Amazon Alexa Device – Echo Show12 minute read

12 minute read

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Updated for September, 2019

The Echo Show is one of several smart speakers by Amazon which include the entry-level Dot to this premier one. It has some bells and whistles that make it worth a look that goes beyond the fact that it has a screen.

As the first generation of this product, the Echo Show packs a lot of features along with some new tweaks and improvements in the performance that you’ll find helpful. The advanced technology allows you to connect with a variety of services, other smart devices, and other speakers in your home

Last update on 2019-09-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Affordable, used
  • Warranty upgrades available
  • Full suite of accessibility features
  • Excellent sound with Dolby speakers
  • Hands-free operation
Cons
  • Heavy
  • Only available as previously owned
  • Data collection

Our Verdict

The Echo Show is an excellent example of the far-reaching advances in technology and the myriad of ways they can make life easier. Seniors can enjoy the benefits of independent living with the added support of a virtual assistant to make sure you get everything you need, and it’s not that technologically contrived. Seniors can simple say, “Alexa,” followed by their question, request, or command.

In addition, the smart speaker will make things like remembering to take medication to staying connected with caregiver and family seamlessly and reliably. Most people say that once they’ve experienced the versatility of these products, they won’t go back. We think that you’ll agree too.

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OVERALL RATING
Quality
Installation
Ease of Use
Value

Last update on 2019-09-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Amazon Alexa Device – Echo Show

Aging in place would be so much easier if you had a live-in companion to assist you, answer your questions, give you needed reminders, help keep you safe, and entertain you.

Enter Alexa.

The Echo Show is one of two screen devices in the Alexa brand of smart speakers. And while some seniors are hesitant to try new technologies that are too complicated and confusing, these devices offer a greater range of functions with skills or mini-apps that enhance its everyday use, and are simple easy to use. It is the ultimate in a virtual assistant to support your independent living.

The Echo Show has a 7-inch HD screen. It measures 7.4 inches by 7.4 inches by 3.5 inches. It weighs 41 ounces which is surprisingly heavy for a device of this type. For seniors who choose to leave it in one spot in the home, 41 ounces should not be much of an issue. The volume controls are on the top of the unit along with a toggle for the front-facing camera.

You can use it on both 2.4 and 5 GHz Wi-Fi networks. It also supports Bluetooth connectivity to use with an external speaker or wireless headphones, if you prefer. You’ll get the speaker, instructions, Try-It feature card, and a 6-foot power cord with your purchase.

The Echo Show has a 7-inch HD screen. It measures 7.4 inches by 7.4 inches by 3.5 inches. It weighs 41 ounces which is surprisingly heavy for a device of this type. For seniors who choose to leave it in one spot in the home, 41 ounces should not be much of an issue. The volume controls are on the top of the unit along with a toggle for the front-facing camera.

You can use it on both 2.4 and 5 GHz Wi-Fi networks. It also supports Bluetooth connectivity to use with an external speaker or wireless headphones, if you prefer. You’ll get the speaker, instructions, Try-It feature card, and a 6-foot power cord with your purchase.
Benefits of Using the Echo Show

You’ll likely continue to find new uses and advantages of owning the Echo Show the longer you own it. Amazon continues to improve its functionality with the addition of skills and connected services. You can sign up for the company’s weekly email to learn more about what it can do for you.

The single best benefit is its hands-free operation. You can get information by just using its hot word to activate it and asking your question. You get the answers you need real-time with a Wi-Fi connection. You can get recipes, measurement conversions, or whatever else you need to make cooking easier.

Another outstanding option is its Drop-In feature. You can set up your device to connect with family members or caregivers who have an Alexa or Echo product. You needn’t do anything on your part. Your Echo can be connected to a family member’s Echo device, which is a handy feature for seniors who live alone. With a simple voice command, you can send an alert to designated contacts in case of an emergency.

Finally, its versatility is beyond compare. It can do a diverse range of things from setting a daily alarm to reminding you about appointments to allowing you to check account balances with connected services.

All of the Alexa and Echo devices have one significant drawback. Every command you give it becomes part of its log. The problem with it is that it provides a record from which Amazon can target advertising. You can’t delete it from the mobile app.

Instead, you have to sign into your account online and get rid of it manually. And if you use the smart speaker a lot, it will build up quickly. Also, some people have privacy concerns, especially about your data and third-party access.

Another issue rests with an increased hacking risk. Anytime you go online, the potential for problems exists. However, Amazon makes security its highest priority. But, we have a few suggestions.

Turn Off Online Shopping

The convenience of being able to buy online is alluring. The drawback is that it opens the door to the illegal use of your account, especially if you store credit cards on the site. Unfortunately, Amazon enables this feature by default. We strongly urge you to disable it immediately after you’ve installed the product.

It’s a wise thing to do before the grandkids come to visit and place an unexpected order or three.

Don’t Use Voice Recognition

This feature, like the one above, sounds excellent in principle. If you’re living with others, you can each set it up to recognize it when you use it. Our advice is to avoid activating it, mainly if you live alone. It doesn’t add to the value of the product for a single-user account.

Features Rating

Even if you don’t have a lot of tech experience, setting up an Echo Show for the first time is quick and straightforward. You’ll need a Wi-Fi connection along with the Alexa mobile app on your smartphone. You can also connect to the device on a web browser.

