Amazon Echo Show 15 review: Is all that screen space worth it for $249.99?
Amazon's latest Echo device isn't designed to blend in with your surroundings. In fact, it's expected to be a center of attention.
The Echo Show 15, available now for $249.99, is the tech giant's latest Alexa-enabled smart device, with features found on its vast line of smart speakers.
Only this Echo has a touchscreen. But not just any kind of touchscreen. It's 15.6 inches, which means it commands a notable presence in your home.
I've been trying out the Echo Show 15 for a couple of weeks now, and the family-friendly Echo shows signs of potential as a central hub for staying organized and entertained.
The Echo Show 15 isn't a simple plug-and-use device. Owners can either mount it to a wall or place it on a counter with a stand. The Show can be displayed horizontally or vertically depending on preference.
I chose a kitchen countertop as the destination for a test Echo Show 15 sent by Amazon. Once it's in place and plugged in, setup is straightforward.
New to the Echo Show line is visual ID, which works like Face ID on the iPhone. After the device learns your face using a built-in camera, it will automatically turn on when you walk past.
Users can also add widgets to help personalize the experience. They include weather, calendars, fun sticky notes for leaving reminders, and news. Combined with visual ID, when the Echo Show recognizes a user, it will pull up their personal layout of widgets and information.
If you're worried about privacy, the device has a shutter to cover the camera and the option to mute the microphone.
Where the Echo Show is exciting is its mix of smart voice tools using Alexa and the bulletin board style display it commands. It's the ideal device for a household seeking to better organize. Kids have a doctor appointment? Add it to the calendar. Need to pick up eggs at the grocery store? Drop it on the shopping list. Kids need reminders on homework? Tack on a digital sticky note.
It also controls your smart home, so if you're invested in Ring cameras, smart plugs or other devices, you can connect and control those here, too.
And it connects with other Echo devices in the home to utilize features such as intercom and voice chat.
I found Echo Show 15 had other valuable functionality as well. Washing dishes isn't as boring when I do it while streaming Netflix from the Show. When I needed to look up a smoothie recipe, I just pulled it up on the built-in web browser and followed along on that easy-to-read big screen.
However, I wish Echo Show was capable of more through its touchscreen. A lot of its functionality is centered around Alexa, and it feels like a waste not to feature any type of apps from the Amazon app store.
But if you're willing to make Alexa the star of your smart home future, the Echo Show 15 is a solid first step.
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