From headset to swivel screen for your living room. In recent years, in its portfolio, Amazon has been testing many ways to include Alexa in a person’s daily life. This time the big star is the Amazon Echo Show 15a device that reinforces this idea of having a virtual assistant always available for your home.
Amazon’s product is a mix of several other products: TV, virtual whiteboard, tablet, phone, as well as being a hub for your connected home. It has a 15-inch touchscreen, built-in speaker, camera and Bluetooth. Is it worth paying almost R$ 2 thousand? We tested the Echo Show 15 to find out.
Amazon Echo Show 15 video review
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The Echo Show 15 was provided by Amazon as a donation and will not be returned to the company. For more information, visit tecnoblog.net/etica.
Echo Show 15’s frame design is pretty cool
From the looks of it, in the publicity images, the Echo Show 15 appears to be a large device. But, on a visit to Amazon’s headquarters, when I had my first contact with the product, it was possible to verify that the dimensions are very small: vertically, it is 40 centimeters high and 25 centimeters wide.
What draws the most attention is that the product resembles a picture with a frame; no wonder Amazon makes some artistic images available to activate when the screen is not in use. We will talk about this function later.
The Echo Show 15 is designed to be attached to the wall, at eye level and in strategic areas of the home, such as a hallway or kitchen, to be part of the family’s everyday life. With that in mind, Amazon already sends fastening accessories, such as bracket, bushings and screws.
The only problem is that the company didn’t think of a solution to hide the power cord. Therefore, it will always be exposed.
For those who prefer, like the Echo Show 10, the screen can also be placed on a piece of furniture, such as a coffee table or counter. However, the support for this configuration, which we received for this review, is sold separately and costs R$ 149 (the tilt) and R$ 199 (the swivel).
Smart screen is touch sensitive and not very fluid
The Amazon Echo Show 15’s 15.6-inch screen is an LCD type with Full HD resolution (1080p). These settings soon deliver that you won’t find OLED-like vividness or impressive settings. Although it is possible to watch streaming on the product, it was not developed exclusively for that.
Even so, it is still a legal solution. For those who want to cook and pay more attention to the audio of a movie or series, just open Netflix or Prime Video, and press play.
The screen is touch sensitive and the response time has a certain delay. On a day-to-day basis, it’s not something that will bother you, even because you can use Alexa by voice command. And this can be a good alternative if you want to quickly consult some information.
To facilitate everyday interaction, the Echo Show 15 system can be customized with widgets. Over here, we leave time and temperature, shopping list, Amazon Music recommendations and favorites with smart home devices.
When idle, a command transforms the gadget into a frame, displaying artwork that changes from time to time. You can also import the image from Facebook or any other photo of the crowd from your smartphone.
The Echo Show 15’s speakers are on the back. In volume they are quite loud, but in audio quality, the sound is not as faithful as the 4th generation Amazon Echo and Echo Studio. There’s almost no bass and it’s the mids and highs that dominate all the time.
To chat with your contacts who have an Echo at home, Amazon has included a 5-megapixel camera in the smart display. Despite having all the necessary components to carry out a video call with the family, it lacks integration with dedicated applications, such as Zoom, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams.
But the best feature of this camera is facial recognition (or visual ID), which when identifying the registered user who passed in front, the display shows personalized information for that person.
In my tests, the visual ID was not as efficient as I had hoped. For example, reminders I created for myself were sometimes shown to another member of my family; in other situations, Alexa didn’t alert my sister when I left messages for her.
Alexa is the big star of the Amazon Echo Show 15 software
The Echo Show 15’s operating system is optimized to run both vertically and horizontally. There aren’t many built-in widgets, but those available are already quite useful. And with them always visible on the home screen, there’s no need to voice-activate Alexa all the time.
The interface received a control center and the interactivity is very complete. I can access smart screen settings, activate do not disturb mode, adjust brightness, read notifications and view the menu with all my smart home devices.
The list of applications already available on the system is quite reduced, with only Netflix and Prime Video. In the United States, it is also viable to watch content from Hulu. The Echo Show 15 still features YouTube and TikTok, but there is no native app and they open directly in the Amazon browser.
Another way to gain access to more resources is by installing skills, and in this area, Amazon excels. In our test unit, it was possible to install Apple Music, Spotify, the Xbox Skill, from the iconic akinator and listen to the latest news from technoblog.
And of course, by voice command it is feasible to control any smart home device compatible with Amazon assistant. We’re talking light bulbs, robot vacuums, televisions, air conditioners, coffee makers and more.
In connectivity, the Echo Show 15 is complete. It has Bluetooth, which allowed me to plug in a headset, and the Wi-Fi is dual-band, so you can connect the display to 2.4 or 5 GHz networks.
Amazon Echo Show 15: is it worth it?
The Echo Show 15 is not an evolution of the Echo Show 10. All the negative points of the model with the screen that comes with the user can be identified in this larger model. The big difference is that the Echo Show 15 has a clear purpose: to be a smart screen for everyday family life and, for that purpose, it ends up being worth it. But only for that purpose, really.
If you are willing to shell out the R$1,800 that the brand asks for, it is very important to be aware of the points presented here. Even though you have two popular streaming apps, the experience will be better on your television; the system isn’t that fast, but it’s acceptable for a device that doesn’t promise to deliver the tablet experience. And the Visual ID is nice, but it needs to be improved.
Alexa as a personal assistant is what makes the game interesting: it works, and it works well. If you’re in the Amazon ecosystem and you’re missing a solid experience for family purposes, the Echo Show 15 might be the right investment. If that’s not your case, I don’t see the point in having this device at home.