The Amazon Echo Show line has always held a key place in the home – each model is both Alexa’s brain and the nerve center of the smart home. Depending on the size of the brain you needed, there were always a few different models to choose from, but none of them were as big – or as feature-rich – as the new Amazon Echo Show 15.
At nearly five inches longer than the already large Amazon Echo 10 and just a bit more expensive at $ 249.99 / £ 239.99 / AU $ 399, the Echo Show 15 is basically everything you loved about the Slowly stagnating Show range, boosted by a ton of new organizational features to keep everyone in your home on the same page.
Most of the time this is done through the new widgets which can be added to the main screen the same way you add widgets to your home screen on iOS and Android, and they can show you how long your trip will, for example, or display a shared to-do list for the house. There are already over a dozen of these widgets to choose from, and more will likely be added in the weeks, months, and years to come.
That said, we did find a few issues with the performance of the Echo Show 15. On the one hand, the widgets just discussed are mostly only one size and cannot be resized. Any additional widgets that you have installed beyond the available space on the screen are set aside and not immediately visible. Right now, that means you need to carefully choose which widgets you want.
The sound and video, while acceptable in this slim format, didn’t really impress us. The screen is a 15.6-inch 1920 x 1080 Full HD display, but there is no HDR, which makes movies and shows a bit duller than on a 4K HDR TV which can be bought almost at the same price. Likewise, the sound can get loud, but never reaches full immersion – highs and mids are good, but there’s no real soundstage to speak of and bass response is almost nonexistent.
Ultimately, we found a number of reasons to make the Amazon Echo Show 15 the amazing hub of our Alexa-based smart home as well as a ton of space for Amazon to improve on future models.
Price and release date
The Amazon Echo Show 15 was released in early December 2021 in the US for $ 249.99. Eventually, the smart home hub will arrive in the UK and Australia for £ 239.99 and AU $ 399, respectively, but it’s not yet available in those territories.
The hardest pill to swallow about the price is that it’s more than double the cost of an Amazon Echo Show 8 – a perfectly suited smart home hub that performs almost exactly the same functions as the Echo Show 15. L ‘Echo Show 8 sounds better thanks to its dedicated passive bass radiator and also incorporates a higher megapixel camera.
Ultimately, you’ll get access to a few more features by upgrading to the Echo Show 15 – widgets and the new AZ2 Neural Edge processor among them – as well as a larger screen with higher resolution but that’s still it. a fairly large price difference which currently seems a little too large to be justifiable.
- Beautiful appearance similar to a photo frame
- Easily attached to the wall …
- … but the cord is difficult to hide
Because it looks almost like a picture frame, Amazon built the Echo Show 15 to be mounted on the wall – which is very easy to do, thankfully. All you have to do is hold the plastic frame flat against the wall and screw in four screws. We had ours within minutes, and the process turned out to be more painless than other previous wall mount attempts, as we simply hung it on drywall in the kitchen.
Of course, that was the easy way. You can drill into a stronger material if you have a drill bit for it, and Amazon even includes wall anchors inside the box.
However, without advanced DIY skills, you will not be able to mount it to an outlet because the power cord terminal protrudes from the wall. This is going to irritate people who want the cleanest look possible without a bead detracting from their clean aesthetic.
Amazon offers another option for people who don’t want to wall-mount the Amazon Echo Show 15 by selling a separate stand. to be confirmed) if you want the device to be stand-alone.
So where should it be mounted? Well, we chose the kitchen at eye level – although we could see it working in just about any room. However, choosing the right level can be tricky. If you place it high on your wall, it is difficult to hide the cord, but placing it too low could prevent people from seeing you during a video chat. Amazon recommends keeping it within reach of everyone in the house, at eye level or around.
- Widgets are a game-changer for the organization
- 5MP camera is nice but could be better
- AZ2 Neural Edge processor is a big upgrade
The other advantage of having it at this point is that the built-in 5MP camera detects you when you are interacting with the device, because that’s how you get personalized content.
For us, right out of the box, that content included the weather, food recipes, and jokes, although it could theoretically be different for everyone. However, if you want to spice up your home screen, you can add the widgets we mentioned earlier.