First, you’ll connect the smart speaker to your mode of setup. Then, you’ll go back to your Wi-Fi. That’s it. The Echo Show does a lot of everyday tasks already enabled out-of-the-box. You can then customize it by adding ‘skills’.

The Amazon website groups these ‘skills’ by general category along with appropriate subcategories as necessary. You’ll see a list of permissions that it will need to access. It’s essential to view them to see who and to what you are consenting.

Using Your Echo Show

To get the most out of your purchase, you’ll need to connect it with your Amazon account. That will allow you to customize its use and perform routine maintenance. It’ll also give you the ability to monitor its operation more closely.

The default hot word for these devices is “Alexa,” but feel free to change it to something else within the mobile app. Make sure it’s not something you’d say routinely when you weren’t trying to interact with the smart speaker.

Accessibility

The Echo screen products have several accessibility features you can enable to make it easier to use if you have vision or hearing issues. For the former, there is color correction, color inversion, its VoiceView screen reader, and screen magnification.

For the latter, you can take advantage of the Echo Show’s closed captioning. With its hands-free operation, you can also change the volume of the playback to your liking by merely saying Volume Up or Volume Down.

Entertainment Options

In many ways, your Echo Show can complement or even replace a radio or TV. That can offer additional cost savings if you’re on a fixed budget. You can play music with either a free or paid subscription with a service like Spotify or Pandora. You can stream Amazon Music free if you have a Prime membership.

The advantage of these options is you can listen to the music you like when you want to sit back and relax.

You can also watch videos on YouTube, Prime, and other platforms. The Echo Show can even make it easier for you to read, or can read to you. For seniors who love to read, it’s disheartening when they begin to lose their eyesight.The Echo Show screen displays ebook text with features such as color correction and magnification for those who need vision aids. In addition, the VoiceView screen reader can read audiobooks out loud to you so you can continue to enjoy your favorite authors and stories without straining your eyes. If living alone is difficult sometimes, you’ll have a variety of options to keep you occupied. And when the grandkids visit, you’ll have plenty of games to play to keep them entertained.

Other Convenience Options

You’ll likely find a skill for any additional functionality you’ll need. It’s only a matter of looking. Some options you might consider are ways to connect with services and businesses with which you interact. You’ll find skills for financial institutions, insurance companies, and stores.

If you need a repair done, you can use your Echo Show to find a service rep. If you want to order food for delivery, you can just ask for it. You can check weather forecasts and news whenever you need, and if you’re stumped on a crossword puzzle, you can get a hint.

But that only scratches the surface. You can also request a Lyft or Uber, book a hotel room, or make a restaurant reservation. Anything you want to know is only seconds away. You can check anything from public transportation schedules to the TV listings to the history of flight.
Perhaps one of the most desirable of features is the ability to make calls without having to remember phone numbers. Your connected device can access contact information so that you need only say “Call Mary’s cell.” You can even make video calls if you need some face time with a loved one.

Smart Devices

Smart technology has revolutionized the way we manage our households. Connected devices offer additional ways to support your independent living on numerous fronts. You can get a handle on electricity bills with the installation of a smart thermostat and lights.

You can program them to go on when you need them without having to get up to flip a switch. You can set up your heating and cooling to a schedule that fits your lifestyle too.

You can also get the peace of mind you need with a boost in security with the installation of a smart lock or exterior camera with an Amazon Cam purchase. Many of these devices allow you to schedule its operation so that you don’t have to worry about forgetting to do something before bed.

Compatibility of connected devices varies with the type and manufacturer, though the Echo Show supports most major brands. To play it safe, check out Amazon’s list of products before you expand your Internet of Things (IoT) network. Some other options include:

    Garage Doors
    Connected Cars
    Vacuums
    Home Theaters
    Plugs

The main advantage of using these types of products is that it gives you more control over how they work along with notifications for things such as usage, low battery, or security breaches. They’ll go a long way toward making you feel safer in your home.

Size is probably the overriding advantage of the Echo Show over the Spot, the other smart screen device by Amazon. It’s especially true if you have vision issues.

Its larger display will allow you to make full use out of its screen magnification setting. You’ll also find viewing videos more enjoyable than with the smaller Echo Spot, with its superior playback and sound

However, the most significant differences lie under the hood with the Echo Show. It has a 5 MP camera along with a more advanced processor and better audio components. It has a touchscreen which makes it easy to use with both having hands-free control too.

On the downside, the Echo Show is considerably more expensive than the Spot. While it’s comparable in size to a Phablet, the shape makes it awkward to use other than a speaker or video player.

The Echo Show wields more than 50,000 skills and delivers all the easy to use voice command tasks that made Alexa a star, combined for the first time with a new array of video screen functions. Consider all the devices in your home that the Echo show could complement or replace.

Admittedly, much of technology can be difficult for seniors to understand. But the Echo Show is different. After all, what could be simpler than speaking a command?

In the same way that a walker can aid a senior’s mobility, an electronic assistant can aid a senior’s brain. With the Alexa conversational voice features, the Echo Show serves as a virtual companion to help a senior live an easier, independent, and fully functional life as they age in place at home. It can be the best roommate a senior could hope to have.