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Amazon Echo Show (India) Review: Best-in-class audio combined with a smart display
IoT enabled devices are gradually becoming an essential part of our lifestyle. The credit for most of the part goes to faster internet connectivity at affordable price-points. More and more users are now willing to invest in smart home products (Connected lights, smart speakers, smart TVs, thermostats, etc.) in India for a 360-degree smart user experience at home and in office spaces.
- Powerful and immersive audio delivery
- 10.1-inch HD display adds a lot of value
- Easy setup
- Decent voice recognition
- No native YouTube
- Display only supports HD resolution
A big chunk of IoT enabled products consist of smart speakers. Google and Amazon offer a range of smart home speakers in India with prices as low as Rs. 3,999 (Google Home Mini). Brands like LG, Samsung and Apple are also unveiling their share of smart speakers for the growing Indian market.
Amazon has recently stepped up the game in smart home products category in India by unveiling the second generation Echo Show. Priced at Rs. 22,990, Echo Show is quite a versatile smart assistant as it combines great audio with a display. The 10-inch Smart screen is equipped with built-in Amazon's Alexa assistant and boasts Dolby tuned speakers. We used it to understand how a screen can change the smart home product experience. Here's what we found out.
Bright and vivid HD display adds a lot of value
The visual medium is always considered more informative and intuitive. Having a display strapped on a smart speaker really changes a lot of things. It adds more value to the interactive experience with a smart hub. With Echo Show, I was able to see the temperature readings on the screen with nice weather animations. News briefings played straight from the newsrooms on the screen. Moreover, movie trailers and music videos were played via voice commands which is a great experience. The vivid HD display can also be used to make Skype calls as the smart screen features a 5MP front-facing camera, and stream TV shows and movies straight from your Amazon Prime account.
The 10.1-inch HD display is not the best screen to watch movies but it works well indoors. As the Echo Show is mostly going to be placed on a table and would not be used a regular tablet, the HD screen gets the job done. Colours pop out really well and brightness levels are also adequate. The touch response is very smooth and you can also customize a number of settings to control the display output. Echo Show can also be used as a digital photo frame. You can customize the big screen to display stock images or pictures from your Amazon photos. Just make sure you place the Echo Show at a convenient spot to make the most out of the vivid display.
In a nutshell, the HD screen on Echo Show makes the overall smart assistant experience quite intuitive. The response to your voice commands can now be seen on the big display which makes Amazon Echo Show an interesting proposition.
No Native YouTube support, thick bezels, no Netflix support
The smart display experience on Echo Show can be improved multifold. Native YouTube app can be included; however, it seems like a distant dream as Google has blocked the access for Amazon devices citing some violations of its services. For now, the YouTube videos are being streamed via web results fetched from Amazon Silk and Firefox web browsers. Thus, Echo Show struggles to fetch the correct videos from the web in the absence of native YouTube app support. This is quite annoying as you have to give multiple voice commands to Echo Show for the desired result. Besides, you cannot stream videos from Netflix.
On a brighter side, you have the support for Amazon prime videos and also an option to access music videos through direct integration with Hungama video service. Amazon can also improve the video playback experience (for the next gen. Echo Show) by reducing the size of the bezels surrounding the display on Echo Show. Last but not least, voice commands support can be extended for better control while streaming videos on the smart screen. For now, it is only limited to volume control.
Sound: Best sounding smart assistant
Until now, LG's XBoom W7 AI ThinQ smart speaker topped our list of best-sounding smart assistants. It is now replaced by the Echo Show. The audio delivery on Amazon's smart screen is surprisingly good. The smart screen is powered by dual, side-firing 2-inch Neodymium drivers. Combined with a passive bass radiator tuned by Dolby, Echo Show creates an incredible soundstage that can easily fill up a big room. I have kept the Echo Show in a 17x11 feet room and not for once I felt the need to connect the Echo Show with external speakers.
The sound produced by Echo Show is rich and loud and serves well for most of the genres. The audio settings are bit bass-heavy by default; however, the underlying software powering up the Echo Show allows you to tune the audio as per your requirement. Echo Show also gets a built-in equalizer to give you more control over audio delivery. Distortion is very minimal, even at higher volumes. Overall, Audiophiles will not have any major issues with the sound delivery on Echo Show. The smart assistant produces deeper and fuller audio and sounds better than all the smart speakers available in the market.
Music Streaming Service support
As far as music streaming service support is concerned, Echo Show can play music from in-house Amazon Prime Music and other services such as Saavn, Hungama Music, Gaana or TuneIn. If you have purchased a premium subscription from Spotify, you can stream music wirelessly on Echo Show. The smart assistant can also be set up for multi-room music to stream music across compatible Echo devices.
Integrated Smart Hub
Amazon Echo Show comes equipped with a built-in Zigbee smart home hub solution. If you have other smart home products such as IoT enabled smart bulbs, thermostats, etc., you can set up and manage your smart home devices easily. You can simply ask Echo Show to find smart home devices by giving voice command- "Alexa, discover my devices". Once you have set up the smart device, you can control them with your voice or via on-screen controls on Echo Show's HD display.
Voice recognition response
Voice is going to be the primary medium to interact with Amazon Echo Show. The smart screen is backed by Amazon's Alexa assistant, which has improved a lot in last year and can now recognize Indian accents very well. Once you have set up the device by installing the Amazon Alexa app on your smartphone, you can start giving voice commands to Echo Show. It can answer most of your questions with relevant information.
The voice recognition on Echo Show is pretty good. The smart screen comes equipped with 8 microphones, 4 at front and 4 at the top edge of the display unit. The Echo Show can recognize the voice and reply with relevant information from up to 8-feet away. The smart assistant struggled to recognize voice commands when music was being streamed at higher volume levels, which is usually the case with most of the smart home assistants.
Price and Availability
Amazon Echo Show is priced at Rs. 22,990. It can be purchased from Amazon India and select retail stores across the country. These offers are available on the purchase of Echo Show:
• Buy an Echo Show and get a Philips Hue bulb at no additional cost, offer available on Amazon.in and retail stores
• Get Flat Rs. 2,000 cashback on purchase via Citibank debit and credit cards
• Purchase an Echo Show for as low as Rs. 1,917 per month via No-cost EMI across leading banks
Amazon Echo Show is the best-sounding smart speaker available in the Indian market. The icing on the cake is the 10-inch HD display that turns this smart assistant into a smart screen to extend the utility multifold. However, the limited visual support in terms of video streaming is a big miss that Amazon should really improve in the next gen. Echo Show. If you have multiple IoT enabled products at home, the Amazon Echo Show is a very good investment.