What Is The Amazon Echo Show?

The Echo Show review: Do you need a virtual video assistant?

Echo Show on kitchen counter

The Echo Show is a variation of Amazon's Echo smart speaker product line. However, what makes the Echo Show different is that in addition to the Alexa voice assistant feature included on Echo devices, a 10-inch touchscreen display is provided. This allows you to see content visually as well as provide an additional interactive way to navigate through the Echo Show's features.

What You Can Do With the Echo Show

  • Listen To Music: Just as with other Echo devices, the Echo Show can play music. You can stream directly from Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, Apple Music, and more. The Echo Show also has Bluetooth, which not only allows you to listen to your music on compatible headphones and speakers, but you can stream music to from your smartphone to the Echo Show.

Since the Echo Show has a screen, you can also display music lyrics and other information related to the music you are playing, when available.

  • Watch Videos and View Photos: You can watch your own video clips or photos from compatible smartphones, daily news clips, and movie trailers. Also, if you are an Amazon Prime member, you can view movies and TV shows on the Echo Show's screen. It is important to note that due to an ongoing dispute between Amazon and Google, the Echo Show does not support YouTube directly, but a browser (Silk or Firefox) that runs in the background provides access to the YouTube.com website.
  • Make Video Phone Calls: You can use the Echo Show to make phone calls to others that are using Echo products or compatible smartphones using the Alexa app. However, the Echo Show adds the bonus of two-way video calling with others that also have an Echo Show unit. You can also use the Echo Show as video intercom using the Drop-In feature.
Echo Show video call
  • Control Your Home You can use the Echo Show as your home assistant since it comes integrated with a smart home hub. At its most basic, the Echo Show can serve as your bedside clock radio, but it can also integrate with several third-party control systems (additional purchases may be required), such as Wemo, Samsung Smart Things, Hue Personal Wireless Lighting, Insteon, Ring, Arlo, Wink, and Ecobee that can enable you to control lighting, thermostats, security systems, baby monitors, and even turn your TV and audio system on and off. Many of these options can be set up via Alexa Skills.
  • Get Information: Ask Alexa any question you want (weather, sports scores, movie times, traffic, spelling, word definitions) and an answer will be spoken and/or displayed (if available). You can also use the Echo Show for finding recipes, shopping, ordering take-out and delivery, making restaurant reservations, buying movie tickets, get an UBER ride, and other tasks, by tapping into options provided by the Alexa Skills feature.
Echo Show in a kitchen

Inside the Amazon Echo Show

The Amazon Echo Show is compact and lightweight measuring 6.9-inches (H) x 9.7-inches (W) x 4.2-inches (D) and weighing in at 62 ounces.

To provide support for everything you can do with the Echo Show, here is the stuff on the inside that makes all the magic work.

  • In addition to voice and touchscreen control, there are onboard control buttons for Volume Up/Down and Mics/Camera On/Off. However, if you turn the Mics off, the camera turns off as well.
  • Eight tiny built-in microphones located on top of the unit surrounding the onboard controls are provided for voice recognition. The microphones are always on (unless purposely turned-off), even when music is playing. You can give voice commands while listening to music.
  • Built-in dual 2-inch stereo speakers are provided for music playback, Alexa voice responses, and audio support for audio and video calling. For enhanced sound quality, the Echo Show features Dolby Audio processing. The Echo Show can also send audio to Bluetooth speakers and headphones, but there is no physical connection provided for wired external powered speakers or headphones.
  • Built-in Dual-band Wi-Fi is provided for internet/network connectivity. However, there is no wired Ethernet network/internet connection option provided.
  • The 10-inch Echo Show touchscreen has a native 1280 x 800-pixel resolution which supports 720p video, providing easy-to-see detailed, colorful images. If you wish to turn the screen off, just give a verbal command to Alexa.

    The Echo Show does not provide a physical video output for connection to a TV or video projector.

    • For video phone calling and photo taking, there is a built-in 5MP photo/video camera.
    • The Echo Show is also compatible with an optional Alexa Voice Remote. This can come in handy if you want to communicate with the Echo Show but don't want to speak loudly - simply hold the remote up to your mouth and speak softly without disturbing others.
    • The Echo Show incorporates an Intel Atom mobile processor for fast voice recognition, content access, and touchscreen display navigation.

    Also available, the Amazon Echo Show 5. This is a smaller version of the Echo Show. This version comes with a 5.5 inch 960x480 pixel resolution screen, one 4-watt speaker (there is also a 3.5mm audio output connector provided for connection to an external powered speaker or audio system), and a one-megapixel camera. However, Echo Show 5 does not include Zigbee device control compatibility which the standard Echo Show provides.

    Amazon Echo Show 5

    The Bottom Line

    The Echo Show adds a twist to Amazon's Alexa-powered Echo smart speaker product line by adding visual interactivity. With the ability to listen to music, view photos, watch videos, Amazon Prime movies, TV shows, access useful information, and perform many personal and household tasks, the Echo Show is a smart speaker that incorporates some features that you might also find on a smart TV.