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These inexpensive wall clocks fix your Amazon Echo's biggest shortcoming

If you own just one Echo smart speaker, it’s almost certainly located in your kitchen. Even if you don’t use it to catch up on the news, listen to music, or play along with Jeopardy while you cook or put away dishes, you probably at least use it to set hands-free kitchen timers.

But while audio-only Echo speakers can tell you how long is left on your timer when you explicitly ask, they lack the kind of quick, visual reference that can come in handy when you’re trying to juggle multiple kitchen tasks at once. Yes, Amazon sells Echo devices with screens that can show you how much time is left on your timer, but they can be costly, and not everybody wants a camera in their kitchen. But Amazon does have a much more elegant solution to this problem: its line of Echo Wall Clocks.

Originally released in late 2018, and recently expanded to include new models designed in collaboration with Citizen and Disney, every Echo Wall Clock is, well, a wall clock. But one with an array of 60 LED lights along the outer edge, and a Bluetooth connection to your nearest Echo smart speaker (though no speaker or microphones of its own). Once you pair the clock to an Echo and use your voice to set a timer, an LED will light up on the outer ring corresponding to the number of minutes left, and will tick down a minute at a time until it’s time to take your cookies out of the oven. Just hang it somewhere in your kitchen like you would any other clock, and you’ll always be able to check on your timers at a glance.

The smart clock benefits don't stop there: the clock will automatically adjust for daylight saving time, it'll always keep perfect time thanks to its internet conneciton, and the hands will even spin themselves into position after you put in a fresh set of four AA batteries (a tip: buy some rechargeables). It looks like something out of Harry Potter.

The original Echo Wall Clock is a no-brainer purchase at just $30, but if I have one complaint, it’s that it’s not exactly a statement piece of decor. The whole thing is made of fairly cheap-looking plastic, and the clock face doesn’t have a cover, be it glass or even plastic. Luckily, two new models from Citizen were just released: a steel-rimmed version for $80 (down to $64 as of the time of this writing), and a wood-accented one for $100. Or if you’re feeling whimsical, you can even get an iconic Mickey Mouse clock for $50.


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