The Echo Show 15 may be the latest smart display from Amazon, yet this product is unlike any previous model to date. Though it still shares the company’s familiar moniker, the new Echo Show 15 doesn’t sit on a desk or a counter like its predecessors. Instead, it is destined for the wall, hung like a piece of art or a TV.
Formally announced at Amazon’s fall launch event, you can now preorder it for $249.99, though it won’t start shipping until Dec. 9.
Part smart photo frame, part smart home control panel
The obvious difference with the Show 15 is that it’s designed to be hung on a wall. And though it can be placed in either a vertical or horizontal orientation, the main focus is its 15.6-inch 1080p display with anti-glare coating. This substantially larger screen real estate, paired with a border and a frame, makes it more akin to a digital picture frame or Samsung Frame TV than your average smart device.
Once you’ve decided where and how to place it, you’ll notice the Echo Show’s interface is both touch- and voice-compatible. Amazon also lets you further customize it, allowing you to choose from local widgets like a shopping list, smart home control and sticky notes, or even apps from third parties. With two sizes of widgets, you can design and stick with the layout that works best for you. Better yet, if you have a Ring Doorbell or a Blink Camera, motion alerts can show up as picture-in-picture on the generous screen.
It’s here that the Show 15 can almost feel like a smart home control panel crossed with a digital whiteboard. Essentially, it’s a grid system that will let you place elements into a block. Amazon is also launching a shared family calendar, which will be a helpful centerpiece out of the box.
And, to further personalize the device depending on who is using it, the Echo Show 15 will also come with something called Visual ID. Though optional, enabling this feature allows the Show 15’s camera to scan your face and learn to recognize it, then change the interface to one that matches your preferences, customizing the Alexa responses to your queries. Visual ID is not exclusive to the Show 15 and will be rolling out to other Echo Show devices soon. Similarly, the updated user interface will also arrive on other Show devices in the near future — though on smaller screens, you’ll need to swipe to access widgets.
When it comes to watching content, the 15.6-inch display should easily make for a more immersive experience. And since it can be hung on the wall, it might be the perfect device to place in the kitchen or family room. Amazon already offers Hulu, Amazon Prime and Netflix, among others, but the company has promised access to TikTok and Sling TV soon. Speakers are built in, but don’t expect a significant amount of bass here, as the Show 15, like most TVs, is much slimmer and thinner than the more substantial Show 5, 8 or 10.
The other piece of the puzzle is Amazon’s AZ2 Neural Edge Processor. This is the second-gen chip made by Amazon and builds upon the fourth-gen Echo. The upgraded processor should let the Echo Show 15 quickly respond to queries and questions, and should be faster and more natural. The AZ2 Neural Edge also allows Visual ID to be processed completely on-device, which means none of this information will be sent to the cloud. And yes, you can ask Alexa on Echo Show 15 anything — just like any other Echo.
Echo Show 15 is up for preorder now at $249.99 in just one color: a white matte around the screen with a black frame. If you’d rather prop up the Show 15 — instead of drilling into a wall — Amazon will sell a stand along with mounting kits for an extra cost.
The new Show 15 is joining the broader lineup of smart displays from Amazon, including the Show 5, the smallest and most affordable and our pick for best smart display; the Echo Show 8, with a midsize display clear enough to see visual responses from Alexa, take in a TV show or even video chat with a friend; and the $249.99 Echo Show 10, which features a rotating screen that aims to always be in your line of sight.