Top critical review
A good idea but flawed execution
30 October 2018
I've had an Echo Spot since they were first released in the UK and a number of times ive come close to sending it back. Let me explain.
I purchased the Echo Spot to use on my bedside table as a clock, alarm etc...it certainly looks the part but has a few flaws which make it less than ideal for use in the bedroom :
1) You can only turn off the display via voice command - this is a problem for me as the display on minimum brightness is still too bright for sleeping next to. I often come to bed later than my partner who always seems to forget to turn off the display (its on the other side of the bed!). This means if i want to turn off the display i have to talk to the Echo Spot and risk waking my partner - or do what i end up doing and unplug it ! (not ideal)
2) It often doesn't hear my commands - sometimes my Echo Spot seems to develop deafness. I've talked to other owners who don't seem to have this issue and I think its because behind my Echo Spot there is a clothes rail which i think is absorbing the sound (the microphones are on the back of the unit where as the screen is facing towards you when you have it on a bedside table). It seems to hear better from a distance rather than close up.
So that’s the initial negatives - the reason ive ended up keeping it is : being able to play relaxing rain sounds while you fall asleep and use a sleep timer is really useful.
Which brings me to my final moan - routines.
I had a good idea to help fix some of the issues above : create my own routines which always switched off the display as part of the routine. For example :
- Set volume 3
- Play rain sounds on Spotify
- Set sleep timer for 15 minutes
- Turn off the display
Would have been an ideal sequence to use and could have been set to run with a single word command - however a large portion of the basic commands are missing from routines - including the last two in my sequence above.
Come on Amazon! its not enough to build smart looking gadgets they also need to behave in a way that actually helps you in your daily life (i cant think of a reason why commands you can say you cant enter as a routine ???).
For background I own a Echo Dot, Google mini and Google Home and im generally happy with all of them - but the Spot needs some work.
Amazon : I'm an IT consultant with 25 years’ experience - if you want someone to help test hardware and software improvements to the Echo Spot I'm happy to donate my time to help improve it - it has potential :-)