Tech reviews

Amazon Echo Glow review: A fun, kid-friendly smart lamp that works with Alexa


An Alexa-friendly smart lamp for kids? We’ve heard crazier ideas (Amazon’s Alexa-enabled Echo Frames and that Alexa ring leap to mind), and while the Echo Glow isn’t the most useful of Amazon’s Echo devices, it is well tailored for its target audience.

Durable enough to survive drops on the floor, this touch-sensitive globe boasts more than a dozen colors and lighting modes, along with wake-up and “rainbow” timers. Once paired with an Echo speaker, the Glow will respond to Alexa voice commands and take part in Alexa routines. Sure, it’s little more than a smart bauble for tykes, but the Echo Glow’s reasonable $30 price tag (which is sure to be slashed once the holidays arrive) puts it squarely in stocking-stuffer territory.

Design

Measuring 3.9 inches in diameter, the Echo Glow is roughly the size of a softball, save for a flat bottom that lets you sit the Glow down on a desk or a tabletop. The solid white base of the Glow extends about a third of the way up, while the rest of the globe can light up in a solid color or in a pattern of sequential hues.

The 8.6-ounce Echo Glow feels light yet sturdy enough to survive a short fall; I tried dropping it a few feet onto a tiled floor and the illuminated globe bounced and clattered around without shutting off or suffering any noticeable damage. I’m not sure it would withstand being hurled against a wall or pegged by a baseball bat, however (such are the scenarios you consider when there are second graders around).

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A five-foot-long integrated power cord terminating in a USB Type-A plug emerges from back of the Echo Glow’s base. A matching USB power adapter is included. While it’s not as obtrusive as an Echo Dot’s circular wall wart, the Glow’s power adapter is still chunky enough to graze the ground pole of an outlet that’s above it.

echo glow rear Ben Patterson/IDG

The rear of the Echo Glow features an Action button and an integrated USB power cable; an AC adapter is included.

The only physical control on the Glow is the “Action” button that sits just above the power cord. While the Action button on an Echo speaker can serve a variety of functions (such as dismissing an alarm or assisting in Wi-Fi setup), it serves only as a power on/off button on the Glow.

Setup

Getting the Echo Glow up and running is (as with most Amazon Echo devices) a snap. You just plug in its power cord, press the Action button to turn it on, and then use the Alexa mobile app to discover it and add it to your list of Echo devices.

Once you have the Echo Glow set up in the Alexa app, you can name it, add it to a room (I went ahead and added it to my daughter’s room, where she also has a Kids Edition Echo Dot and a Zigbee smart bulb). You can then use it in Alexa routines, which I’ll detail in a moment.



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