Amazon’s quirky new Echo Wall Clock has arrived. While it’s primarily just a $29 analog wall clock, there’s something charming about its analog and digital balance. Echo Wall Clock doesn’t have Alexa built-in. You need a nearby Echo speaker with Alexa to use it, then it becomes a smart analog clock with a few fun and useful features despite small build quality concerns.
What’s in the Box?
Amazon ships the 10-inch Echo Wall Clock with 4 required AA batteries, a drywall screw, and an optional drywall anchor for mounting the clock to your wall. Simply take a screwdriver to the drywall screw and your wall, then hang Echo Wall Clock up like an ordinary clock. You’ll want to set Echo Wall Clock up from an Echo speaker before you hang it though.
Simple Set Up
The set up process is really fun. Amazon warns you not to manually adjust the clock hands with your hands using force. Instead, insert the 4 AA batteries in Echo Wall Clock then say “Alexa, set up my Echo Wall Clock” to a nearby Echo speaker. Amazon recommends using Echo Wall Clock within 30 feet (common Bluetooth range) of the nearby Echo speaker.
Echo’s audio instructions will tell you to press and hold the blue set up button on the back of Echo Wall Clock for about ten seconds, then the Echo Wall Clock starts paring. You can confirm that the process is working with the colored status light on the face of the clock.
Pulsing orange means in paring mode, then solid blue means paired successfully. This light is only lit when Echo Wall Clock needs to communicate a status change.
Automatic Time Setting
Now for the fun part. Echo Wall Clock sets its own time based on your location assigned in the Alexa app with your specific Echo speaker. Just sit back and watch Echo Wall Clock move the hour and minute hands to the correct time. The movement is a bit slow, but it’s neat to watch happen automatically.
That also means Echo Wall Clock should respond to daylight saving time changes automatically. No need to manually adjust the time despite it using analog clock hands. Automatic time setting is also a perk of the recently released and 9to5Toys-reviewed Alexa microwave.
No need to fiddle with Bluetooth or Wi-Fi settings manually. Echo Wall Clock pairs to a nearby Echo then benefits from your Amazon account settings already being configured in the Alexa app (and Echo speakers ship pre-loaded with your account configured when ordered from Amazon.com).
Aside from displaying and automatically adjusting the time, Echo Wall Clock’s primary feature is integration with Alexa timers. Ask Alexa on the paired Echo to set a pizza timer for 15 minutes and Echo Wall Clock will illuminate each minute mark around the dial, turning off one light as each minute expires.
When the timer reaches the final 60 seconds, each minute mark lights up with each light turning off as each second passes. When the timer is complete, Alexa will alert you on the paired Echo speaker and Echo Wall Clock will flash each light on and off for a short period before you dismiss the timer.
Alexa supports setting multiple timers at the same time too, and so does Echo Wall Clock. Ask Alexa to set a 7 minute timer, then ask Alexa to set a 10 minute timer. Echo Wall Clock will light up each minute for the 7 minute timer, skip the lights for the eighth and ninth minute marks, then light up the tenth minute mark. Each mark will react independently as the timer expires.
Echo Wall Clock does link up to a single Echo speaker at a time so timers will only display when created from the paired Echo speaker. Amazon does offer pricier Echo speakers with displays including Echo Spot and the second-generation Echo Show; timers don’t display persistently on the smaller Echo Spot, however, and I haven’t tested Echo Show.
At any rate, Echo Wall Clock cleverly adds a visual interface to Alexa’s popular timer features on Echo speakers. And when you’re not running a timer, Echo Wall Clock is just a simple analog clock that happens to adjust its own time. No mics or cameras or built-in Alexa. All the intelligence comes from the nearby Echo speaker. Echo Wall Clock is totally silent too. No ticking or alarm functionality, and all timer sounds are broadcasted from the Echo speaker.
A version that embedded Alexa might be useful too, but you’d probably need wall power versus batteries and Echo Dots are relatively inexpensive if not free with some bundles (and it’s possible to have too many Alexa targets!).
In practice, using Echo Wall Clock doesn’t require a change in behavior if you already set timers with Alexa. Just keep setting timers like you already do then benefit from the display indicator on Echo Wall Clock. I imagine this will be really useful for cooking especially.
So how does Echo Wall Clock rate as just a basic analog wall clock? The automatic time setting and adjusting is really neat, but you do need an Echo speaker to set it up so it’s a non-starter without at least an Echo Dot.
Echo Wall Clock also only has hour and minute hands. I would greatly prefer a version with a second hand as well. Others may prefer an all-black design or an aluminum finish. These are features that other similarly priced wall clocks offer.
The plastic clock face is the biggest issue with build quality though. It does show glare from nearby lights which isn’t ideal for kitchen environments, and the plastic surface appears to scuff a bit too easily.
Build quality aside, I still find Echo Wall Clock to be a really delightful product! I haven’t bothered furnishing my house with a wall clock before which is something family has commented on when visiting, but manually setting and adjusting analog clocks just doesn’t appeal to me. The limited features and low entry price for the Echo Wall Clock makes it a fun purchase though, especially if you’re already in the Echo ecosystem.
Echo Wall Clock is available for $29.99 on Amazon. Shipping dates quickly slipped past Christmas after orders started on Friday afternoon, but you can still receive before the end of the year for now. With discounts on Echo speakers for the holidays and new features like Apple Music integration, the Echo ecosystem is steadily maturing — and new and fun accessories like Echo Wall Clock make it all the more fun.