Hands on: Amazon's video-enabled Echo Spot

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The Echo Spot is Amazon's second smartspeaker with a built-in screen and occupies a unique space in the Echo ecosystem, especially for people with an assortment of smarthome accessories.

In most respects the Spot is like any other Echo. Voice commands that work with a regular model will work here, such as alarms, timers, traffic, flash briefings, music playback, and smarthome control. You can also ask general questions, even if Alexa's knowledgebase isn't as deep as Google Assistant's.

A screen, of course, creates extra possibilities. Typically you'll just see the time, local weather, and a rotating series of "cards" with things like headlines and Alexa commands to try. Those Alexa suggestions can be handy, since even if you already own an Echo you might be a little bewildered by your new options.

These include things like clockfaces, Alexa-to-Alexa video calls, a limited assortment of video-enhanced flash briefings, and playing content from Prime Video. Due to the ongoing spat between Amazon And Google, YouTube is very conspicuously absent. That being said a round, 2.5-inch screen isn't suitable for watching more than a few minutes of video anyway.

Amazon Alexa app

Where it does come in handy is with Alexa-compatible security cameras and doorbells. In our test house, with an August Doorbell Cam Pro, we were able to say "show me the front door camera" and get a live feed without pulling out our iPhone. Companies like Nest, Netgear, and Logitech also support live camera feeds.

We'll have more to say in our full review, including how it can help Apple users and how it lets them down, but right now it seems as if the Spot shines brightest as a bedside clock in a well-equipped smarthome. Even if you don't have a security camera, it's nice being able to turn on the lights, check weather, or wake up to your favorite Spotify playlist without rolling out of bed.

Amazon Echo Spot

Keep following AppleInsider to check out our review.

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