Voice responses from Alexa are now enhanced with visuals and optimized for visibility across the room. Call or message your family and friends that also have an Echo or the Alexa App, get the news with a video flash briefing, see your Prime Photos, shop with your voice, see lyrics with Amazon Music, browse and listen to Audible audiobooks, and more. All you have to do is ask.
The Amazon Echo Show has eight microphones and beam-forming technology so it can hear you from across the room—even while music is playing. Echo Show is also an expertly tuned speaker that can fill any room with immersive audio powered by Dolby. When you want to use Echo Show, just say the wake word “Alexa” and Echo Show responds instantly.
The Echo Show was unveiled over a year ago and a lot has been said about its aesthetics. Most of it hasn’t been kind. Nearly everyone I’ve asked has preferred the Amazon Echo Spot.
For such a small thing it looks fairly imposing, and has split opinion of visitors to my house 50:50 on whether it’s attractive, but placed in a corner or on a shelf, it can easily blend in with the surroundings. In fact, when it’s not actively doing something, the Echo Show can operate like a smart, internet-connected version of those digital photo frames that quickly went out of fashion.
Setup up and ease of use
Most Echo devices are set up through the Alexa app on Android, iOS or browser, but the Echo Show’s screen means you can do all the wifi and account set up on the device itself. Put the power cable in the back and simply follow the on-screen instructions. The touchscreen typing experience was surprisingly solid, meaning the Show took a little over five minutes to get everything set up and watch the useful introductory video that runs you through the basics of using it.
Besides the AI element, that screen is intended for video calling other Echo Show devices or anyone with the Alexa app installed on their portable devices. The video calling feature extends to the Drop In mode, where you connect with another device without the other end having to pick up.
The most important element – voice recognition – is spot on. There are eight microphones with beam-forming technology and noise-cancellation, and they must work because Alexa never misunderstood commands or failed to hear me.
The screen does the job well. It won’t blow you away with sharpness, but it’s clear enough for its purpose and viewing angles are fine. It’s plenty bright enough, and an ambient light sensor automatically dims the screen, so it won’t keep you up at night. There’s also a manual brightness adjustment in the swipe-down settings menu.
Why buy the Amazon Echo Show?
If you want an AI assistant to help you out in the home, but you’re put off by the audio-only approach of smart speakers, then the Amazon Echo Show is the one for you.
The visual element doesn’t massively change what a smart speaker does, but it does augment the experience in a way that doesn’t feel intrusive. And it has the best audio performance of the Echo series, perhaps removing the need for a separate Bluetooth speaker.
The Amazon Echo Show is a great little device with a lot of potential. Fitting a smart speaker with a screen adds another dimension to the experience, enabling things such as video calling and watching video – all controlled via voice – that just wouldn’t be possible without a screen.
But at more than twice the price of the excellent second-generation Echo, it’s also expensive for an Echo device, and the features and functions that the screen adds are just that – value add-ons that aren’t necessary for the regular functions of Alexa. How much utility you get out of it depends on your particular setup.
- Amazon Video,
- YouTube, can always hear you,
- video calling,
- excellent smart home control,
- great sound
- Always-listening object in your house,
- Can activate accidentally,
- Limited number of music and video services supported,
- Expensive compared to Echo