Perhaps it proves that I’m a visual person, but I really enjoy the Amazon Echo Spot device, more than almost all the other smart devices I’ve seen – quite simply, because of the screen.
Now I think it really comes down to what you use these “assistants” for. For our music at home, Apple’s HomePod has been a revelation, the rest have come and gone.
Hooking up the Echo Spot though changed the game.
Now, I’ve not really been able to give it a proper run for its money because my Amazon account is “US” based and I simply cannot work out how to change it. No problem changing the language of a device, but it has meant doing some workarounds to get things going.
Once I linked my Arlo, Nest and Philips Hue accounts to the Amazon platform those simple “Alexa turn the lights on” functions have been great.
But the screen on Echo Spot means I can say “Alexa show me the Driveway camera” and wow, it’s there, live streaming.
Not the sort of thing you’d leave streaming for hours, but great to check in on the front door or wherever the cameras are.
Problematically, you’re at the mercy of the third parties here, both Nest and Arlo are hardly snappy and getting the live stream showing – seems to take for ages, in reality it’s probably 30 seconds.
As a speaker, rubbish – not one for your music, this is about the screen and information.
Regular news and trending info pops up for you to tap and read if you choose, plus you can put your own photos as background or use it as a clock.
There’s a hauntingly strange “drop in” feature which allows approved users to tune into what’s happening in your home – I’ve no idea who would want or use that, other than perhaps if you’re monitoring an elderly relative.
Overall, it’s stayed connected, I’ve used it daily and I like it being there. It’s actually quite small, but the screen is great for simple content and if you have cameras around it’s really cool.
At $199 it’s pricey, but worth it for the fun if you’ve got more than just lights in your smart home.
Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.
He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.
Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.