Echo Glow Review: Colorful, but Not Smart Enough
- - Works great as a night light/"okay to wake" clock
- - Pretty colors
- - Fairly inexpensive
- - No built-in speaker/mic
- - Not wireless
- - Lacking "smart" features
The Echo Glow ($30) is marketed as a “smart lamp” for kids. My three young kids and I set out to see how brightly this new addition to the Amazon devices family really shines.
So…what is it?
The Glow is a small (about the size of a large grapefruit?) color-changing lamp that you can control with any Amazon Echo device. It does not have a speaker or microphone, so you can’t talk directly to it. Basically, you need to have an Echo Speaker, Echo Dot or Echo Show in the same room, and with that you can ask Alexa to “turn on Glow”, “turn Glow to purple”, or whatever else you would like it to do.
Also note that it’s not wireless. The Glow needs to be plugged into the wall, just like in the “olden days” as my kids like to put it.
What does it do?
Well, mostly the Glow just glows! You can tell it to glow a specific color, or you can tap the top of it to make it cycle through all the colors. It also has a couple preset light programs you can ask Alexa to start: “campfire” (flickering red/orange/yellow) and “color flow” (rainbow).
You can also set a light schedule/routine using the Alexa app. Here’s where this device makes a lot of sense for kids! The Glow can essentially work as an “okay to wake” clock (super popular right now). For our kids, we scheduled the Glow to turn green (the signal that it’s okay to get out of bed/come downstairs) at 7AM on weekdays and at 8AM on the weekend. We also scheduled a “sunset” each evening and a “sunrise” each morning, mostly just for fun.
Within the app you can also adjust the brightness/dimness of the light (helpful if you’re using this as a night light).
Does it work?
So far, we haven’t had any major issues with it. The Glow is smaller than I would have expected–more of a night light size than a lamp, but the light it produces is fairly bright. The colors are pretty. Honestly, there’s not that much to “do” with the Glow, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing (as long as you know this when you buy it!).
Should you get one?
If you’re in the market for a nice night light/okay to wake clock for the kids’ room anyway, then yes, I think you’ll be pleased with the Glow. For comparison, the two most popular similar options run about the same price or more (the LittleHippo Mella Ready to Rise Children’s Trainer is $50 and the original Mirari OK to Wake! Alarm Clock & Night Light is $28).
If you are expecting a true “smart lamp”, however, you may be disappointed. The Glow could really benefit from having its own speaker/mic, and could also really use a wireless upgrade (this is not, in fact, the olden days, Amazon!).
The Glow glows, but a few more lumens are needed to really make it shine.