The Amazon Echo Wall Clock was among the more surprising devices that Amazon announced at their Alexa hardware event earlier this year. It’s Amazon’s second Alexa Gadget, the other being Echo Buttons, which means it needs to be paired to any Echo model for it to work. Once paired with an Echo, the Echo Wall Clock will display Alexa timers, alarms, and notifications. Here’s an overview of how it works, along with a few video demos.
The Echo Wall Clock looks like a basic analog clock. It’s 10 inches wide and made out of white plastic. There are 60 white LED lights surrounding the face of the clock and a single larger multi-color LED under the clock hands. I was surprised to find that it does not have a clear cover over the clock face, as many clocks do, but it was probably left uncovered so that the LEDs do not have anything to reflect off of.
The back of the clock is as simple as the front. It’s powered by four AA batteries and has a blue paring button. The clock does not weight any more than you’d expect a basic plastic clock to weight. There really isn’t much to say about the physical characteristics of the clock.
Included with the clock are a single Philips head screw and a drywall anchor. Also included are the four AA batteries required to power the clock. The clock uses low energy Bluetooth 4.2 to communicate with the Echo that it’s paired to, so hopefully, that means the batteries will last a while.
Once paired to an Echo device, the clock automatically sets its own time to match the time of the Echo. The time displayed on the clock will stay synced with the Echo’s time, so there is no need to adjust it for daylight savings. There is no way to manually adjust the clock and Amazon says you shouldn’t manually move the clock hands. The Echo Wall Clock does not have a seconds hand and does not have an audible ticking sound. Approximately every 10 seconds, the minute hand moves forward by a small amount in a single motion. The Echo Wall Clock will only react to timers and alarms set through the Echo that it is paired to.
When an Alexa timer is set, the number of minutes left in the timer is indicated on the clock by lighting up the corresponding LED light around the perimeter. If multiple timers are set, a light for each timer will be illuminated. For the timer that will end the soonest, the LED lights below that minute indicator are also illuminated, but at a lower brightness.
SO, for example, if a 10 minute, 20 minute, and 30 minute timer are set, the LED next to the 2, 4, and 6 will be illuminated brightly. All LEDs below the 2 will also be illuminated at a lower brightness. With each minute that passes, the illuminated LEDs will move closer to the 12 to indicate how much time is left. If a timer for more than 1 hour is set, the LED next to the 12 will illuminate.
Once there are 60 seconds left on any timer, all LEDs will illuminate and one LED will turn off every second to count off the last 60 seconds of the timer. When the timer ends, all LEDs will blink a few times and then return to their normal state. The clock does not continue to blink until you stop the timer. It only blinks a few times, regardless of when you actually stop the timer.
The Echo Wall Clock also reacts to alarms. When an Alexa alarm is set, the LEDs on the clock will sweep on once to indicate that the clock has detected the new alarm. The clock will then return to its normal state and it will not show any indication that an alarm is set. Once the alarm goes off, all LEDs on the clock will blink a few times, just as they do when a timer goes off. Just as with timers, the clock does not continue to blink while the alarm is sounding. It only blinks a few times and then stops on its own.
The final functionality of the clock is to visually alert you when an Alexa notification comes in. It does this by pulsing the larger notification LED under the clock hands yellow. The LED will only pulse yellow about 4 times before it turns off. That doesn’t seem very usefull to me, since you’d have to be next to the clock when the notification comes in for any chance to see the LED pulse. Personally, I expected the LED to remain on or continue to pulse until the notification was read.
That’s pretty much all there is to the Amazon Echo Wall Clock. It’s a simple device with a few handy Alexa functions. It doesn’t have any speakers or microphones, but that’s a good thing because those would have likely increased the $29.99 price and reduced the battery life significantly. Visually indicating timers is easily its best feature and it’s a nice one to have on an already nice automatic clock.