There’s a new Amazon Echo in the Indian market. And this one is not just about voice named sound, unlike the Echo range of smart speakers. The new Echo Show comes with a large display capable of showing a lot of content. Basically, this is the famous Amazon assistant, Alexa, and yes, she still gets summoned by your voice, but now she also has a display on which to show the results of your query.
So should you be considering grabbing one? Well, we will be reviewing it in the coming days, but as of now there are ten points worth noting about the new Amazon Echo Show:
Alexa with a really big display…
We have seen Amazon Echo devices with a display before; remember the Echo Spot, which had a circular display? The Echo Show however has a full-fledged display.
It comes with a 10.1 inch display with HD resolution that can be seen from across the room, according to Amazon. So you can speak out your queries and see the results even from a distance.
… so you get more visual information…
Of course, the presence of the display adds a whole new dimension to your routine Amazon Echo experience. Now, you can actually ask the Echo to show you videos, trailers, shows and a whole lot more, and see them on the display (we would have preferred a full HD one though, to be honest).
This is a whole new element to the Alexa experience, because you can not only ask for a weather forecast but actually even get a visual representation of it on the display. Basically, this is Alexa in multimedia mode. An important point to note is that this will work only with select services. Of course, Amazon Prime is one of them.
…and ALL of Alexa
The display might grab attention, but the soul of the Echo Show, like all Echo devices, is Amazon’s virtual assistant, Alexa. She is there with all her routines and skills, answering questions, reading out the news, telling jokes, flipping coins and doing a whole lot more, depending on how you program her. There are no corners cut — this is Alexa at her best with a display as well!
Cool fabric design but kind of heavy
The Echo Show comes with a very nice fabric finish on the back giving it a very cool appearance. You can get it in white and black (white looks better but also gets dusty much faster).
It can be propped up in landscape mode on any even surface, but has no battery of its own, so would need to be connected to a power outlet. Unlike the Echo Spot, which was like a slightly oversized alarm clock, the Amazon Show is a bigger, heavier device. It weighs slightly less than two kilograms, so it is not the sort that you can just pick up and carry on a whim to another place (the Echo Dot remains the one for that sort of stuff)
Eight microphones for your voice
One of the amazing aspects of the Echo devices has been their ability to pick up your voice no matter where you speak from. We have actually asked our Echo speakers questions from another room and got responses.
The secret of this excellent voice reception is the presence of very good microphones and the Echo Show is no exception — it comes with eight microphones, so the chances of your query being heard and responded to, are very good indeed.
Dolby Sound for your ears
Of course, being able to hear is just one part of being a smart assistant. You also have to make yourself heard, and the Echo Show comes with what Amazon terms “dual Neodymium drivers” and a “passive bass radiator” with “Dolby processing.” Simple English? It is likely to have bloody good sound.
Which makes it a great option for not just viewing content but also listening to it. You can ask it to play a song and get very high-quality output, and even listening to the news or weather forecast should be a treat, in terms of audio quality that is.
A camera too… and Skype is supported
The Echo Show also comes with a 5.0-megapixel camera, for video calls. You can make hands free video calls to others who have an Echo Spot or Echo Show or even the Alexa app on their devices.
What’s more, there is also support for Skype, so you can simply say “Alexa, call so and so on Skype”! Once again, rather cool.
Built-in browsers for Web surfing
The Echo Show’s display also lets you use it as a sort of tablet — that 10.1 inch display is touch enabled. So you can open a browser (Amazon’s Silk or Firefox), and use the on-screen keyboard to type in a URL and go to the site or service you want to use.
We are not sure it actually fits in as a full-time tablet, given its weight, but it is just another string to its bow.
Smart Home Hub support — “Alexa, switch off the lights”
There is also a Smart Home Hub built right into the Echo Show. Which means that you can connect it to other supported devices and do a lot of stuff right from it. For instance, you can control music on other Echo devices and if you have compatible lights, ask for lights to be switched or off, or dimmed and so on.
Basically, the Echo Show can be the centre of your smart home. There’s also a limited offer of getting one Philips Hue smart bulb with the device, so if you are lucky enough to get it, you can actually try it out.
Kind of exp…
At a price of Rs 22,999, the Amazon Echo Show is definitely on the more expensive side, especially when you consider that its display is not full HD.
But then, as with most Echo devices, it is not really about the hardware, but the whole Amazon Alexa experience, and this one comes with a Smart Home Hub too. Is it worth the money? It is too early to say, and we have not even used the device yet, but it certainly is the only one of its kind right now!