Amazon's Echo Show - What You Need To Know

What you need to know about the Amazon Echo Show

The Amazon Echo Show
The Amazon Echo Show. Image provided by Amazon

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 7-inch touch screen 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, 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. Also, 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, as well as YouTube content, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • Control Your Home You can use the Echo Show as your home assistant. 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.

    Inside the Amazon Echo Show

    The Amazon Echo Show is compact and lightweight measuring 7.4-inches (H) x 7.4-inches (W) x 3.5-inches (D) and weighing in at 41 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 7-inch Echo Show touchscreen has a native 1024x600 pixel resolution which provides easy-to-see detailed, colorful images. If you wish to turn the screen off, just give a verbal command to Alexa. Note: 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.

    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 YouTube 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.