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In this article, we take a deep-dive with a comparison of Echo Show vs the Echo Spot, Amazon’s popular smart speakers with screens. Is bigger really better? In a word, Yes. BUT it depends on what you want to use them for. Let’s take a closer look.
Echo Show vs Echo Spot: Head to Head
The smart speaker market is booming and is only going to get bigger. Yup, like dinosaur big.
In a recent study, market research firm Statistica predicted that revenue for smart speakers will hit a whopping 17.43 billion worldwide by 2022.
That’s nearly seventeen and a half BILLION folks in a matter of just a few years. Wow.
Another report published by Voicebot.ai said that about 3 million U.S. consumers have smart speakers with displays one year after launch.
At the time of the report last year, the nightstand-friendly Echo Spot was outselling the Echo Show by a factor of nearly two to one.
However, this was prior to Amazon’s blockbuster holiday sales with the Echo Show completely selling out nearly three weeks prior to Christmas.
We’re still waiting for the latest numbers on Show sales from Amazon but there is no doubting the crazy demand for these smart displays. And there is also no doubt that this is exactly why Google, Facebook, and others have jumped on the bandwagon with their own voice assistants with smart screens.
We may be a bit biased, but we heavily favor Amazon Echo devices. Alexa’s has amazing reliability and the backing of the wealthiest company in the world.
Amazon Echo Show vs Echo Spot: Quick Comparison Chart
|Echo Show||Echo Spot|
|Material||Plastic with fabric wrapper||Plastic|
|Screen Size||10” Rectangular||2.5” round|
|Screen Resolution||1280 x 800 [720p]||480 x 480|
|Dimensions||10 x 6.9 x 4||4” spehere|
|Weight||2.6 lbs||15 ozs|
|Built in Hub||Zigbee Smart Hub||No|
|Speakers||Dual 2 inch [neodymium drivers]||1.4 inch single|
|Passive Bass Radiator||Yes||No|
|Smart Home Hub||Build in Zigbee||Yes|
|Control Smart Devices||Yes||Yes [that don’t require a Zigbee hub]|
|Colors||Charcoal or Sandstone||White or Black|
Echo Show Features
As we point out in our review of Echo Show 2nd Generation vs 1st Gen….[You can click on the above link to go to the full article.]
Amazon made some major improvements to the Echo Show over the previous version. When it was first announced last September, it immediately became a darling of all of the Tech Rags, influencers and experts. Why? It has a vastly better design, a bigger screen, better audio, a host of software skills and updates, and it includes a smart hub built right in. Here’s a quick rundown of the Show’s features [many of which are also available on the Spot]:
- New solid-state plastic design with a fabric wrapper
- Giant vibrant 10-inch 1280 x 800 px resolution screen
- Premium speakers with Dolby processing and crisp stereo sound
- Includes Zigbee hub for smart home devices that are compatible with the Hub
In addition, Amazon updated Alexa’s skills for the big screen. They now include:
- Step by step recipes
- Video calling with Skype
- Live TV and Sports [Hulu]
- Youtube videos
- Ability to adjust new audio equalizer (bass, treble, midrange) with your voice (“Alexa, lower the bass.”)
- More voice commands; you can now open your favorite web browser and surf the web using your voice
Moreover, by pairing the Show with a video camera such as the very affordable Wyze cam, you can keep an eye on the kids, spy on your dog, or see who’s at the front door.
Our thanks to All Things Tech for the excellent video review.
Echo Spot Features
OK, so in the battle of Echo Show vs Echo Spot, the Echo Spot supports all of the functional features mentioned above for the Show, albeit on a smaller screen with lower resolution. In addition, the Spot doesn’t sound anywhere near as nice as the Show, because it includes Amazon’s first-generation audio technology. [As a tip, if you elevate the Spot using a stand, it sounds much better. You can read my epic article about some great stands here.]
