The $ 29.99 Amazon Echo Wall Clock is part of a new line of products called Alexa Gadgets that are controlled by Echo smart speakers. We’ve seen two others so far: Amazon’s Echo Buttons and the Big Mouth Billy Bass. These devices aren’t reasons to get an Echo. They’re for people who already have a bunch of Echos and want to make their Alexa-enabled homes even livelier. Generally, these are inexpensive novelty items; the surprising thing about the clock is that it’s actually useful. If you like to use Alexa for timers, the Echo Wall Clock lets you visually monitor countdowns. It’s a great example of how a little Alexa can make your life a bit easier.
The Echo Wall Clock is a round plastic clock that measures 10 inches in diameter. It’s elegantly designed, but cheaply made; the plastic is flimsy, it’s not water resistant, and there’s no front glass protecting the hands. It’s powered by four AA batteries, and there’s a keyhole mount on the back so you can hang it on a nail.
The clock comes with batteries, but many Amazon reviews report that those are almost drained by the time the product arrives; it should last a few months on new batteries.
Setting Up the Clock
Setup isn’t as easy as it should be, but that’s a minor quibble. Ideally, to set up the clock, you press a button on the back and tell your Echo, “Set up my Alexa wall clock.” Our Echo Dot repeatedly couldn’t find the wall clock, however, and I ended up having to set it up through the Alexa app on my phone. Even there, I had to search for it three times before I could pair with it. Once that was done, the clock stayed paired.
The clock doesn’t use up your Echo’s Bluetooth connection, so you can still use other Alexa gadgets (like the Big Mouth Billy Bass) or Bluetooth speakers. You can pair multiple clocks to one Echo, but each clock is paired
Once the clock is paired, the hands start swiveling of their own accord, finally settling after a few minutes on whatever time your Echo is set to. It’s linked to your Echo, and thus to the internet, via Bluetooth LE. It will keep the right time through that connection, and will automatically swivel back or forward for daylight savings time. The clock runs silently.
There’s a single, multicolor LED above the ‘6’ that shows the clock’s status, turning orange for pairing, red for errors, or yellow if an Echo notification arrives. It doesn’t light up to show the time, so you won’t be able to read it in the dark.
Using the Clock for Timers
The real use for the clock is with timers and alarms. Set a timer of up to 60 minutes, and the ticks around the edge of the clock light up to show the remaining minutes; for the last minute, they’ll count down second by second. At the end of the timer, or with an alarm, all of the edge ticks around the clock will pulse with light. If you set a timer for more than 60 minutes, just the top tick lights up until you hit the 60-minute point. If you set multiple timers, the shortest one counts down, and the others appear as extra-bright ticks around the edge.
An important point: You are never actually talking to the clock, and the clock doesn’t make sounds. You’re talking to your Echo, which must be within about 15 feet of the clock. Also, if you use your Echo as part of a synchronized multi-room music playback group, it won’t be able to sync timers with the clock (hopefully this is something that can be changed in a future software update).
If you’re the kind of person who keeps asking your Echo over and over again how much time is left on the pasta timer, you’ll undoubtedly find the Echo Wall Clock tremendously useful. It’s an affordable enhancement for Echo-laden homes. It’s not a reason to get your first Echo, but if you have three already, now you won’t have to ask when dinner will be ready.