Home Automation

Amazon Echo Show Review – Does the New Echo Show Deliver?

(Last Updated On: May 15, 2017)

Amazon has come a long way from being just an online retailer selling books to being a one-stop shop for just about everything.  Amazon also became known as a cloud service provider and a manufacturer of groundbreaking electronics such as the Amazon Echo and Amazon Dot.  Now, the retailing giant has unveiled its first device that comes with a screen, which it calls the Amazon Echo Show.

Amazon Echo Show: What’s in store for you

The Amazon Echo Show is slated for release on June 28, 2017, but what can you expect when you finally get your hands on this device?  Think of it as a device very much similar to Amazon Echo, but instead of telling you things, it shows you things.  Instead of having Alexa read you the news, you can watch the newscast.  With Amazon Echo Show, you can sing along your favorite songs because the lyrics are displayed on the screen.

It can also double as a security camera and can take photos, get weather forecasts, and even update your shopping list for you.  You can also start a video call with friends who have the Alexa app or another Amazon Echo show device, or you can just make a voice call to people who have the Amazon Echo or Amazon Echo Dot.

And you get all these just by asking.

It will cost you $230 for one unit as of this writing (of course, check this listing for the latest up to date pricing).  It is essentially a device that brings together Amazon Alexa technology, a screen, speakers, and a Web camera.

 

 

Major features of Amazon Echo Show

What are the main features and functionalities of Amazon Echo Show?

Touch screen

The Amazon Echo Show has a seven-inch touch screen.  The company has so far been silent about the screen resolution, though.  The touch screen can display information for you.  You can set it up to cycle through the weather forecast, your day’s schedule, stock quotes, and other visual content.  You can also ask Echo Show to show you a briefing from Bloomberg or CNN.  Or ask Alexa to show you the trailer of the latest Marvel superhero movie, or how-to-cook videos on YouTube.

Dolby speakers

Underneath the huge screen, you would see the speakers.  These Dolby speakers can deliver crisp sound and audio with dynamic bass.  You can stream music from Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, and IHeartRadio.  Also, Echo Show has Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to stream music from your tablet or smartphone.

Far-field voice recognition

The Amazon Echo Show has eight microphones that are all equipped with noise cancellation and beam-forming technology.  Beam-forming technology enables these microphones to hear you no matter where you are in the house, even when there is music being played in the background.  That means you can be far from the Echo Show device or you can be in a room that is noisy, but it can still pick up the wake word, “Alexa,” and give you what you want without requiring you to wait or repeat yourself.  If you have two or more Amazon Alexa devices in the house, such as two Amazon Echo Shows, or an Amazon Echo and an Amazon Echo show, the device that is closest to you will be the one to pick up your voice command.

Smart home integration

Amazon Echo Show shines when it comes to working with other smart devices.  You can use it to see what’s happening in your baby’s nursery, or to turn on the lights without getting up from the couch.  You do not even have to lift a finger to adjust your thermostat.  You can just tell Alexa what to do and consider it done.  Amazon Echo Show has an impressive list of home automation platforms that it can connect to as well as connected devices that it can control.

These include:

Amazon Echo Show also works with hubs and home automation platforms such as Wemo, Samsung SmartThings, and Wink.

Powered by Amazon Alexa

Amazon’s Alexa technology is hosted in the cloud and receives continuous improvements.  With frequent use, Alexa will learn your speech patterns, the way you talk, your vocabulary, and even your preferences.  Alexa also enjoys automatic updates delivered over the air.  Plus, you have an ever-growing list of skills that expand the functionality of your Amazon Echo Show, including ordering a pizza, getting an Uber, reserving a table at your favorite restaurants, or trying out a new recipe.

