The Echo Show 15, Amazon’s newest Alexa device, is big and beautiful but not brainy enough – The Verge
The original idea for Amazon’s Echo Show was a large, screen-based device that would offer up relevant, glanceable information for the modern family, replacing outdated devices like bulletin boards, paper calendars, and sticky notes on the fridge. In 2017, Amazon couldn’t quite achieve that vision for a price that a modern family would be willing to pay. So, instead, it released a small, squat seven-inch touchscreen smart speaker that, frankly, did little more than Amazon’s screen-less Echos.
But it was a start. And as the Echo Show has evolved over the ensuing four years, the company finally has a device that it thinks fits that original vision: the Echo Show 15.
- Solid hardware
- Very easy to wall mount
- Big, bright screen
- Picture-in-picture function is useful
- HD streaming makes for a decent kitchen TV
- Poor camera quality (especially considering the price)
- Snappier than other Shows but still slow
- Visual ID is inconsistent
- Limited customization options
- Too few widgets
The $249.99 Echo Show 15 is billed as a shared hub for families to see things like upcoming calendar appointments, to-dos, digital sticky note reminders, and shopping lists. It’s also an excellent kitchen TV (not a high bar, to be fair). Of course, it does everything other Echo displays and speakers do, thanks to the presence of Amazon’s smart voice assistant, Alexa. This includes playing music, showing weather reports, streaming video, controlling smart home gadgets, telling fart jokes, all the stuff you’ve come to rely on Alexa for.
A very solid piece of hardware, the Echo Show 15 is a stunning device. It looks impressive on your wall when called into action, and otherwise blends into the background as a digital photo frame displaying art or family photos. It fills a niche that no device has reliably conquered to date: a wall-mounted tablet to replace the plethora of analog paper tools busy households traditionally rely on to communicate with each other. You can use it on your countertop with an optional stand if you can find the room — at 15.8 x 9.9 x 1.4 inches, this thing is huge — but the wall is the better option.
The concept is good. But the execution is underwhelming. As is a theme with Amazon devices, on day one there is plenty of room for improvement on the software front. There’s a lot crammed onto this admittedly large screen, but ultimately while the Echo Show 15 tries to be something for everyone, it ends up struggling to be particularly useful for anyone.
The Echo Show 15 can be mounted on the wall or on a counter (with an additional stand) in either portrait or landscape.
Photo by Dan Seifert / The Verge
In terms of specs, the Echo Show 15 is a 15.6-inch screen with a 1080p touch display, with the processing power of the new Amazon AZ2 neural edge processor behind it — the first Show to use Amazon’s latest chip. It has a new homescreen layout that divides its time between the standard rotating Echo …….