Amazon have announced the latest addition to the Echo family – the Echo Show.
If you didn’t know alredy, the Amazon Echo (original) connects to the internet and, with the help of Alexa (the online assistant), gives answers to any questions you might have, plays music you request or even helps control your smart home (lighting, temperature control etc).
With its touchscreen, the Echo Show takes the Echo product range to the next level, making it more interactive and able to answer your questions in more detail with the screen (audio is still very much included!).
The screen also gives the option to view online video content and cameras from around your own home.
Ok, so let’s look at those features in more detail…
Amazon Echo Show Features
7 Inch Touchscreen
Echo has gone visual. The Echo Show has a 7-inch screen, which can be used to view various types of content. The screen is also ‘touchscreen’, bringing in another dimension of interactivity.
Why would a screen be useful? Well, you can ask Alexa to show YouTube videos, Amazon Video content, movie trailers and more. You can also view weather reports, and the contents of your calendar.
What’s really exciting, is that the Echo Show connects into your smart home. So it’s possible to stream cameras from around the home. Useful if you want to check up on how the kids are sleeping or if you want to see who is at the door.
Video Calling & 'Drop In'
Call friends or family hands-free.
You can engage in video calls with others who have compatible devices (Echo show or Alexa App). There’s also the new ‘Drop In’ feature, that lets those closest to you get access straight to you, rather than trying to call you and waiting for you to pick up.
There’s a frosted view for the first 10 seconds of the call, giving you the chance to reject the call if you so wish.
The Drop In feature might seem a little too intrusive for some of you. To ease your mind, you can choose who to put on the ‘white list’. Or just not allow anyone direct access at all.
The Echo is great for gathering info. The only drawback is the lack of visuals. The screen helps get you answers a little quicker and with more detail.
For example, you can ask Alexa to:
“Play the latest movie trailers”
“Show me a vegetable soup recipe”
“What’s the weather for tomorrow?”
“Play me the latest news report”
The addition of the screen really helps to answer the requests to the max.
When you ask Alexa to play your favorite songs, its speakers (powered by Dolby) help to play clear vocals, and decent quality music.
With its 8 microphones, Alexa is always available (you can manually turn the microphones off if you wish).
Don’t worry if you already have an Echo or Echo Dot in the house. The Echo Show will work alongside the others. The nearest device to your voice is the one that will respond.
Smart Home Control
If you have any kind of a smart home setup, you’ll be glad to hear that the Echo Show can integrate with it.
We’ve already touched on the video streaming capabilities, but you can also control the lights, temperature of the room and the garage door.
It’s nice to be able to darken the lights down and flick up the thermostat a couple of degrees before settling down to watch your favorite show, without having to lift a finger.
Just like the Echo, you can use Alexa Skills to enable your Echo Show to take on more and more tasks.
There are thousands of these free skills available and there are more becoming available all the time.
Skills can range from anything from finding the phone you lost, to playing the latest TED talk.
Just like ‘Number 5’ from the movie Short Circuit (remember that?!): The more you talk with Alexa, the more she learns. She’ll learn more vocabulary, no matter what accent you have.
Echo Show Technical Specs
- 7 inch touchscreen
- 5MP camera
- 802.11a/b/g/n Dual Band wifi
- Size: 7.4” x 7.4” x 3.5”
So there you have it. With visuals, the Echo Show takes the Echo range to the next level.
The big question is....do you actually need one?
If you already have an Echo or Echo Dot, enjoy how they work, and think that the visual aspect will improve value even more, then the Show could be worth a look (no pun intended). This is especially the case if you are in a bigger home and could use a second Echo…that way your existing Echo won’t go to waste.
If you’re in a smaller place, and you’re already really happy with your Echo, then it might be a tougher call.
If you don’t have an Echo, then the Show could be well worth a look!
Have you ordered the Echo Show? Do you have any Echo products? Tell us what do you think about them below...