The Amazon Echo Show was refreshed last year in 2018 and with the launch of this smart speaker, a new niche of speakers with a screen and a bunch of other sensors were introduced. The new display on the 2018 refresh brings a lot of improvements that make the Echo Show a perfect smart home speaker/hub for your home. The display adds an extra layer of visual information about what you ask Alexa to do for you.
In this post, we will look at more such features that make the Amazon Echo Show so great. We will also take a detailed look at some of the commands and the way things work with this device. Before all that, we need to know what the Echo Show exactly is.
What is the Echo Show?
In simple words, the Amazon Echo Show is basically a smart speaker or a smart home hub powered by Amazon’s digital assistant Alexa. It works similarly to how an Amazon Echo works but since you have a 10.1-inch HD display, you have an extra layer for information which is represented visually.
The new Amazon Echo Show also has dual 2-inch speaker drivers supported by Dolby software. These drivers are supported by a Bass Radiator on the rear. This speaker setup helps to distribute the sound from the speakers in all directions.
The Echo Show also has eight new microphones so you can expect the voice and command recognition to be miles better than the first version. The front-facing camera can be easily used for video calls but it can also take photos if you’re curious.
Design & Build
The design of the new Amazon Echo Show was definitely refreshed with a bigger display and many other things. In the front/face of the smart speaker, you have a 10.1-inch display. There are bezels around the display but the device has been built around the screen so the design looks way more elegant as compared to the last version.
The camera is situated on top of the display and is surrounded by two far-field mics both on its left and right side. Total of four mics are in the front around the camera and the rest four microphones are on top of the speaker. The physical buttons are also located on top of the smart speaker and the button to mute the microphones glows when the mics are muted.
The speakers on this thing are situated on both sides of the device and the Echo Show also has a passive Bass driver. The back of the Echo Show has a Kensington lock to secure the device and there’s also an inlet for power through AC wall adapter.
Display & Cameras
Talking about the display, the 720p display looks really great in the 10.1-inch form factor. Not only is it crisp but it is a great display to watch content on. The display’s brightness can go up to 450 nits and as per Amazon, the display is suitable when multiple people are watching something on the Echo Show.
Coming to the camera, the main front-facing camera on this thing s a 5 MP unit and it is the same camera that was present on the first generation Echo Show but Amazon has paired a better lens with this camera on the 2nd generation Echo Show. You can use this camera to make video calls using Alexa or using an app such as Skype. This can be done using simple commands such as Alexa, call Dad on Skype.
Microphones & Audio
Since this is a smart speaker, the proper assessment of the audio capabilities of this thing is also necessary. As mentioned above, this device has eight far-field microphones for audio input. These microphones are strong enough to pick your command even if you’re speaking from the other side of the room at a normal volume of your voice. This is impressive since, in a house, there can be a lot of noise-generating things including appliances and even humans.
Coming to the speakers, you have a 2-inch Dual Driver set up on the left and right sides of the device. The device also gets a passive Bass driver and all this is powered by a new Class D amplifier in the Echo Show. This new set up has changed from the first version of the device where there was a speaker set up that fired downwards under the device. Amazon has also worked with Dolby to bring a better audio performance to the device and the Amazon Echo Show is definitely one of the best sounding smart speakers out there.
Video Calls on Echo Show – The Experience
The video call on an Amazon Echo Show is basically just like video calls on any tablet or a smartphone. The difference here is the easiness of calling someone with a command. You can just say something like – Alexa, call Dad. The Echo Show will immediately call the contact on their Echo Show if they do have one.
You just have to say Answer or Decline for incoming calls and the calls will be accepted or rejected based on this command. While making the call, you can say video off and the video from the camera won’t be sent to the person on the other side. Since this is a stationary device, you have to place the Echo Show at a place such as a living room or a kitchen for the best possible use.
This device also has a very interesting feature known as Drop In. Drop In works just like a video call but it doesn’t need an accepting option before the call is connected. Of course, this feature was meant to be used with someone who is very close to you and it is definitely very private. Anyone who can Drop In on you will be able to connect to your Echo Show from their same device at any time. The first 10 seconds of the video call is blurred so you won’t be caught off guard. The feature is disabled out of the box but you can choose to enable it if you’re comfortable giving someone access to drop in on you at any time they want.
Drop In is disabled by default, and you have to choose who – if anyone – you want to be able to drop in on you. If you have multiple Echo Show devices, you can also choose which ones are allowed to be dropped in on and which aren’t.
Apart from video calling, the Amazon Echo Show comes with a lot of different features that can be really useful. The display has added all kinds of possibilities to the Amazon Echo Show smart speaker and let’s see what features are present on the device.
Scan to Order
The front camera on the Amazon Echo Show can easily scan the barcodes and QR codes on food items which you can scan by using the command, “Alexa, scan” and the item will be recognized and the Echo Show will show you more details about the scanned product on the display. You can alternatively use the buy commands to buy something directly from Amazon.
On Demand Services Support – Prime Video, Spotify etc.
Since the Echo Show has a display, you can use it to watch content directly from services such as Prime Video, YouTube and more. You also have access to music services such as Apple Music, Spotify and more. You can also stream content from services like NBC, Hulu, CNN and more.
Browse the Internet
The Echo Show comes with the Amazon Silk browser which is a browser for Amazon’s own hardware devices and can also be found on devices such as the Fire TV. You can browse YouTube using this browser and you can also play videos from the website.
Make lists & Remember things
You can quickly ask Alexa to remind you about something or to make lists for anything. You can install the Echo Show in your kitchen and look at recipes right while you cook. You can create lists about something you want from the market or maybe its something that you want to be reminded of.
Smart Home Controls
Since this is an Alexa powered device, the Echo Show can easily control your smart home. Things like turning on appliances or changing the lights, these things can be easily commanded through the smart speaker. The Echo Show also officially supports Amazon’s Ring home security devices so you have seamless integration with your home security as well.
You can also control smart bulbs from companies such as Philips Hue or Xiaomi Yee Light using your commands to do things like dimming the lights or to change color if you use RGB LED bulbs/strips.
The new Amazon Echo Show is a great smart speaker for your home if a smart home is something that you’re working towards. This device can not only become a great control point for all your smart home connected devices, but you can also use it as your assistant in the kitchen or at work. From ordering things to consuming media, you can do it all on this smart speaker with a display. The display on this thing itself makes it a great device to have since the amount of information you can get with the addition of the display can change the way you use the smart speaker.