Amazon Echo Show review: intelligent orator with a shade has good …

November 25, 2017 - photo frame

The Amazon Echo Show takes a Alexa voice partner and squeezes it into a cranky between a digital print frame, tiny TV and intelligent orator for something that’s some-more than only an engaging novelty.

What is it?

The Echo Show is effectively what we get if we took an Alexa-integrated Fire tablet, put a absolute orator on a bottom and framed it with silken black plastic. The outcome is a rather monolithic look.

For such a tiny thing it looks sincerely imposing, and has separate opinion of visitors to my residence 50:50 on possibly it’s attractive, though placed in a dilemma or on a shelf, it can simply mix in with a surroundings. In fact, when it’s not actively doing something, a Echo Show can work like a smart, internet-connected chronicle of those digital print frames that fast went out of fashion.

You can collect from a rotating catalog of Amazon’s images, a singular print or a whole manuscript of photos from your Amazon Photos library to uncover on a 7in touchscreen. we was astounded by how good it was to have a rotating preference of choice memories on arrangement – we wouldn’t have bought a digital print support to do a job, though a multi-purpose device seems easier to justify.

The time and a array of cards arrangement latest headlines, calendar appointments and other customisable pieces and pieces are displayed over a tip of a image, and suggestions of what we can ask Alexa. Having a time constantly manifest is great, though we wish we could mislay a “Try Alexa …” suggestions.

The at-a-glance information is handy, quite if we have your calendar bending adult to your Alexa account, and formatted to be entertaining from opposite a room. You can spin off a shade manually, only by asking, or holding a tongue-tied symbol on a tip for a few seconds to spin a device off completely. The shade will automatically low when it doesn’t detect your participation or isn’t on a set schedule.

Setting it up

The buttons and mic array on a tip of a Echo Show. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for a Guardian

Most Echo inclination are set adult by a Alexa app on Android, iOS or browser, though a Echo Show’s shade means we can do all a wifi and comment set adult on a device itself. Put a energy wire in a behind and simply follow a on-screen instructions. The touchscreen typing knowledge was surprisingly solid, definition a Show took a tiny over 5 mins to get all set adult and watch a useful rudimentary video that runs we by a basis of regulating it.

All a settings, liughtness controls and other pieces can possibly be accessed by seeking Alexa for a settings or swiping down from a top. Along a tip of a Show are a quarrel of buttons. The tongue-tied button, that turns off a microphones and a camera, is on a left and volume controls are on a right. Surrounding a buttons are a holes for a mic array, that like other Echo devices, hears we over flattering many anything, even when a Show is blustering out music.

What does it do?

‘Alexa, what’s a continue like in Kings Cross?’ Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for a Guardian

The Show does all you’d design of an Alexa intelligent speaker, from responding questions to determining smarthome appliances, giving we a continue or a latest news. The turn is that many things come with some visible information.

For instance, if we ask Alexa for your peep briefing, if your selected news source has video it’ll uncover we video instead of only audio. BBC News, for instance, pops adult with an hour-applicable refurbish taken from a BBC News channel or similar. It’s played in such a approach we don’t need to demeanour during a shade to get a gist, though it’s some-more engaging if we do.

Information cards are also displayed for certain questions, such as a weather, that give serve at-a-glance information. My favourite is a arrangement of a list of timers we now have on a go, that creates it useful in a kitchen.

‘Alexa, uncover me my timers.’ Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for a Guardian

The shade also enables one of a things that I’ve been yearning for ever given installing intelligent cameras in my home. With a Ring Video Doorbell 2 bending up, we can simply ask “Alexa, uncover me a front door” to see a feed, that is a lot quicker and easier than digging out my phone.

Another good instance is a playback of music. It works only like a strange Echo, with support for a operation of song services. If we use something like Spotify, a shade shows manuscript art and play controls. If we use Amazon Music we can also get lyrics adult and other bits. It’s not necessary, though a shade adds another component to a intelligent orator experience.

There are other skills that use a shade too, and some-more are being updated to use a screen, definition a Show is one of those inclination we buy and keep anticipating new uses for.


‘It was this big, honest’ Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for a Guardian

There are a integrate of things a Echo Show can do that other Echo inclination can't for apparent reasons. The initial is video playback. Amazon Video is upheld along with YouTube, though there is no Netflix. Watching an part of a Grand Tour is as easy as seeking for it and picking a scold episode. You can control playback around a touchscreen or your voice, that is accessible when cooking. YouTube support has been ropey given Amazon and Google seemed to have a squabble in September. A browser-based complement was implemented on 21 November, that works though isn’t as good integrated as it used to be. A identical complement exists for Vimeo and Dailymotion videos too.

The Echo Show can also do video calling, possibly between Echo Show inclination within a home or to Echo Show inclination owned by others, or between a Android or iOS Alexa app and a Echo Show. It works surprisingly well, with a good video from a front-facing camera and transparent audio by a speakers. All we need to do is say, “Alexa, call [name of your hit or device]” and it fires up.


The Echo Show is a best-sounding, loudest and many approach Echo device yet. It’s dual speakers confronting brazen next a shade simply fill a room. It doesn’t have a extensive volume of bass, though is simply means to recompense for a hubbub done by all that goes with cooking with powerful, full-range sound.


The light bar glows red along with a LED during a tip of a shade to uncover that a mics are pale and a camera disabled. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for a Guardian
  • The Echo Show physique is flattering shiny
  • Alexa can’t contend “pasta” when we set a timer for a pasta, job it “paster”, though afterwards rightly calls it “pasta” when a timer goes off – weird
  • You can use it like a Bluetooth speaker
  • A frame along a tip or bottom of a shade acts like a light bar arrangement when Alexa is listening or muted


The Amazon Echo Show costs £200 (buy here) and is accessible in black or white.
For comparison, a second-generation Amazon Echo costs £90 (buy here), a Echo Plus costs £140 (buy here) and a smaller Echo Dot costs £50 (buy here). The Alexa-integrated Sonos One costs £199 (buy here), a Google Home costs £129 (buy here) and Home Mini costs £49 (buy here).


The Amazon Echo Show is a good tiny device with a lot of potential. Fitting a intelligent orator with a shade adds another dimension to a experience, enabling things such as video job and examination video – all tranquil around voice – that only wouldn’t be probable but a screen.

But during some-more than twice a cost of a glorious second-generation Echo, it’s also costly for an Echo device, and a facilities and functions that a shade adds are only that – value add-ons that aren’t required for a unchanging functions of Alexa. How many application we get out of it depends on your sold setup.

For anyone with concordant intelligent cameras in their homes, it feels like a no-brainer. Or if you’re looking for a device to facilitate a video-calling experience. The Echo Show is arguably a best intelligent cooking companion, charity visible superintendence as good as voice, and it is a best sounding Echo too.

Pros: screen, Alexa, Amazon Video, YouTube, can always hear you, Bluetooth, video calling, glorious intelligent home control, good sound

Cons: always-listening intent in your house, can activate accidentally, singular series of song and video services supported, costly compared to Echo

Spotify personification on a Echo Show. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for a Guardian

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