With the ever growing popularity of Alexa-enabled devices in the home, it was only a matter of time before Amazon added a visual aspect. The Amazon Echo Spot and Amazon Echo Show both feature LED screens that allow for video calls, watching movies, enhancing Alexa skills, or simply providing a customized clock. We’ve broken down both these products to help you make an informed decision on which of these Amazon gadgets fits your needs.
The Echo Spot is the best looking Alexa enabled device to date. It’s compact, circular design has a modern look that blends in perfectly on an office bookshelf or bedroom nightstand. Three buttons on top are easy to navigate and there is even a 3.5mm audio output in back for an external speaker. Amazon had a goal to make the Echo Spot a perfect smart alarm clock and they nailed it.
Unfortunately, everything Amazon got right with the Spot it got wrong with the Show. The Echo Show’s boxy design and large speaker makes it look like the old Chumby computer. Even the decade old Sony Dash looks more modern in contrast. While it does have the same three control buttons on top, it’s missing the 3.5mm audio port. Overall, the Echo Show feels like it should be thinner with more rounded edges.
With a 7″ LED screen at 1024 x 600 resolution, video quality is where the Echo Show is at it’s best. Video calling is clear and has minimal lag to it. It’s also the only acceptable option if you plan to watch movies and TV shows through Amazon Prime.
The 480 x 480 resolution on the Echo Spot is fine for it’s 2.5″ LED screen. Video is a bit awkward as the rounded design crunches video down. But it’s countered by the fact that the screen is perfect for clock faces for which Amazon has created many (and let’s you upload your own photos). Still, bigger is better here and while the Spot is the better clock, the Show’s video capabilities are better everywhere else.
When it comes to audio, the Echo Show is one of the best options Amazon has offered yet. Dual Dolby 2.0″ speakers provide strong sound that can adequately fill a room. Even at its loudest, music comes in rich and clear. The bass isn’t half bad either. While it’s not at the same level as a high end soundbar, it more than sufficient for casual listeners.
There is a drop-off when it comes to the Echo Spot. With just a 1.4″ speaker, it loses quality at it’s higher settings. But it’s still fine for a bedroom and is a step-up from the tinny sounding Echo Dot speaker.
While there are plenty of differences in terms of the hardware, the software is almost identical. It’s the same quintessential Alexa experience you’re used to. You can play your favorite music, ask questions, control smart home gadgets, and more.
With both offering essentially the same functions, the question is whether the upgrades in sound and a bigger screen are worth $100. The answer to that is no.
While many Alexa skills have started to utilize the video screen, they still don’t feel like a necessity. And so having the bigger screen doesn’t provide much of an advantage. Video calls would be the exception to this although we didn’t feel like the few extra inches provided a dramatic difference.
There is a gap in speaker quality, just not $100 worth. And if playing music in your home is important, you’re probably better off using the $100 savings to buy a quality Bluetooth speaker that can connect to your Echo Spot and likely outshine the Show’s dual speakers.
Choosing which video-enabled Echo device is right for you comes down to where you plan to use it. If it’s a kitchen, go with the Echo Show. The large screen can help with following recipes while the speakers can easily fill the room with music from Pandora, Spotify, or Amazon Music. If it’s for a bedroom or office, go with the Echo Spot. It makes a great clock while handling all your Alexa needs.
But if you must choose one of these for your home, I’d go with the Echo Spot. While the screen is considerably smaller, you’ll likely find out there are just not many times you’ll use it (especially since you can’t watch Netflix, Hulu, or YouTube on either of these). So save the $100, get the cheaper device with the smaller profile. And if more uses for the screen come in the future, the Echo Show should be cheaper or have a newer model.