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Amazon Echo Show 15 review: Alexa on the big screen


Amazon's Echo Show 15 is about the largest smart display you can find.
Enlarge / Amazon’s Echo Show 15 is about the largest smart display you can find.

Scharon Harding

When getting a display of any type, the first thing to consider is size. And unless the display will be moving around, chances are that the bigger it is, the better your experience will be. TV manufacturers have gone big, smartphones (to my chagrin) insist on doing so, and now it’s time for a newer category, smart displays, to step onto the big screen.

The Amazon Echo Show 15 isn’t just the biggest Echo package yet, it has the biggest screen you can easily find in a smart display of any brand. The 15.6-inch display is meant to be anchored and serve as a central organization hub for your household. Boasting Alexa-powered widgets like shared calendars, shopping lists, to-do lists, and the abilities to call household members and manage your other smart devices, there’s a lot of utility to take advantage of.

Navigating the Echo Show 15’s content sometimes feels clunky, and some features are hard to discover, despite Amazon’s efforts to stuff the UI with tips. Different family member profiles can be activated via facial recognition, but the transition isn’t always smooth. You’ll have to train your family to use the Echo Show 15 to make it really worthwhile. But if you’re going down the path of smart displays, the Echo Show 15 comes with a bigger screen and bigger possibilities than the competition.

Specs at a glance: Amazon Echo Show 15
Screen 15.6-inches, 1920 x 1080 resolution
CPU Amlogic Pop1 SoC with Amazon AZ2 neural edge processor
Camera 5MP
Microphones 2x
Audio 2x 1.6-inch tweeters
Sensors Accelerometer, RGB ambient light sensor
Power adapter 30W
Size 15.8 x 9.9 x 1.4 inches (402 x 252 x 35 mm)
Weight 4.88 lbs (2,215 g)
Warranty 1 year
Price (MSRP) $250
Other perks Wall mount, mounting template, 4x screws, and 4x anchors for optional mounting

The bigger, prettier smart display

The Echo Show 15 is about the biggest smart display you can find. The 1920 x 1080 screen measures 15.6 inches diagonally. That tops the 10.1-inch Echo Show 10. The extra size has obvious benefits, like easier navigability, the ability to view more on-screen at once and making the Picture Frame feature more impactful. But it doesn’t come with a larger price. As of writing, the Echo Show 15 and Echo Show 10 are the same price

Meanwhile, the largest Facebook Portal, the $300 Portal+, is only 14 inches, Google’s Nest Hub Max is 10 inches, and Lenovo has the 10.1-inch Smart Display 10″.

The Portal+, however, has a sharper, 2160 x 1440 resolution. That all adds up to greater pixel density for Facebook’s display (185.43 pixels per inch) over the Echo Show 15 (141.2 ppi). Naturally, the Echo Show 15 also loses the ppi contest over smaller screens, like the Nest Hub Max (1280 x 800 for 150.94 ppi). A sharp display is important, considering the Echo Show 15 offers access to streaming services, like Netflix and Hulu. Given that you’re primarily going to touch and read things off of it, more screen real estate is better.

You can set the Echo Show 15 to adjust brightness based on how much light is in the room. That’s not an uncommon feature. In fact, the Portal+ can adjust both brightness and color in this way. I didn’t find the feature that useful though because the Echo Show 15 wouldn’t drop past 50 percent brightness, even in a virtually pitch-black room.

Despite being a pretty hefty piece of hardware, the Echo Show 15 blended into my home’s aesthetic easily. Unlike other smart displays, it doesn’t look like tablet glued to a wireless speaker. A black frame contrasts the display’s thick, but classy-looking, white border, allowing the device to play the roles of a picture frame, painting, or bulletin board with ease. The design made me easily fall in love with the Photo Frame feature, which displays your photos or a carousel of themed images and/or paintings.

In addition to this seasonal theme, the Photo Frame mode can carousel nature, art, or your own photos.
Enlarge / In addition to this seasonal theme, the Photo Frame mode can carousel nature, art, or your own photos.

Scharon Harding

And by combining pleasant images with Alexa’s Nature Sounds skill, which plays peaceful noises through the display’s speakers, the Echo Show 15 added an unexpected calming ambience to its room.

Uniquely, the Echo Show 15 can sit or be mounted vertically or horizontally. Not everyone has counter space to dedicate to a smart display, and mounting it makes using facial recognition easier, as it requires the camera to see the user at eye level. This makes finding the perfect mounting position difficult (unless your family is all the same height). Additionally, the Echo Show 15’s 5-foot cord may leave you in need of an extension cord.

The back of the Echo Show 15.
Enlarge / The back of the Echo Show 15.

Scharon Harding

If you don’t think the Echo Show 15 is worth the holes in your wall, you can use a stand instead, but you’ll have to pay $30 extra.



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