An Alexa newbie and veteran review Amazon’s Echo Show 15 – Input

January 11, 2022 by No Comments

Late last year, Amazon revealed its latest range of products with Alexa support, including its first smart robot called Astro. This review is focused on a more conventional entry in Amazon’s Echo line but not necessarily a less important one, the Echo Show 15, the company’s largest smart display, and what it suggests could be the best vision of what a smart home and life built around an Amazon ecosystem could be like.

To better understand the Alexa experience and Amazon’s new Echo Show, we’re tackling this review from two perspectives: someone new to Alexa and smart home tech in general (Ian Carlos Campbell), and someone who’s had an Echo and Alexa smart home for more than half a decade (Ray Wong). A large-format Echo Show feels like a no-brainer, but does it meaningfully improve on the Alexa experience?

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Echo newb

I wasn’t expecting to be impressed with Alexa. I’ve had more than my fair share of exposure to digital assistants. From the early days of Siri to Google’s first forays into dedicated hardware for Google Assistant, I’ve gotten comfortable with asking trillion-dollar companies to set cookie timers for me.

But beyond smart speakers, I’ve never attempted to dip my toe into the wider world of smart home tech. No smart displays, no connected lights, and nothing close to a camera that wasn’t attached to my laptop, tablet, or phone. For all of those reasons, Amazon’s Echo Show 15 ($250) and Alexa were exciting. Not only had I heard Alexa made building out a smart home easy in comparison to other options, but the Echo Show 15 fit neatly into my childhood vision of a smart home where giant touchscreen displays supply contextual information (for some reason this was always calendar events and the weather) everywhere around the house.

Amazon’s largest Echo Show is a pretty alright example of how that can work in 2021: equal parts great evidence for why Alexa is so popular, and annoying issues that shouldn’t still be around in 2021, especially for someone just starting to dabble with connected devices.

Full frame — Amazon decided the Echo Show 15 should look like a traditional picture frame, and for that I’m grateful. Not that there’s anything wrong with an alternative approach; I really enjoy the pastels, curves, and soft textures of Google’s Nest products. They’re an aesthetic all their own. But Amazon is clearly trying to have something to appeal to everyone (yes, even with that swiveling Echo Show 10) and the Show 15, as a device meant to serve multiple people in a public part of the home, works best in a familiar shape and form.

The 15.6-inch touchscreen display is plenty big and bright. There was definitely glare placing my Show 15 near a window, but nothing that rendered the display unreadable. The white border/bezel around the touchscreen and slightly raised dark black frame also help lend to the picture frame illusion. That fades some when you see how thick the Echo Show 15 is (1.4 inches), but mounted on a stand (sold separately), or on the wall (with the included wall brackets) the smart display fits in well.

On the top of the Show 15, there’s a switch to cover the 5-megapixel front-facing …….



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