Amazon Echo Show Review: Alexa-Enabled Smart Speaker With a Touch Screen
Amazon released a newer version of the Echo Show – the Amazon Echo Show (2nd Gen), which has since turned heads in the world of smart display devices.
In 2017, Amazon released the first Echo Show, a touchscreen-enabled smart speaker which is Alexa-compatible. This device was heavily criticized due to the design, which was square-ish and outdated. As a result, the brand promoted its sales based on its ability to make video calls. However, equipping Alexa with a touchscreen interface didn’t change much as far as voice control.
The Amazon Echo Show has experienced huge competition from devices powered by the Google Assistant such as the Lenovo Smart Display and JBL Link View. The functionalities of these devices puts a question mark on what we really refer to as “smart displays”. As a plus, these devices were also able to give you general access to Google Assistant and was very helpful in the kitchen. Their integration with YouTube further extends their services. Also, they are able to provide handy smart home device controls.
The design of the all-new Amazon Echo Show (2nd Gen) is a major comeback by Amazon. The design is a lot more stylish and modern.
REVIEW PRICE: $230
- 5 MegaPixel front camera
- 10.1 INCH FULL HD DISPLAY
As far as the concept of smart display is concerned, it is okay to say that the first gen. Amazon Echo Show lost the battle to Google-Assistant powered devices but has steered back on course with the release of its second gen, counterpart.
From the design to the audio quality, the new Amazon Echo Show separates itself several miles away from its predecessor. Indeed, this Amazon’s release is a powerful comeback by Amazon. It comes with major improvements and fixes to the previous version for the same $230 price (£220, AU$349).
Even after making these improvements, the Alexa experience still hasn’t lived up to the hype, it still lacks very critical features. You would find the smart display feature of the Amazon Echo Show useful if you’re a big fan of Alexa. Other than that, a Google-powered model would provide better visuals as well as a more conversational assistant.
Basically, the new Echo Show maintained a lot of features as the first version. The front-facing camera is still 5-megapixel, also maintained is the eight-array microphone setup. The only noticeable difference is in the distribution of these microphones; the front carries four mics, while the other four are placed on top. Minor touch-ups were made on the controls, so that didn’t change much.
With the new Amazon Echo Show, it seems like Alexa could hear me better. The previous Echo Show version didn’t quite pick up commands and I had to say the wake word around three or four times before Alexa heard me.
The functionality remains the same. The power button disables the camera and the microphone in case you need some privacy. The system just disables the camera but the camera lens is still open as usual. The position of the volume control buttons of the new Echo Show is similar to that in the previous version.
The major difference with the new Amazon Echo Show is in its design. It enjoys a 10.1 inch full HD display, which beats its predecessor by 3 inches and has better resolution. Also, the speakers were repositioned to the rear of the smart device, making it more comfortable to use the touchscreen.
The new Amazon Echo Show adopted a rounded back covered with some sort of fabric, as against the angular, rear projection TV-style shape which the first version had. This style can also be seen with the Apple Homepod as well as the Google Home Max speakers.
The Echo Plus 2nd Gen. is available in dark charcoal and light sandstone, an idea which Amazon may have picked from its competitors; well, we can’t tell.
Some things about the settings changed. While accessing the new Amazon Echo Plus, I discovered that smart home controls can now be accessed with one tap on the drop-down menu. This new addition would make checking and controlling linked devices a breeze. Also, it would be easier to launch multi-device “routines” and set alarms.
The smart home controls have become smarter and more efficient. Alexa can help you do quite a lot of things like presenting you with a percentage bar if you ask her to turn off or turn on your lamp. Personally, I’d love to have this level of smartness in my home.
I noticed a drawback with the Routines, as it had your Alexa routines which you had set previously and didn’t give you the option to set up any new ones from the Echo Show. If you really want to make additions, you’d have to use your phone.
Also, you have the option of either setting alarms from within the touchscreen, or asking Alexa to help you.
As with the first generation Echo Show, you can ask Alexa to get video feeds from your smart doorbell or smart cameras. I tried this out with two Netgear Arlo cameras and it worked fine. The speed depends on how strong your home Wi-Fi signal is.
Not much changed in the aspect of video calling or playing music, only difference is with the screen, it is larger and the resolution is higher. As for the music, we still have scrolling lyrics in the background. Amazon intends to integrate Skype for voice calling, so you’d have the option to call with voice or video.
The Echo Show stands a better chance in the market. With the new design, it is a lot more likely that I’d love to have one in my home.