Right now there are over a dozen to choose from and we’ve ended up installing just about all of them at one point or another. The bad news? There’s no way to resize them at this point, which means you’ll only see about four or five on the main screen with the rest hidden.
In terms of the selection of widgets, however, we were pleasantly surprised. While we didn’t need the notes section for ourselves living on our own, it’s easy to see how this could be of use to a family of four with different schedules. Speaking of schedules, having a built-in calendar always within sight made it easier to visualize the next meeting, and the grocery list reminded us of what we needed to pick up on the next run to the grocery store.
As for this 5MP camera, you can also use it for video calls or to connect to another Amazon Echo Show device. Unfortunately, the 5MP camera can’t quite compete with the 13MP camera we have on the Amazon Echo Show 8, but it’s still nice to have.
Another improvement, as we mentioned, is the new AZ2 Neural Edge processor that Amazon installed in the Echo Show 15. It processes requests faster – often in less than a second or two – and doesn’t detect not as many false activations (when Alexa starts listening without you saying the wake word) as before.
Finally, as the hub of a smart home, the Echo Show 15 does its job with aplomb. We were able to connect all of our smart home devices in under an hour and have a fully functional smart home at the end of the day. Being able to see the most used devices on the Home screen was extremely helpful, and we really didn’t have any issues with any of the devices during our several weeks of testing.
Sound and visual performance
- Audio and visual performance could be better
- Audio lacks bass response
- Video loses color saturation when viewed off-axis
While the new UI seems like a big improvement over the rest of the Echo Show lineup, performance has really taken a hit with the Echo Show 15.
For starters, all of the device’s sound is fed to the side of the screen through two 1.6 “full-range speakers. This is a significant drop from the two 1.0” tweeters and the 3.0 “woofer found on the Amazon Echo Show 10, and this is directly the cause of the Show 15’s inability to force true bass response.
That’s not to say that the Echo Show 15 is all bad when it comes to audio reproduction or that it can’t be loud – which it isn’t. The Echo Show 15 puts more emphasis on the mid-range and improves dialogue well for listening to podcasts and your daily briefings. It filled our kitchen with sound in testing, but the sound from the screen has never been more powerful than the sound from our nearby portable bluetooth speaker.
It’s a similar story for the Echo Show 15’s 15.6-inch screen. It doesn’t need a resolution higher than 1920 x 1080 at this size, but it lacks a number of features. keys that would really make movies and TV shows stand out. Among them, HDR support which would increase contrast and color saturation. Without it, and without any panel technology to widen the field of view, color quickly loses its saturation when you view the screen from an angle.
Should I buy the Amazon Echo Show 15?
Buy it if …
You want to replace post-its, to-do lists and calendars on your fridge
There’s nothing wrong with using simple tools to communicate with your roommates and family members, but the Amazon Echo Show 15 lets you replace just about anything on your fridge – including your photos – with a single elegant solution that sits right on the wall.
You want a better brain at the center of your smart home
Thanks to the AZ2 Neural Edge processor, the Amazon Echo Show 15 has fewer false positives when it thinks it hears its name called. It processes requests faster – often in less than a second or two – and has a Favorite Device widget that lets you see your most frequently used gadgets at a glance.
The aesthetic of the photo frame is pleasing to the eye and fits your budget
It’s not cheap, but we have to say that the aesthetics of the Echo Show 15 are truly exceptional and significantly better than traditional Echo Show devices. There’s a performance trade-off compared to the Amazon Echo Show 8 and Echo Show 10, but the Echo Show 15 is a design go-to.
Don’t buy it if …
You want robust audio and picture performance
The Amazon Echo Show 15 really isn’t the best value for money when it comes to AV performance. The dual 1.6 ”full-range speakers really don’t do a good job of producing immersive sound, especially in the bass range, and without HDR, shows and movies aren’t at their best.
You want a perfect installation
Setting up Amazon Echo Show 15 is straightforward. But if you want it installed in such a way that the cord is not visible, well, you will need a contractor.
You prefer to have Google Assistant or Siri as your smart assistant
Nothing against Alexa, but Amazon’s smart assistant isn’t for everyone. If you’ve tried Alexa before and weren’t impressed with the intelligence of Amazon’s smart assistant, you’ll probably want to go for a Nest Hub Max or a HomePod Mini instead.