Cam Secore
I write gadget comparison posts in 500 words or less.
Updated 04/23/2018
 

Amazon Echo Spot vs. Echo Show: Looking at Alexa Video Assistants

echo spot vs echo show Grade: C

Amazon Echo Show

  • Echo Show has a 7″ touchscreen a 5-megapixel camera.
  • Amazon is marketing it as a device for the kitchen, which sounded great to me because I like following video recipes (from Facebook or YouTube) rather than reading them. The problem is that it’s hard to watch the videos you want because you can only bring up videos with your voice, and there isn’t much content available.
  • To make things worse, Google and Amazon have beef, and YouTube is no longer allowed on Echo Show. For cooking, you’re stuck with Amazon’s content or AllRecipes, which is hard to navigate.
  • The screen was only useful when listening to music because you can see the album art and song name and skip songs. The lyrics come up on some songs as they play if you use Amazon Music Unlimited.
  • Echo Show forgets that it has a touchscreen and the functionality is limited. I thought it’d work more like a tablet, but it can’t access apps, add skills or do anything else a tablet can. There are things I’d like to do with my hand rather than voice. You end up with a 7″ display that you can’t use.
  • There’s a visual timer, but it’s no different than those on phones and microwaves.
  • It’s ugly, bulky and oddly-angled. It’s not aesthetically pleasing.
  • You can receive video calls from other Echo devices with a camera or the Alexa app.
  • The camera is set at a fixed angle. This means you have to adjust your face position when in a video call rather than repositioning the device. If you have it set on the counter, for example, you either have to stand an unnatural distance away from the device or bend down to get your face in the frame.
  • Sound quality: This is the best-sounding Alexa speaker, but not by much. It sounds similar to Echo and Echo Plus, but with extra bass.

echo show vs spot Grade: B

Amazon Echo Spot

  • Echo Spot was released in December as Amazon’s second Echo with a touchscreen and camera.
  • Amazon is marketing Spot as an alarm clock. Three points on this:
    • Do you want a camera facing you at all times? You can turn off the camera by saying “Alexa, turn off the camera,” but this might freak some people out.
    • Don’t people charge their phones on their nightstand? Spot doesn’t do anything (as an alarm) better than a phone.
    • Alexa thinks it hears its name (from the TV) and makes a noise. This can be said about any Alexa device, but if I’m in my bedroom resting, I want to be away from technology. Make sure you set a scheduled “Do Not Disturb” to avoid these issues.
  • I wanted to use Spot in the kitchen, but the screen is too small to be useful for recipes or videos.
  • Its default face is an analog clock, but you can make it a photo too.
  • The screen is 2.5″ inches. Because the screen is curved, only half of it is utilized when playing a video. People complain about iPhone X’s notch being a waste of screen, what do you call this?
  • The screen was only useful when listening to music because you can see the album art and song name and skip songs. It’s too small to watch videos.
  • If you want to watch videos, Amazon Prime Video is your only real option. There’s no YouTube.
  • The screen automatically dims depending on how much light it senses with Adaptive Lighting. This is helpful when you’re trying to sleep. (You can turn off the display completely too).
  • You can receive video calls from other Echo devices with a camera or the Alexa app.
  • The camera is set at a fixed angle. This means you have to adjust your face position when in a video call rather than repositioning the device.
  • This is Amazon’s nicest design aesthetically. It feels sturdy and well-built too.
  • Setup was great and by far the best of all Alexa devices.
  • Sound quality: Spot is the second-worst sounding Echo device.
    • It’s barely good enough to listen to music on.
    • However, it sounds far better than Dot.
    • It sounds similar to a smartphone speaker because there’s no bass, although the volume can go much louder.
    • The sound quality is slightly superior to the Google Home Mini.
    • Unfortunately, you have to treat this device similar to Dot and use external speakers (3.5mm jack or through Bluetooth).
alexa devices

Similarities: Echo Show & Echo Spot

Love

  • Alexa is compatible with any smart home device. We’re talking about lights, thermostats, vacuums, switches, plugs, and TVs.
  • Aside from operating smart devices, there are more than 15,000 skills you can add to your Alexa device.
  • The voice recognition feature is fantastic. In my experience, it can hear you from a couple of rooms away. It’s much better than Apple’s Siri.
  • There aren’t many things that get better as you use them, but all Echos get smarter and more skills are added to the Alexa database as time goes on.
  • With “Routines,” Alexa can do multiple tasks with one command. They were added in November, and now it’s one of my favorite features.
  • The “Drop-in” feature lets you instantly connect with another Alexa device by saying “Alexa, drop in on Cam’s Echo.” If you have a call between two video-enabled Alexa’s, it’ll be a video call. Otherwise, it’ll only be audio. You can drop in with the Alexa phone app too. (You can turn the Drop-in feature off).
  • Amazon.com integration is perfect. Tracking and ordering packages is a breeze.
  • You can program Alexa to understand different people’s voices and use your preferences (i.e., YOUR music, YOUR calendar,  YOUR contacts, etc.). For instance, when you say “Alexa, call mom.” It’ll know who’s mom to call. The individual voice recognition and setup doesn’t work as well as Google Home’s, but it’s still useful.
  • You can use them as external Bluetooth speakers.

Hate

  • Alexa devices don’t play well with Apple. You can’t write in Apple Calendar, Notes, or Reminders. And Alexa can’t play Apple Music. (Although, you can play Apple Music with Bluetooth).
  • These devices can’t use reasoning or process language on a human level. For instance, you have to remember the exact name of each skill for it to perform the tasks, and it’s hard to remember what to say to control each device. You can’t naturally tell it to turn the temperature down. You say things like, “Alexa, set the temperature to 68 on the living room Nest thermostat.”
  • They don’t understand pronouns or remember what was previously discussed.
  • Amazon doesn’t prioritize sound on any of their devices. Echo, Echo Plus and Echo Show sound decent, but they’re not as sharp as some of the premium speakers from Bose or Sonos.

Which one is for you?

Spot and Show will evolve as Amazon releases new software, but they have more gimmicks than substance at this point.

Echo Show is a subpar product because you can’t do enough with the screen. If you’re looking for an Alexa device for the kitchen, to watch recipes or cooking videos, buy Fire HD 10 Tablet with a stand. The HD 10 tablet has hands-free Alexa, powers of a tablet, portability, and it’s only $150.

Echo Spot is better than the Show. It’s a classier, better-designed, better-sounding version of Echo Dot. It’s overpriced at $130, but if the price drops to the $80 range it’ll be worth every cent.