Amazon is going big with its newest Alexa device. The Echo Show 15, the company's latest smart speaker, has a large 15-inch display that's meant to act as a central hub for all your family's activities. With widgets for calendars, notes, shopping lists and more, it's designed to let you know what everyone else is doing at a glance.
Unlike Amazon's other smart displays, the Echo Show 15 looks more like a picture frame, and is designed to be hung on a wall. It also boasts a new processor that lets you teach it sounds and recognize your face to provide you with personalized information.
Here's all that we know about the Echo Show 15, including its price and when it'll be available.
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Amazon Echo Show 15: Price and availability
The Echo Show 15 will cost $249. It's only available in one color, and will go on sale later this year. If we had to guess, we'd say October or November, in time for the holiday shopping season and maybe even the best Black Friday deals.
Amazon Echo Show 15: Design
In many ways, the Echo Show 15 is more like one of the best digital photo frames rather than a smart speaker. It's a large 15.6-inch, 1080p touchscreen display bordered by a white matte, which is surrounded by a black frame; the Echo Show 15 is meant to be hung on a wall (in portrait or landscape mode), or propped up on a table. If we're drawing comparisons, it looks a lot like a larger version of the Facebook Portal.
Amazon Echo Show 15: Display and interface
The Echo Show 15 is designed to be a digital bulletin board of sorts, so you can glance at the screen to see upcoming calendar events, check the weather, and leave notes for family members — essentially performing the same duties as the Samsung Family Hub, but without the refrigerator attached.
Owners will be able to customize the display with a variety of widgets — calendar, notes, recipes, shopping lists, etc. Currently, all the widgets have been developed by Amazon, but the company is opening it up to third-party developers.
The display does not support handwriting, but an on-screen keyboard will pop up if you want to type in a note. Of course, if you want to leave a message, you can also speak to Alexa, or use the Alexa app on your phone.
When the screen isn't in active use, it will default to pictures from your Amazon Photos gallery or preloaded images.
Amazon Echo Show 15: Camera
In the upper-left corner of the Echo Show 15 is a small 5MP camera for video calls through Alexa. Unlike the Echo Show 10, however, the Echo Show 15's camera does not support motion-tracking, so it can't digitally pan and zoom to follow you around the room.
The Echo Show 15 has Amazon's newest AZ2 processor, which enables it to perform more functions on-device; one of them is Visual ID, whereby the camera can recognize individual faces, and customize the display to their preferences.
Amazon says that Visual ID is opt-in only, and can be removed at any time should you find it too creepy. All of your data remains on the device, too.
Amazon Echo Show 15: Entertainment
As with Amazon's other smart displays, the Echo Show 15 will let you play video from Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming services supported by its devices. Sling TV and TikTok will be added in the near future, too.
The Echo Show 15 will have two 1.6-inch side-firing speakers, which should provide adequate sound, but don't expect anything on a par with the Echo Studio or Echo Show 10.
Amazon Echo Show 15: Smart home features
Like Amazon's other smart displays (and Fire TV devices), you can stream a live feed from some of the best home security cameras and best video doorbells to the Echo Show 15's screen. Unlike those other displays, though, you can view the feed as a picture-in-picture window; helpful if you want to keep tabs on your child via a baby monitor.
The Echo Show 15 also works with Alexa Guard, so it can listen for the sound of glass breaking and smoke alarms. In the coming months, users will be able to teach the Echo Show 15 and other Echo devices specific sounds to enable new Alexa routines. For example, you can teach it to recognize the sound of your doorbell or a sliding glass door opening, and then program other smart home devices to turn on or off.
Among the available widgets for the Echo Show 15 will be one specifically for often-used smart home devices, so it should be easier for you to control them without too many screen taps.
Amazon Echo Show 15: Outlook
Since Amazon can't make any smart displays smaller than the Echo Show 5, it makes sense — to a point — to go up in screen size. At the same time, the company is imagining the Echo Show 15 with a different use case than its other Echo devices.
I like the idea of having a central hub where I can see what's on the calendar, send notes to family members, and add things to shopping lists. However, I wonder if the limited input methods — i.e., talking to Alexa — will make it too much of a pain to add items to notes and the like. Having a small stylus, or at least being able to scribble something down with your finger, could make things much more seamless.
We'll let you know what the Echo Show 15 is like once we've had a chance to test it out. Stay tuned.