Using the Echo Spot in Canada
When Amazon introduced the Echo Show last year, it introduced a new way to use Alexa with the ability to view relevant information on a touchscreen. Then in the fall, Amazon introduced the Echo Spot, which is their second Echo touchscreen device.
While the Echo Spot and Echo Show aren’t officially available in Canada, you can use the Echo Spot in Canada with little to no issues. Below we show you how.
Setting Up The Echo Spot in Canada
Setting up the Echo Spot is fairly straightforward: you first plug in your device and then you’ll be asked to connect it to Wi-Fi. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be asked to log in to your Amazon account.
The Echo Spot checks if there are any updates and downloads them while it shows you a quick introduction video. After that, your Echo Spot should be ready to go.
You’ll also be able to change the clock style on your Echo Spot in the setup process and the settings. You can choose from an analog or digital clock or your own photo.
In addition to being able to do all the things that Alexa can do via voice, the Echo Spot can show you things. Think of the Echo Spot as a mini version of the Echo Show. You can say things like, “Alexa, ask CNN for my video flash briefing.”
Just like the Echo Show, the Echo Spot can also show you video. You can say things like, “Alexa, show me videos of puppies,” and the Echo Spot will show you videos using Bing search and video from sites like Vimeo or Dailymotion.
Because of an ongoing dispute between Amazon and Google, YouTube is blocked from Amazon’s devices, so you won’t be able to watch videos on YouTube on the Echo Spot (this isn’t specific to Canada and applies to users in the U.S. as well).
You can also watch movie trailers such as one for Black Panther and if you say, “Alexa, show me the trailer for Black Panther,” the Echo Spot will show you a trailer found on IMDB (which is owned by Amazon).
If you have an Amazon.ca Prime subscription, you’ll be able to watch Prime Video content on the Echo Spot without any workarounds. All you have to do is say, “Alexa, show me my watchlist” and you’ll see whatever content is on your watchlist and you can select one and start watching it on your Echo Spot.
One limitation of the Echo Spot is that you cannot directly select titles from the Echo Spot that isn’t on your watchlist. For example, if you say, “Alexa, watch The Grand Tour”, Alexa will tell you that she can’t find it; however, if you add the show to your watchlist, you can watch it via the watchlist method described above.
Just like other Echo devices, the Echo Spot can play music from your favourite streaming service. If you’re an audiophile, it should be noted that the speakers aren’t as good compared to the Echo Show or the 2nd-Gen Echo; they are similar quality to the Echo Dot. But the good thing is that the Echo Spot has a 3.5 jack on the back, so you can hook it up to external speakers for better sound.
You can play music from Amazon Music, Spotify, iHeartRadio and TuneIn Radio as well as audiobooks from Audible. The Echo Spot also has Bluetooth built-in, so you can pair your phone or a Bluetooth speaker to the device.
Alexa, what can you do?
Alexa can do a whole lot. There are thousands of different skills available for Alexa. If you want the weather, all you have to do is say, “Alexa, what’s the weather?” and she’ll tell you it and show you on the Echo Spot’s screen, as long as you set your address in the Alexa app and changed it to Celsius.
Alexa on the Echo Spot can also control your smart home devices, such as Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings, Wemo, ecobee, Ring and more. Some of the smart home skills – such as ones for the Ring video doorbell or Arlo cameras – aren’t available on in the Canadian selection of Alexa skills, so you’ll need to access the American Alexa skills to be able to add it to your Echo Spot. If you do so, then you’ll be able to say things like, “Alexa, show me who’s at the door” and you’ll see your camera’s feed on the Echo Spot.
The Echo Spot has a front-facing camera which can be disabled in the settings and a 2.5-inch touchscreen. The camera on the Echo Spot can be used to video call your friends and family, as long as they have the Alexa app or an Echo Show or Echo Spot. The device can also be used for audio calls to your or family’s other Echo devices using the Drop-In feature.
The Echo Spot can do the standard things like setting alarms (including ones to songs), creating timers and viewing your calendar. The Echo Spot is aimed at putting the device on a bedside table and Amazon has added a night feature on the device, which automatically lowers the screen brightness between certain hours. However, the automatic timing of the night mode on the Echo Spot didn’t really work and I found that the Echo Spot was still in night mode during the day, past the hours that I set it to, which was from 10pm to 7am.
Buying the Echo Spot
In the U.S. the Echo Spot can be purchased from Amazon.com. In Canada, the Echo Spot (and Echo Show) are not officially available, but those interested in picking up the Echo Spot can buy one now from Wantboard.
The Echo Spot is available in two colours, black and white.
In summary, the Echo Spot is a great device that has the same functionality as the bigger and more expensive Echo Show but just in a smaller form factor.
Canadian Compatibility: With the exception of a couple video-specific Alexa skills, there isn’t much that Echo Spot is restricted on in Canada.
Where to Buy