Your ticket for the big Show

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Amazon makes Echo Show smart displays in a bunch of different form factors. Opposite the tiny Echo Show 5 on the screen size spectrum is the Echo Show 15, a giant 15.6-inch Alexa display designed like a framed picture and designed to hang on the wall. It’s pricey at an MSRP of $250, but if you can stomach the price, you’re getting one of the most unique and versatile smart displays around.

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The Echo Show 15 is a very large smart display with an attractive design, but its price is just a tad too high for what it offers.

Features
  • Display: 1920 x 1080 touch screen
  • Sound: 1.6-inch stereo speakers, 8W total
  • Colors: Black with white bezel
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth and Wi-Fi 6
  • List of prices: $250
Advantages
  • It is enormous!
  • Works in portrait or landscape orientation
  • Home screen widgets are handy
The inconvenients
  • Expensive
  • Lacks some smart home features that other Echo devices have
  • Speakers are mediocre
Buy this product

Design, Material, Box Contents

The Echo Show 15 is the biggest smart display you can buy right now, just edging out other “big screen” options like the Echo Show 10 and Nest Hub Max. It has a 15.6-inch 1080p LCD touchscreen surrounded by thick white bezels, with a thinner black bezel around the whole thing. It’s an overstatement to say it actually looks like a framed photo, but it evokes one, which I think gives the design a more intimate feel than most smart speakers and displays.

The back of the device, without the wall bracket attached.

Like a picture frame, the Show 15 is designed to hang on the wall, but Amazon sells an optional stand that lets you put it on a counter or table for $30. (I have mine leaning against the wall on a low bookcase, no support, and it works well too.) You can use it in either portrait or landscape orientation, which provides flexibility I didn’t realize it had. lacked in other smart displays. I like to leave mine in portrait; it can still display a lot of information this way, but it takes up less counter space.


There’s a five-megapixel webcam with an inconspicuous physical privacy shutter at the top (in the left or right corner, depending). Given that the Echo Show 8 and Echo Show 10 each have 13-megapixel webcams, the Show 15’s lower resolution camera is disappointing, but it should be fine for most people. The camera shutter switch, a mute button and volume keys sit along one edge, and there are two speakers on the back.

The Show 15 comes with a five-foot power cable, documentation, and all the hardware you need to mount it on a wall. However, it does not include any means of concealing the power cable; if you want it hidden, you’ll either have to provide your own cable cover or run it through your wall. Five feet also seems awfully short for a device that many people will hang about five feet off the ground. You can of course use an extension cable – either a standard cable or one of those specially designed numbers – but that’s an added cost and hassle that shouldn’t be associated with such an expensive device.


Display, audio and Alexa

The main event here is the Show 15’s namesake 15 (0.6)-inch display. It’s 4:09 p.m., and I’m ambivalent about it. Few of the photos are 16:9, so if you want it to show your photo library, the Show 15 has to crop your photos to fit. This aspect ratio also blows the Show 15 cover to some extent – when was the last time you saw a 16:9 picture frame? At the same time, a lot of people are going to use this thing as a kitchen TV, and it’s the right aspect ratio for most videos. It’s not my preference, but I think it was the right choice.

It is also a good screen. It’s a 1080p LCD touchscreen, with good brightness and contrast, and sufficiently vivid colors. There is some color shifting if you look at it off-axis, which is an annoyance I’m not used to dealing with in other smart displays. But you won’t often pile a group around the thing to watch movies anyway.

There are two speakers on the Show 15, both on the back. There is bass and the music gets quite loud. The grilles are angled so they vent to either side (or above and below) of the screen rather than straight into the wall you might hang it on, but the sound does sound a bit hollow and echoed (sorry). Show 15 does not ring wrong, but I expect more from a $250 device. It doesn’t sound as good to my ear as even the Echo Show 8, let alone high-end smart speakers.

Being an Amazon product, the Show 15 is of course equipped with Alexa. Alexa is as good at what it does here as it is anywhere else: you can control your smart devices, ask questions, play media, the whole nine yards.

Compared to Google Assistant, Alexa doesn’t feel as polished. My Show 15 mishears my commands and questions more often than my Nest Hub Max and sometimes responds before I’ve finished speaking. Alexa’s default voice is also still too stiff and robotic for my taste. In day-to-day use, however, I didn’t notice any real limiting differences in functionality.

The Show 15 has a new trick, though, with widgets you can pin to its expansive home screen. There aren’t many choices, but overall they are useful. Some of the best are what you’d expect: there’s weather, a calendar (which you can sync with services like Google and Outlook), reminders and smart home controls. But there are also duds, like Amazon product recommendations wants you to buy again think you might be short and a widget that suggests a “recipe of the day” without considering your food preferences.

Unlike many other Echo devices (including the regular Echo base model), the Show 15 doesn’t include a Zigbee wireless radio to directly control smart home elements like SmartThings devices or Hue bulbs. I already have a discreet Hue hub, so that wasn’t an issue for me – but if you were looking to build a smart home from the Show 15, know that it’s not as flexible as other high-ends. Echo speakers and displays.


The Show 15’s video interface offers a decent selection of services, including Amazon Prime Video (obviously), Netflix, Hulu, and even YouTube and TikTok through web browser interfaces, but no Disney+, HBO Max, or Apple TV+.

The camera stores very well when the shutter is closed. (That “camera off” notification is only visible for a second or two after pressing the switch.)

The Show 15 can only pull images from Amazon Photos or Facebook, so if you don’t already keep your photos on one of those services, you’ll need to move them to view them on this screen. I realize this is a pie-in-the-sky wish, but Google Photos compatibility would be a dream here.

Should I buy it?

If you want a large Alexa screen, Of course. The Show 15 is pricey, but your $250 gets you a refreshingly stylish large smart display, making it easier to blend into your home. It’s easier to justify when it’s on sale, which Prime Day is.

A large screen really helps assistant aspect of a virtual assistant, too. Having a dedicated place to see weather, calendars, reminders, and shopping lists — all at once if you want — can be invaluable for anyone, like me, who struggles to stay organized.

I’m a little annoyed overall Amazon-ness of the thing; I don’t need to be reminded to buy more stuff, and I miss services like Disney+. But if the oddities seem tolerable to you, or if you’re already grounded in the Amazon ecosystem, you’ll probably love the Echo Show 15.

Buy it if…

  • You’re already all-in on Alexa and want a big smart screen.
  • The high price does not scare you.

Don’t buy it if…

  • You want a kitchen TV with all the video apps.
  • You don’t want to use Amazon’s services.

UPDATED: 07/13/2022 BY TAYLOR KERNS

Long term impressions

This review was updated to be accurate as of July 2022, including impressions from long-term testing.

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