Get It For: Rs 12,999
If you’ve used any Amazon Echo before, the basics stay the same: it’s a voice-first, voice-activated speaker that can answer your questions, control smart home devices, set timers, tell you jokes, keep you updated on the weather and so on.
It’s compatible with thousands of ‘skills’ from Amazon – skills are capabilities you can add to the speaker. For instance, you could add the Uber skill and use your voice to book a cab, or add the Zomato skill and use voice to find out about a restaurant, book a table or order food online.
Obviously, this Echo has a screen. It’s a small, circular colour touchscreen and it adds a few very interesting use cases.
Firstly, it does show you the time and you can configure many different kinds of watch faces (including your own photos). Ask for weather and you can see a forecast. News can show you video clips, songs can display lyrics, internet search results are more visual and you can browse products from Amazon’s mammoth shopping catalogue. Ask for a movie or TV show from Amazon’s Prime video selection and you can watch it on the Echo too – yes, the entire movie or TV show!
Though we’re sure the number of people who actually want to watch an entire movie on a 2.5-inch screen will be an overwhelming minority. But hey, it can tell you what’s playing in the theatres and show you movie trailers.
There’s one more killer feature – it’s a fantastic, hassle-free video conference machine. A front camera lets you make clear video calls to other Echo Spots or to someone who has the Alexa app on their smartphone.
You can also enable a feature called Drop-in that lets you (the owner) connect and view the live feed from the video camera when you’re away. The sound is better than the tiny Echo Dot but you can still output to another speaker using 3.5mm line out or Bluetooth. At it’s most basic, this is the smartest bedside or desktop clock we’ve ever seen.