Alexathe virtual assistant of amazonit’s just a digital voice but that doesn’t mean it’s limited to living on speakers Threw out. For years, Amazon has also had a line of smart displays, echo showwhich add visual information to the data that Alexa provides.
This month the company launched the largest of them in Spain, the Echo Show 15. As its name suggests, it is a 15-inch screen (15.6 to be exact) and that alone makes it a somewhat different product from the rest of the range, which usually moves between 6 and 10 inches in size. .
I’ve been testing it for the last couple of weeks, and overall it’s a good fit for homes that already have other Echo devices.
The design of the product is pleasant and reminds of a painting or a framed photo. It’s not by chance. This is the first echo show designed to hang directly on the wall. It is sold with all the necessary anchors and can be oriented both vertically and horizontally.
It can also be used leaning on a music stand, although it must be purchased separately, but it is clear that for the vast majority of users, this is an Echo designed above all for feet. hang on the wall, and probably the one in the kitchen. In a certain way, this screen aspires to replace the small television that many homes usually have in that room.
Installation is easy, both physical and operating system, and it is during installation that one of the possibly most controversial features of the device is configured: the ability to recognize users’ faces.
The idea of the Echo Show 15 is that it works as a digital bulletin board for the whole family. You can display a calendar, notes and reminders, or photos, but you can display them individually based on the person in front of the device. Do you want to leave a note to a specific family member? No problem. The Echo Show 15 will only display it when that person is in front of it. The same with your personal calendar.
Face recognition works well and there are several barriers to protect privacy. First, and most important, is that it is completely optional. The product can be used without the face recognition function, just as a common digital bulletin board for the whole house.
Second, this recognition occurs on the device itself, nothing is sent to the cloud. And third, like other Echo products, it has physical switches that block the microphones and cameras.
Whether you use the customization feature or not, Echo Show 15 presents itself as a dashboard with various widgets, small applications that are active on the screen simultaneously. These can be notes, quick controls for home automation items, calendars, weather, and the like.
These widgets reside on a tab that can be removed to make more screen space for photos and other applications. They are useful but the main problem I have found is that the Echo Show 15 is the only device that uses them and although Amazon has opened the door for developers to create more, the catalog is still very limited.
Where the Echo Show 15 really hits the mark as a product is in very specific use cases. You have access to various video-on-demand platforms, such as Netflix or (obviously) Prime Video, and also to some live television channels. It’s a good screen to watch a series while cooking or cleaning (the speakers are of more than decent quality). It also offers video recipe applications that can be followed step by step on the screen and is also a good digital photo frame for the whole family.
In homes where there are already other Echo devices or Amazon partner products like Ring doorbells, the Echo Show 15 works well as a central hub. You can see if there’s a knock on your door while driving straight or watching the news, or you can talk to another room in the house with the intercom feature. It’s also a pretty good device for making video calls to other Amazon devices, though the camera has 5 megapixels only.
In general, it reacts quickly to both touch interaction and voice commands, and Alexa, in voice, has many skills to adapt to the needs of each drown, although if the only thing that is going to be used is Alexa in voice format, a Echo speaker will have better sound quality and be cheaper.
The Show 15 the latest processor from Amazon, the AZ2, which is quite competent, but although it is touch-enabled and has a considerable size, it is not a tablet. It doesn’t have the Fire OS and no access to apps and games beyond the few aforementioned widgets and default support for certain video services.
It does, however, include a web browser, but the experience of watching, say, a video on TikTok. It is not as good as what could be achieved with native applications.