What’s in the box

Each Amazon Echo Show box will contain:

  • Amazon Echo Show
  • 6 feet power adapter/cable
  • Things to Try card
  • Quick start guide

Quick specifications

Dimensions (inches) 7.4 x 7.4 x 3.5
Weight (grams) 1,170
Available colors White and Black
Display 7 inches
Touch screen Yes
Wi-Fi     Dual-band: 802.11 a/b/g/n networks, works on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies
Audio Two 2-inch stereo speakers
Processor Intel Atom x5-Z8350 processor
Warranty 1-year limited warranty and service warranty

Pros of the Amazon Echo Show

  • Good Product Improvement: If you love your Amazon Echo, Amazon Dot, or any other Amazon Alexa-powered products, then you would certainly love Amazon Echo Show as it improves on the technology that is already used in these products.  You can issue voice commands to operate the connected devices and there are simply a lot of things it can do.  It uses the same technologies that you find on earlier Alexa products such as far-field recognition and noise cancellation, but more hardware are added.
  • More Hardware: By more hardware, we mean the obvious addition of the seven-inch display as well as the change in form.  Compared with the Amazon Echo, the Amazon Echo Show is much more stable and less likely to topple over.  You also have an extra microphone, with Echo Show having eight microphones, as opposed to Amazon Echo’s seven.
  • Display = Game Changer: Having the display screen certainly puts the Echo Show in another level; you now have a highly visual experience with Amazon Alexa.  You can now see the weather report and watch newscasts instead of just listening to the reports being read to you.  This is certainly a huge improvement for those who prefer a more visual experience and more especially for those who are hearing-impaired.

What could be Better and/or Added

  • Does Not Work with Ad Hoc WiFi: Amazon Echo Show does not work with ad hoc Wi-Fi networks, which means that it cannot connect to Wi-Fi connections created by other devices such as your smartphone or laptop.  It can, however, connect to your router with no problem.  This means that the Amazon Echo Show is pretty much limited to your home or office where it can get Internet connectivity from a router or from any single access point that it can connect to.  Not being able to connect to peer-to-peer or ad hoc Wi-Fi networks also means that your Amazon Echo Show would not be able to connect easily to other devices.  This means that in order to control a connected device, Amazon Echo Show and the other device would need to connect to a router first before being able to talk to one another.
  • Requires Bluetooth: It is for this reason that Amazon Echo Show needs Bluetooth to stream audio and music from your mobile device.  While most smart phones now have Bluetooth connectivity, it can put a strain on your battery juice if Bluetooth is kept on.  Furthermore, the Bluetooth found on Amazon Echo Show is only used for audio streaming.  Lastly, Bluetooth speakers that require a PIN or password are not supported to work with Echo Show.
  • Better camera?  One of the differentiating factors of the Amazon Echo Show from earlier Amazon Alexa-powered products is the video conferencing feature.  The Echo Show only has a five-megapixel front facing camera, putting it at par with smartphones that came out three years ago, such as the iPhone 6s.  The camera definitely pales in comparison to the 7-megapixel front facing camera you see on iPhone 7s.  There are no other cameras on the Echo Show.
  • Large footprint: The base of the Amazon Echo Show measures 4.5 inches by 3.5 inches, effectively covering an area of more than 15 square inches.  Compared to the Amazon Echo, which has a diameter of only 3.3 inches, the Echo Show is more stable.

Amazon Echo Show: Is it worth the wait and, eventually, the purchase?

If you think about it, there is nothing much that the Amazon Echo Show offers that other devices do not.

Worth the Price? If you want to control your smart home devices using your voice, then you can save money buying the Amazon Tap for only $129.99 as of this writing, the Amazon Echo Dot for $49.99 as of this writing, or even the Amazon Echo for $149.99 as of this writing.  As for the calling, video conferencing, and video streaming features, that is something that you can do on your smartphone or tablet right now.

Also, the Amazon Echo Show does not try to be the killer device that does everything its competitors are doing.  For instance, while it has a front facing camera and a big screen, it cannot replace your security camera.  Nor is it portable for use outside the home.

Instead, the Amazon Echo Show ties in all your connected devices, including your current Alexa-powered products.  It is quite possible that Amazon is positioning the Echo Show to be the centerpiece in your smart home.  For larger homes, you can have the Echo Show in the living room, for example, or in your home office, and then just use the more affordable Echo, Tap or Dot for the other rooms.

Even if the Echo Show is your first Alexa-powered product, it will certainly not disappoint as it does everything that Amazon Echo and earlier products do.

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Amazon Echo Show
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About the author

Patrick Sinclair

Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn't have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!

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