However, you still get all of the benefits of Alexa and you can pair it with other Echo devices to turn on your lights, show baby monitors and front door cameras, and lock your doors. You can also control your smart thermostats, garage doors, sprinklers, blinds, and more. Additionally, you can pair the Spot with the Show and Echo devices to play multi-room music and even set up a video intercom system.
Whereas the Show is ideal for a kitchen, the Spot is a great size for beside your bed or for a home office desk.
The Verge calls the Spot a smaller, cuter, less expensive version of the Show. Here is their video review:
Our Pick: The 2nd Generation Echo Show
You’re going to make us pick, aren’t you? LOL. Well then, it’s probably no surprise that we like the Echo Show better. It includes all of the latest generation technology from Amazon, whereas the new Spot does not. That said, the Spot is less money and it is more ideal for a smaller space. As we said at the outset, it really depends on what you plan to use it for.
Personally, I have my 2nd-Generation Show set up in my kitchen and the Spot beside my bed. I mostly use the spot as an alarm clock, to get news and weather in the morning, as a sound machine [nighttime sounds], to listen to music [my office is also in my bedroom], and as a digital picture frame [screensaver with pics of my kiddos]. Oh, and it makes for a nice looking clock too.
Questions and Answers
Do I need to get a separate Zigbee hub for the Echo Spot to control my smart home devices?
It depends. The Zigbee is only used to control devices that are required by the Zigbee hub. More and more, smart devices no longer require hubs to work. For example, many smart light bulbs will work without a hub. The Ambient does a great job of explaining Zigbee so we won’t get into it ad naseum here. Just make sure that if you have the Spot that you check to make sure your existing smart devices will work without a separate hub first. This it a moot point for the Show, which includes the Hub built in.
Can I watch movies on the Echo Show and Spot?
Yes and yes, but on the Spot you probably don’t want to. The screen is just too small. Movie choices are available through Amazon Prime. Some have complained about the full library not being available yet, so it’s a subset. You can also stream sports and TV shows using Hulu. For me, I tend to watch a lot of YouTube. The Echo Show’s new YouTube feature is the bizzle dizzle. For those of you who don’t speak street as fluently as me, this means that it’s great!
Can I watch YouTube videos on these devices?
Hey, I just answered that! LOL. A more complete answer is this: due to an ongoing [and childish] spat between Amazon and Google, you can’t play YouTube videos using an app. However, you can watch them using the Show’s web browser and they play just fine.
Does Alexa record all of my conversations?
No. Alexa only listens when she hears the wake word. Full conversations aren’t recorded. Only snippets of what you tell her after she wakes up. You can review and delete everything she records using the Alexa app or by logging into your Amazon prime account. We have a detailed post that explains this here.
Do the Echo Spot and Echo Show work with Hue lights?
Yes, I have Phillips Hue hub and every bulb in my apartment is a smart bulb now. I love controlling all my lights with Alexa.
Do the Echo Spot and Echo Show work with the Ring video doorbell?
Yes, they both work great with Ring. It’s fun to be able to see who’s at your front door on the Show and Spot. Ding dong.
Echo Show vs Echo Spot – Your Take
So what do you think of the Echo Show vs the Echo Spot? Which is your favorite smart speaker with a screen?
Do you prefer the larger screen? Or the cuter little guy? Do you plan to purchase one of these devices?
Or maybe you already own one? If so, how do you like it?
Either way, please leave a comment below and let us know.
We would love your feedback.
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About the Author
Tim Brennan, Technical Writer & Blogger
Tim Brennan [a.k.a. "Tec Timmy"] is a senior technical writer with over 20 years of experience writing for companies and organizations in and around Greater Boston, including GE and MIT. In addition to actively writing for this smart home blog, Tim is also a regular contributor over at UniversalRemoteReviews.com. Tim holds a BA in Journalism from Northeastern University. Brennan is a father to two sons, an active blogger, a Star Wars nut, and loves a good taco🌮. There is a strong chance he is developing a crush on Amazon Alexa. You can learn more about Tim here.