Amazon Echo Show review


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Erin Lawrence

amazon echo show new review, how to

By now you’re familiar with smart home speakers with voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa built in. They allow you to communicate verbally and get answers to questions, perform smart home commands, set timers and alarms, make to-do lists and a lot more. Now, smart home speakers are getting an upgrade with the addition of a screen. I had a chance to test out Amazon’s new visual digital assistant gadget, Amazon Echo Show for several weeks in my home, and here’s what I learned about the device.

What is Echo Show? What can Echo Show do?

Amazon Echo Show is a smart speaker with a 10.1″ colour 720p HD video screen. Why add a screen? It not only jazzes up the device with colourful screens, and a time and info display, but it also lets you watch videos too from places like Amazon Prime (and YouTube, though that’s not as easy as you think. More later). You can also make video calls, check your video doorbell or security cameras and watch Canadian newscasts.

Amazon Echo Show is also a powerful and higher quality speaker than a traditional Echo device. It has two 10W speakers and Dolby processing for “room-filling sound”  and dual 51mm drivers with a passive bass radiator. (Amazon Echo by comparison has a 2.5” downward-firing woofer and 0.6” tweeter powered by Dolby)

How to set up Echo Show

amazon echo show new review, how to

Setting up this device was easy and straight forward. You’ll plug it in then follow the instructions on screen that involve getting connected to your home Wi-Fi and signing in to, or creating, an Amazon account.

Once that’s done you have the ability to customize the screen to adjust what it will display.

I decided to place my Show in the kitchen so I could have smart home control at my fingertips.

Using Echo Show

So what’s it like using Amazon Echo Show on a day to day basis? I found myself using it in a few ways:

  • setting times and alarms
  • asking for a daily news briefing as I got ready in the morning
  • watching videos on Amazon Prime while cooking
  • asking Alexa for smart home control commands, like turning lights on and off

While you’ll likely have your own core ways you use it, there’s plenty of other things you can do with the Show.

What can PhotoBooth do?

PhotoBooth will take quick snapshots of you, your kids and the dog using the Show’s front facing camera. It will snap a few shots in a row, photo booth style, and then compile them together for you to share.

To access it, say ‘Alexa, take a photo’.

Watch Amazon Prime Videos

You can ask Alexa to dial up your favourite Prime Video shows, like Bosch, by saying ‘Alexa, Open prime Video.’ This lets you surf using the touch screen to see what’s there. You can also ask for a specific show, and Prime Video will dive right to it.

amazon echo show new review, how to

Using Echo Show with Ring Video Doorbell

If you’ve got a Ring Video Doorbell or Stick Up cam, you can pull up the feed just by asking. This assumes, of course, you’ve already linked your Ring account to Alexa.

If you have it’s as easy as saying, ‘Alexa, show me the front door’. If you need to get this skill connected, go to the Alexa app> Skills> and search ring. You’ll need to sign into your account to link it, but once that’s done, you’ve got a camera feed!

Making video or audio calls with Drop In

amazon echo, show, review, how to, drop in

If you have two video-enabled Amazon devices, you can make video calls using Drop In. By saying, ‘Alexa, drop in Echo Spot’, or Office, or Kitchen, or whatever you’ve called that camera, it will attempt a video call, which must be answered by someone on the other end.

If you want to phone a friend, you’ll instead use the Communicate button on the bottom bar of the Alexa app the Ring Skill with Alexa.

How to customize the screen on Echo Show

Amazon’s default backgrounds for the Show are kind of… dull. Fortunately, you can upload a photo from your phone through the Alexa app.

In the Alexa app, go to your device by selecting the Devices tab along the bottom bar. Choose your device (mine is called Kitchen) from the list, then scroll down among the settings until you see Home Screen Background. Choose this option and it should populate a list of your photos.  Choose the one you want.

To remove or change the photo, follow the same steps and you’ll see “remove’ is an option.

While this is a nice option, it appears you can only have one photo as opposed to a gallery of images. That’s kind of disappointing. Though there is apparently an option to do a slideshow of your Amazon Photos. I don’t have this set up so I didn’t try it.

On a related note, I couldn’t really see how to get more info to come up on the screen. All it would show me is two “Trending Topics” and a list of Celebrity Birthdays. No news info or anything like that. I fished around in the settings to see what else I could get but couldn’t find anything. If I do, I’ll create a separate video later on.

How to Watch YouTube on Amazon Echo Show

amazon echo, show, review, how to, drop in

If you ask Alexa to play a video on YouTube (Hey Alexa, play Foo Fighters on YouTube) she won’t. She’ll use Bing to locate your video and play it through there. To properly use YouTube you need to be a bit more direct.

There’s two ways to watch YouTube on the Echo Show. The first way is with Amazon’s Silk browser. Just say, “Alexa, open Silk” and YouTube is the top quick launch button.

You can also simply say, ‘Alexa, open YouTube’ and it will open the web version. If it’s your first time using YouTube, you’ll be presented with a choice of default browsers; Silk or Firefox, and you can choose.She’ll remember your choice on future launches.

Surf the web with Silk or Firefox browser

There’s two web browsers loaded on Show; Amazon’s proprietary Silk and the popular Firefox. You can access either one by asking Alexa to open it, then you can type or click the microphone button to dictate your search.

Use Audible for Audio Books

If you’d rather listen to a book than watch something, the Show can read audio books from it’s a bit of a process to get this all up and running, which I’ll save for a separate blog and video and blog, but it’s enough to know that once you are signed in to your Audible account you can just ask Alexa to play the title of the book and she’s all over it.

Lots of great features, some still missing

There are some cool features the Show has, but they aren’t available in Canada… yet. In the US you can scan things using the Show’s camera and order them. It doesn’t work here yet.

Allrecipes has video cooking demos, but their Skill/app doesn’t show up on the Canadian version of the app.

You can, however ask what restaurants are nearby or downtown and Alexa will give you a list.

How is Audio and Video Quality on Echo Show?

With the bigger speaker, the Show is definitely more powerful than the regular Echo device. While the Echo does have a 360 degree speaker, the Show’s speaker is rear facing, but that doesn’t seem to compromise the sound quality overall.

The bass is pretty rich on this speaker, and it’s more than loud enough for my space even at just half the volume level. The sound overall is full and rich and I’m more than happy with what I’m getting from it.

I also think the video quality is pretty great; it’s clear and easy to see and gives me everything I could want on a 10″ screen.

amazon echo, show, review, how to, drop inOverall review of Amazon Echo Show

Overall, I really enjoyed the Echo Show experience. Despite the fact there’s some features that don’t work, in this case I think the benefits more than outweigh any drawbacks.

The audio quality is excellent, as is the video quality; great for watching TV while I make dinner. I like having access to my calendar to check whats coming up for the week, and being able to get a news update in a few minutes while I get ready for work.

If you’re looking for a smart digital speaker than can do more, you’ll probably really like the Amazon Echo Show. It sells for about $299CAD from places like Best Buy and Amazon, of course.

*A note about Affiliate Links: Occasionally I will include affiliate links in my reviews. I do this partly for convenience of the reader (since I’ll almost always include a link to the company website or similar anyway) in case you want to read more or purchase but I also may get a small commission from the click, which helps me keep the blog running. If you chose to use this link I thank you greatly for supporting the blog. There’s no obligation or cost to you for using this link.

1 Comment

  1. Gurjit Singh on March 2, 2019 at 1:21 am

    Hi Erin L,

    Thanks for this useful article and review amazon echo Show.

    Thanks and Regards,

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