As the OG digital voice assistant powering Amazon’s Echo line of smart speakers, Alexa’s main function is to handle audio requests like forecasting the weather, streaming music or coming in clutch with a bad pun when asked to tell a joke. But it’s Amazon’s addition of larger, even smarter touchscreens on the Echo Show 10 and Echo Show 15 that takes this technology to the next level.
Indulging in a smart display ups Alexa’s voice-only game by allowing you to do things like watch YouTube videos, check out live weather forecasts, make video calls, check your security feeds and even sing along with lyrics for a homemade karaoke night. But at $250 apiece, these 10-inch and 15-inch smart screens are among the most expensive Alexa devices Amazon sells.
You should get an Amazon Echo Show 10 if…
You don’t mind being followed
It takes a little getting used to, but the Echo Show 10’s weirdest feature — and possibly its most useful — is its motion tracking. That means the device can turn its screen toward whoever it spies and follow them around the room. That might be useful if you’re watching a video or on a video call, but it’s kind of creepy if you’re not even interacting with it.
Thankfully, you can tweak the settings to pay varying degrees of attention to people or even disable motion completely. We think the sweet spot is allowing the Show 10 to stay dormant until you summon Alexa, then let it swivel to face and follow you for however long you’re interacting with it.
The Echo Show 10’s 360 degrees of rotation makes it perfect for the kitchen, especially on a countertop where it will angle itself directly at you, whether you’re eating at the counter cooking or even cleaning up. It’s also a great way to keep the kids entertained. Some may say it even humanizes Alexa when it turns to you just to answer a question. Or, you know, not.
You make a lot of video calls to other Alexa households
The Echo Show 10’s ability to follow you around the room comes in especially handy during video calls to other Echo Show devices or the Alexa mobile app. Not only can it pan around the room to find you, but the Echo Show 10’s 13-megapixel camera can also zoom in on your face, framing it perfectly for the other caller. Together, the pan and zoom features work out especially well when the other caller is an older relative like a grandparent and the callers on your end are fidgety young grandchildren.
Also boosting the Echo Show 10’s usefulness as a video calling device is the unit’s triple-speaker array. With two 1-inch tweeters and an impressively deep 3-inch woofer, the Echo Show 10 broadcasts audio both loudly and clearly.
Comparatively speaking, despite being wall-mountable, the Echo Show 15 has a surprisingly low-quality 5-megapixel webcam that neither pans nor scans, and the device’s two 1.6-inch speakers are simply adequate.
Amazon’s calling app only connects to other Amazon Echo devices or the Alexa mobile app; however, available Alexa apps for Zoom and Skype let you call anyone on either of those services. Setup is a little more involved and making calls isn’t quite as intuitive as with the default app, but face tracking still works once you get past those initial hurdles.
You should get the Echo Show 15 if…
You want to use it primarily as a photo frame
At 15 inches and 1080p, the Echo Show 15’s display isn’t the highest-resolution LCD panel available. However, considering that most small TVs are still 720p — including many twice this size — and given the distance you’ll likely be viewing it from (i.e., not as close as a laptop screen), the Echo Show 15’s screen looks darn good.
Designed to look like a high-quality picture frame with a crisp, clean design, the Echo Show 15 is perfect for displaying photos from your phone’s camera roll. Plus, you can mount it in portrait orientation to fully display all your vertical smartphone photos. Add in Amazon’s unlimited photo storage for Prime members, and the Echo Show 15 is a shutterbug’s dream device come true.
You’ve been pining for a dedicated touchscreen smart home hub
Smart home enthusiasts who’ve been longing for a dedicated touchscreen hub to control their smart lights, outlets, door locks, garage door openers and various other gadgets may find their wish has been granted with the Echo Show 15.
With its customizable home screen layout, you can turn the Show 15 into a full-time smart home control center with buttons to turn devices on and off, set scenes and more. While other Amazon Echo Show smart displays serve a somewhat similar purpose, none do it quite so elegantly or usefully as this. It’s also a great calendar hub for busy families who can easily add and switch out schedules using the touchscreen.
You won’t find anything quite like the Echo Show 10 or Echo Show 15 in any other smart home ecosystem — Google’s closest competitor is a stationary 10-inch screen, and Apple only offers the screenless HomePod Mini.
The Show 10 and 15 may offer different experiences, but their distinct strengths and weaknesses make choosing just one a little simpler.
If you’re looking for an Alexa companion in the kitchen that will let you watch videos, look up recipes and make video calls, the Echo Show 10 is the smart display for you. If you’d rather display photos, interact with a touchscreen calendar and control your vast collection of smart home gadgets and gizmos from, say, a main hallway or a foyer, the Echo Show 15 will serve you better.
10.1-inch HD display with a 1280 x 800 resolution
15.6-inch HD display with a 1920 x 1090 resolution
MediaTek 8183 processor and AZ1 Neural Edge processor
Amazon AZ2 processor
13-megapixel camera with a privacy shutter
5-megapixel camera with a privacy shutter
Two 1-inch tweeters and a 3-inch woofer
Two 1.6-inch tweeters
Far-field microphone array
Far-field microphone array
|Dimensions and weight||
9.9 x 9 x 6.7 inches; 5.64 pounds
15.8 x 9.9 x 1.4 inches; 4.9 pounds