The Amazon Echo Show 15 looks like a picture frame, but acts like a personal assistant
The Amazon Echo Show 15 is the smartest assistant we've had in our home, but doesn't quite meet its potential
The Echo Show 15 is a potential game-changer for smart displays in families' busy lives, combining a clever calendar aesthetic with Alexa personal assistance. Some may desire additional features, but it's still an excellent example of Amazon's smart home savvy.
Large, high-res screen
Works as Fire TV substitute
Widgets for to-do lists, post-its, and more
Looks like a picture frame
Widgets are still limited
Restricted in some areas by Amazon apps
Amazon currently has the widest array of smart speaker displays available to buy, so you'd be forgiven for wondering what something like the Echo Show 15 has to offer that's so different. Well, the biggest thing is its size - the picture-frame-shaped display is a whopping 15.6 inches, opening up many possibilities for its use in the home. Want an Alexa speaker? Check. Want to listen to a playlist while cooking? Check. Fancy watching something on Netflix? It can do that too.
We had the chance to test out the Echo Show 15 to see if it could live up to the promise of being a one-stop home management hub, alongside being able to answer our inane questions about transport and the weather. Take a look at our guide to find out more about how we rank the best Alexa speakers around right now, and read on to see if the biggest Echo Show gets our seal of approval.
Echo Show 15: Key info
- Voice assistant: Alexa
- Power: Plug-in
- Screen size: 15.6"
- Camera? Yes
- Dimensions: H15.8 x W9.9"
- Weight: 4.8lbs
Echo Show 15: Design
There's no denying that the Echo Show 15 looks great, with a hefty frame that makes it look more like a picture frame than an Amazon device. The modern look, 15.6-inch screen, and option to wall mount the display all make it one of the most design-friendly smart displays from the big players.
As said, the Echo Show 15 is designed to be wall-mounted, and a kit to do just that is included in the box. We were also provided with a stand, which was very easy to attach and allowed us to place it on a shelf in our kitchen (see the image above). We were surprised by how heavy the device was, however, so we advise you to consider carefully before picking the right spot.
All of this makes it less portable than many other smart displays, even when moving it from room to room. Don't let the tablet-like build fool you - the screen must be plugged in at all times and is a pain to move from room to room.
The display itself is a mixed bag. While it's lovely to have widgets that show you to-do lists, weather information, calendar events, and even post-it notes left for family members, this is more or less the limit of what you can include on the home screen. It's relatively attractive once you've played around with placement, but we expected slightly more.
Echo Show 15: Set-up and performance
Like other Amazon smart displays, the Echo Show 15 is designed to be a simple extension of Alexa's capabilities. Setting it up, then, was very simple, with only a few steps between unboxing and exploring the various menus and settings. We already had an Amazon account, and the Alexa app loaded on our iPhone, which made things very quick and easy.
After you connect the Echo Show to your home's WiFi network, it will walk you through a series of steps. Our device had to undergo a few updates before it was ready to use, but this took less than ten minutes overall.
There are as many customization options for the display as there are for any other Alexa-enabled device, so you can alter the display, the wake word (something to have fun with!), default music and video services, and alerts. We would recommend connecting as many apps as you're comfortable with to access calendar events (via Google Calendar) or playlists from your preferred service accessible.
You can use the Echo Show 15 in several ways. The first and most obvious one is as a handy at-a-glance home hub, where key reminders, upcoming events, smart home devices, and the outside temperature are easy to see. But others will want their smart display to be a secondary Fire TV, and that's also possible with access to streaming apps from Netflix, Hulu, and others.
This is where we grumble, however, as there is a definite bias from the speaker towards Amazon-branded services such as Amazon Music, Prime Video, and Amazon Podcasts, even if you've set default apps differently. For example, requesting a playlist while we cooked dinner just as often served us something from Amazon Music as it did from Spotify.
Once it got it right, though, the audio exceeded our expectations. Those who are fussy about their music will want to take advantage of the 2.5mm audio jack, but anyone else will be more than satisfied with the onboard speakers.
Echo Show 15 vs Echo Show 10
As the two most recent - and most expensive - Amazon devices, the Echo Show 10 and Show 15 have much in common. They also, however, differ significantly.
The biggest thing separating them is screen size, with the Show 15 boasting a 15.6-inch display compared to the Show 10's 10.1-inch screen. This isn't necessarily a positive or negative thing on its own, as some simply don't have the space to house a larger smart display.
The Show 15 is also much sleeker with a tablet-shaped design, while the Show 10 comes with a bulky speaker as its base. And while the Show 15 is designed to be wall-mounted, the Show 10 boasts rotating and following you around the room while on video calls.
Echo Show 15: Our verdict
The Echo Show 15 has the potential to be a game-changer for smart displays, catering to families who need a visual display to see what's going on in their busy lives. Combining this clever calendar aesthetic with the personal assistance that's always been available from Alexa makes for a very handy gadget, but some will want it to do more.
Still, this is an excellent showcase for Amazon's smart home efforts, and its ability to make controlling the home from one central location could save a lot of stress for a lot of households.
Caroline is the smart home ecommerce editor for Livingetc, covering everything tech for the home, from smart speakers to air purifiers and everything in between. She is passionate about the role that technology and smart devices can play in daily life, enhancing the home without sacrificing personal style and carefully chosen interiors. In her spare time, she can be found tinkering with bulbs, soundbars, and video doorbells in an effort to automate every part of her small home. Previously, she lent her expertise to the likes of Expert Reviews, IT Pro, Coach, The Week, and more.
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