- I’ve owned Amazon‘s second-generation Echo Show for about six months now.
- I find having a screen on my digital assistant extremely helpful.
- Having a screen gives more information and context, and the following videos show exactly how.
I have owned an Amazon Echo Show, the one with the screen, for six months now, and I really enjoy using it. As we see more and more digital assistants with screens attached, I think the overall design just makes sense.
I find it incredibly helpful to see the information that is being presented to me, and having the screen often times provides some additional information you wouldn’t hear from Alexa coming from a screen-less speaker.
To give you a better sense of the specific use cases I’m talking about, I decided to shoot video of all the functions that I use my Echo Show for. Throughout all of my videos below, I cut off the beginning prompt where I say “Alexa” so your Echo isn’t accidentally triggered when watching.
It’s great to see everything at a glance with the Echo show. It will rotate through your upcoming events for the day and give you interesting suggestions for how to use Alexa.
Sometimes it’s the simple things that make Alexa so helpful. I often set timers when I have my hands full cooking. Seeing the actual timer count down on the screen is a nice detail.
Flash Briefing & Weather
I think one of the biggest use cases for having a screen is for media outlets to show you the news during their “flash briefing” segments. You will see how CNBC utilises this at the 53-second mark in this video. NPR also sometimes intros their reporters on camera and shows still photos throughout their reports, however, they did not on the day of this filming.
I also programmed my Echo to tell me the weather and subway status before it starts playing my flash briefing. Seeing the weather on screen adds a lot more context to the report, and you can see a few days at a glance. And note: my subway skill (“New York Subway & Transit Status”) has been finicky lately. I have to now tell Alexa “next” to have it go through each subway line. Otherwise, I love it.
Once in a blue moon, I will pull up a video, but for me personally, this is actually not a big use case for me when I have better options in my small apartment. I could see people using this more in a kitchen. Here, I tried screwing around with Hulu (which acted very slow for me) and pulling up YouTube via the Firefox browser on the Echo Show.
What’s this song? With the screen, it’s easy to just glance over and see! And seeing the album art is just a nice touch.
I would like to add some more “smartness” to my apartment, but for now, I just control my one free Philips Hue bulb that came free with the Echo bundle I bought and sometimes my smart air conditioner.
One of my favourite features of the Echo is just being able to view my photos on a rotating slideshow (mostly of my dog) as my home screen. The downside for me is having to use Amazon Photos to make this work since I am primarily a Google Photos user. I strategically upload whatever recent photos I like Amazon to display on my Echo. It’s so nice to be able to actually enjoy my photos instead of taking them and forgetting them almost immediately in my infinite camera roll.
I think these new assistants with screens attached will become the new form factor that becomes the norm as big tech companies continue to infiltrate our personal living space with… well… more screens. But, for me, this little guy has been a helpful asset to my life.