After officially announcing the new Echo Show back in early May, the first round of reviews are starting to pile in. That’s ahead of Wednesday’s official release date. So how does the $230 screen-enabled smart device stack up? Early reviews have been pretty positive aside from expected concerns regarding privacy due to the built-in camera….
The Verge noted its care-free design as a standout feature:
When you’re not using it, it doesn’t ask anything of you. Sure, there are hassles when you can’t remember that exact right keyword, but they tend to go away once you learn them. Even though you can’t do everything you might want to, you don’t really expect that from an Echo. Instead, the Show does little things like giving you a helpful screen that lists your timers so you don’t have to keep asking after them…From nearly any other company, adding a screen would have resulted in feature-itis of the worst kind. By holding back, the Echo Show feels like it does more. Its strength is in its simplicity.
Wired called Echo Show a step in the right direct, with room for growth:
Right now, it’s simply an Echo with a screen, giving Alexa more to do and more ways to be useful. The Show does have one distinct advantage, though: At the very least, it’s just an Echo. With the full benefit of two years of developer input and Amazon improvement. And a much, much better speaker. Not a bad place to start.
Business Insider sees potential with the built-in display, but not for everyone:
The Echo Show, however, is different in one big way: It sports a 7-inch touchscreen. To use Amazon’s tagline, “now Alexa can show you things.” Wisely, Amazon is hyping up the ability to use it as a video phone, but it has some other neat tricks, too. I’ve been using the Echo Show for the last several days. It’s an intriguing experiment, and it’ll get a lot of Alexa fans excited. But it probably isn’t for everyone.
The New York Times found the added functionality of a built-in display to be a next-level Echo experience:
The Echo Show’s greatest strengths are its stationary applications: getting a quick glance at your calendars while checking the time, for instance, or having a dedicated TV screen in the kitchen for learning recipes. Calendar addicts in the office, people who cook with Alexa and, more broadly, Alexa fans with multiple Echo products deployed throughout the home will love having another Echo, this time with a screen.
Engadget has Echo Show labeled as a “worthwhile investment” for those looking to add a digital assistant:
Amazon essentially created a category with the Echo, and the Echo Show marks the first significant re-thinking of what a voice-activated home-hub can be. Ultimately, the screen isn’t essential, but it proved to be very useful. And the improved speaker quality is almost worth the $50 upgrade over the standard Echo by itself.
Gizmodo’s review focused on more of the struggles, but noting there is potential:
If you feel the need to upgrade from your old Echo, or if you’re finally ready to experience the first truly consumer grade digital brain for you home, then yes, you really need to go order an Amazon Echo Show immediately, it’s that good. But it could be much better, and until Amazon improves the interaction between OS and skills and makes Alexa more intuitive, it’s still gonna be a far cry from that Jetsons future I’m ready for.
Mashable loved all of the tricks that Echo Show offers:
Amazon Echo Show is always on, and by on, I mean engaging you with information. The home screen displays the time and a rotating carousel of news and offers to help you discover more about Alexa’s deep well of capabilities. Don’t confuse the Echo Show screen with a tablet. Amazon didn’t cram one of its Fire tablets inside a box. There are no apps here, and touch is a convenience you’ll use mostly as a last resort.
Interested in picking up an Echo Show for yourself? You can currently pre-order one over at Amazon for $229.99 shipped with a release date of this Wednesday, June 28th.