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Amazon Echo Show 15 smart hub is great for connecting homes

It’s time for me to come clean. While I’m fully on board with smart devices — I have WiFi-enabled lights, a smart thermostat, and plenty of other cutting-edge gadgets — I’ve never been swayed by the Amazon Echo devices in the past. As an Apple user, I didn’t feel the need to add an Alexa device to my kitchen because it felt more like a flashy new toy that would lose its appeal after a few days rather than a functional item that I couldn’t live without. When I was invited to test the Amazon Echo Show, 15(Opens in a new window) My skepticism was put aside and I approached it with an open mind. 

Surprisingly? I kinda like it. 

Why is the Echo Show 15 so special?

One thing makes the Echo Show 15 unique is its 15.6-inch Full HD Smart Display. The Show 15 is a wall-mounted model that’s unlike previous versions of Amazon Echo Show. This saves counter space and creates an elegant central hub for smart homes. 

Compared to previous models of the Echo Show, the Show 15’s screen size is definitely a plus — I tried the Echo Show 10, which has a much smaller screen that wasn’t super useful from across the kitchen. The Show 15 scales everything up without being too large or obnoxious — anything bigger and it would’ve felt like an extra TV in the room — and the 1.4-inch thickness of the display keeps it from being too bulky on the wall. 

It is large enough for people to view from all sides of the room but small enough that they don’t feel like there are extra televisions.
Credit: RJ Andersen / Mashable

Echo Show 15: The things I enjoyed about it

The Echo Show 15 was small in size but had a number of features that I liked. I appreciated the nod toward privacy — it touts a sliding camera cover, as well as the option to turn off added features like Amazon Sidewalk — as well as the minimal, photo-frame design. It was also super easy to install straight out of the box, and — aside from needing to install a few lengthy updates — it wasn’t a very complicated process to get it connected to my WiFi and Amazon account.

There are many routines and widgets that you can use with Echo Show devices. However, the Show 15 is my favorite for reminders, recipes and alerts. The Echo Show 15 was an integral part of my morning routine. It helped me keep track of my busy schedule. Plus, I found that the Echo Show 15 was a little more “sensitive” to recognizing my voice compared to the Echo Show 10, which meant I didn’t feel like I had to yell at Alexa to get her to understand what I was saying.

I also loved creating a sound-detection routine that recognized my dog barking and played calming music for him whenever I was leaving the house — which surprisingly worked to settle him down. 

finger sliding camera cover

Additional privacy is provided by the cover for your physical camera.
Credit: RJ Andersen / Mashable

What I didn’t like about the Echo Show 15

Because I don’t have many Amazon devices throughout my home, the Echo Show 15 didn’t quite make as much sense for me. It definitely looks cool — and I could see it working perfectly as a “central hub” for someone who already has several Alexa-enabled devices throughout their home — but there were a few drawbacks that didn’t quite make sense for it to be a starter device for me. 

One, the speaker wasn’t as good as the Echo Show 10 — or my trusty Bluetooth speaker — so I didn’t use it for music, and when I tried to enable Alexa to play music throughout my house across both Echo Shows, there was a significant lag. The camera quality was also lacking, and the Show 15 was no match for the Show 10’s motion tracking. Echo Show 15 was more glitchy than Show 10 and it sometimes seemed confused. There were several times when I wasn’t able to get Alexa to return to the home screen without using the touchscreen to manually switch the display.

It also didn’t seem to recognize my husband’s voice as well as mine, and I didn’t like that I had to type all of my relevant passwords (for Spotify, Netflix, etc) onto the device itself versus being able to connect them in the Alexa app and go from there. The widgets also seemed to eat up a lot of real estate on the screen, and there wasn’t really an option to make them much smaller.

The Show 15 felt more like an actual tablet, which I liked. However, there were some limitations that made it feel less robust. While it was an enjoyable device, there were a few things that I struggled to understand. how to change the recipe serving size on Allrecipes (a feature that is available on their website) that meant I would often “give up” trying to get Alexa to understand me and just use my phone. 

Plus, while the size and wall mounting kit definitely makes sense for someone who has a small kitchen — or wants to upgrade their main Amazon Echo device — living in an apartment meant I couldn’t mount the Echo Show 15 into my wall, so I’d have to purchase a tilt stand if I wanted it to live on my countertop. 

Are the Echo Show 15’s 15-year warranties worth it?

The Echo Show 15 wasn’t the perfect Alexa device for me, but I could definitely see why other people might love it. Compared to the bulkier size of the Echo Show 10, I really liked the idea of a wall-mounted display—something that would work perfectly in a busy household with kids — and it was pretty easy to use.

The Echo Show 15 might be a good addition to your Echo-enabled device collection if you already have many.(opens in new tab To your wishlist. It’s perfect for a cramped kitchen, and it makes for a really cool “smart hub” that the entire family can use and enjoy. However, if you’re looking for your first Echo device, you might want to stick with the Echo Show 10(opens in new tab

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