What Is the Amazon Echo Show?

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

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The Echo Show is a variation of the Amazon Echo smart speaker product line. What makes it different is that in addition to the Alexa voice assistant feature included on Echo devices, the Echo Show offers a 10-inch, 8-inch, or 5.5-inch touchscreen display depending on the model. This feature displays content visually and provides an additional interactive way to navigate through the Show's features.

Information in this article applies to the Amazon Echo Show 8, Echo Show 5, and Echo Show.

What You Can Do With the Echo Show

The Echo Show does everything the Amazon Echo does and more.

Listen To Music

As with other Echo devices, the Echo Show plays music. You can stream from Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, Apple Music, and more. The Echo Show has Bluetooth so you can listen to music on compatible headphones and speakers, and you can stream music to and from your smartphone to the Echo Show.

The Echo Show has a screen that displays music lyrics and other available information related to the music you're playing.

Watch Videos and View Photos

You can watch video clips or view photos from a compatible smartphone, scan daily news clips, and preview movie trailers. If you're an Amazon Prime member, you can view movies and TV shows on the Echo Show screen.

Due to a dispute between Amazon and Google, the Echo Show doesn't support YouTube. But you can use a browser (Silk or Firefox) that runs in the background to access YouTube's website.

Make Video Phone Calls

You can use the Echo Show with the Alexa app to make phone calls to others that use Echo products or compatible smartphones. The Echo Show adds the bonus of two-way video calling with other Show owners. You can also use the device as a video intercom using the Drop-In feature.

A grandparent talks with family using the Echo Show video call feature.

Control Your Home

Use the Echo Show as your home assistant, since it comes integrated with a smart home hub. At its most basic, it serves as a bedside clock radio.

It integrates with third-party control systems (additional purchases may be required), such as Wemo, Samsung Smart Things, Hue Personal Wireless Lighting, Ring, Arlo, Wink, and Ecobee that control lighting, thermostats, security systems, baby monitors, and turn your TV and audio system on and off. Many of these options can be set up with Alexa Skills.

Get Information

Ask Alexa any question you want (about the weather, sports scores, movie times, traffic, spelling, or word definitions), and an answer is spoken and displayed, if available.

You can also use the Echo Show to find recipes, shop, order takeout and delivery, make restaurant reservations, buy movie tickets, get an Uber ride, and other tasks by tapping into options provided by the Alexa Skills feature.

There are other ways to customize the Amazon Echo Show. For example, you can stream local radio stations based on your location.

Echo Show in a kitchen

Inside the Amazon Echo Show

The second generation (2018) Echo Show is compact and lightweight. It measures 6.9 inches high, 9.7 inches wide, and 4.2 inches deep. It weighs 62 ounces. To provide support for everything it does, here's the stuff on the inside that makes the magic work:

  • Onboard control buttons for Volume Up/Down and Mics/Camera On/Off. When you turn the microphones off, the camera turns off.
  • Eight built-in microphones are located on top of the unit surrounding the onboard controls for voice recognition. The microphones are always on (unless manually turned off), even when music is playing, so you can give voice commands while listening to music.
  • Built-in dual 2-inch stereo speakers for music playback, Alexa voice responses, and audio and video calling. For enhanced sound quality, the Echo Show features Dolby Audio processing. The Echo Show can 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 for internet and network connectivity. However, there's no wired Ethernet network/internet connection option provided.
  • The 10-inch Echo Show touchscreen has a 1280 x 800-pixel resolution, which supports 720p video, providing easy-to-see detailed, colorful images. To turn the screen off, give a verbal command to Alexa.

The Echo Show doesn't 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 5 MP photo and video camera.
  • Compatible with an optional Alexa Voice Remote. Use this to communicate with the Echo Show when you don't want to speak loudly. Hold the remote to your mouth and speak softly without disturbing others.
  • Incorporates an Intel Atom mobile processor for fast voice recognition, content access, and touchscreen display navigation.

Amazon Echo Version Differences

The Amazon Echo Show is available in several models, but most of the differences are cosmetic. Aside from slightly weaker audio performance, the original (2017) model doesn't include built-in support for NBC, Hulu Live, YouTube, or recipe tutorials. There are also two smaller variations of the Echo Show.

Amazon Echo Show 8

Released in 2019, the Echo Show 8 has an 8-inch 1280 x 800-pixel resolution display, a one-megapixel camera, and two 10W per channel speakers with a 3.5 mm audio output connector.

The audio quality is on par with the 2018 Echo Show, and there's a new Drop-In On All feature that starts a group video chat with everyone in your family who owns an Echo device.

Another exclusive feature is built-in integration with the Food Network. Watch Food Network TV shows and have Alexa save your favorite recipes. Subscribe to the Food Network Kitchen service to participate in the on-demand cooking classes.

Amazon Echo Show 5

Amazon Echo Show 5

This version comes with a 5.5-inch 960 x 480-pixel resolution screen, one 4-watt speaker (there's also a 3.5 mm audio output connector to connect to an external powered speaker or audio system), and a one-megapixel camera.

The Echo Show 5 doesn't include Zigbee device control compatibility, which the standard Echo Show provides.

The Bottom Line

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

The device is so popular that it inspired rival products such as the Lenovo Smart Display.

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