Amazon’s one of a kind smart speaker, Echo Show, has been making waves in the tech industry since the beginning of this year. Initially code-named ‘KNIGHT’, the Echo Show was released in the early months of summer. We all knew Amazon’s new speaker was coming out with brand new features as always but none of us was prepared for such a major change – a built-in LCD screen!
The Echo Show took smart speakers into an entire new trajectory by being the first hybrid smart speaker with a screen. The screen isn’t the only cool thing about this device. A tiny front-faced camera sits comfortably on top of the device and now comes with the ability to video call with your loved ones.
Some critics might argue that Amazon’s Echo Show is slightly off the line as a smart ‘speaker’ but fans of the Echo line can’t be more excited. After all, we’re getting a whole range of new features in our smart home speaker.
Echo Show Review
On First Look
When it comes to the design of the Echo Show, it is completely different than the other speakers in the line. The original Echo speaker, for example, was tall, lean and cylindrical; the Amazon Tap has a similar structure and the Echo Dot is a spherical shaped device. The Echo Show, on the other hand, is rectangular and a lot more geometrical.
It’s not everyone’s favorite look but the company had to fit the 7-inch screen somewhere. The front facing camera isn’t the best in quality either but it is good enough; a 5-MP quality.
Below the LCD screen are the speakers and a microphone array to pick up voice commands. The screen itself isn’t massive especially when compared to TV-screens or even tablets but it does the job of showing a pretty good resolution video and images. The screen is highly saturated and lit brightly in the automatic mode. You can, however, turn the brightness down by putting the device on the Do Not Disturb mode.
So What Can The Screen Do Anyway?
Since the LCD screen is the most important new feature of the Echo Show, it deserves to be discussed in detail. The good part is that you can use the screen to video call your friends and family easily (Echo Show to Echo Show). However, there are a few privacy concerns associated with that. If you keep the Echo Show in your room, you might accidentally leave the camera on which could breach your bedroom privacy. A simple black duct tape can solve the problem.
The screen is used not only for video calling but it can also show song lyrics and stream videos from certain supported platforms. Netflix is not included in the list but latest news tells us that YouTube might be supported in the next big update in January 2018.
Hopefully, in the near future, we can expect the Echo Show to support other video calling platforms like Skype or Google Hangouts as well. For now, video calling is possible only between two Echo Show owners.
Also See: Echo Spot Review
Smart Features of the Echo Show
Just like any other Amazon Echo smart home speaker, the Echo Show retains its control over tons of smart features. Equipped by the company’s voice assistant Alexa, you can use the Echo Show to send messages and make calls by singing voice commands to it. Voice calling is free in the US and a few other regions but the voice quality of the call itself doesn’t impress too much.
Alexa can also update you about the breaking news as well as sport updates from your favorite sports channels. You can also ask the voice assistant to make shopping lists, remind you of important events and set alarms. Recent updates can now let users order food and hail a cab through their Echo smart devices as well.
The list of “Skills” of Alexa is innumerable. And the best part is that the voice assistant is pretty accurate. There are, however, chances of commands being misheard or misinterpreted but the far field microphones integrated in the smart home speaker are quite sensitive. They can pick up voices over ambient noise as well.
If you own smart home products supported by Alexa, you can also use the Echo Show to control your home. This includes your smart TV, your lights, locks and even your garage door.
Echo Show Review – Verdict
In the end, the final verdict on the Echo Show boils down to the speaker’s basic function – music. The Echo Show supports a number of streaming platforms like Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, Spotify and more.
Unfortunately, when it comes to speaker quality, the Echo Show didn’t win too many points with us. The sound is pretty average and with all the hype surrounding the Echo Show, we did expect more improvement in the audio quality.
If you want to get a smart speaker with dual benefits of both music experience and video calling plus smart controls, the Echo Show might be your best (and only) choice!