Amazon's $250 Echo Show 15 is a smart display for your wall

·Senior Editor
·4-min read

Amazon has already released updated versions of the 5, 8 and 10-inch Echo Shows earlier this year, but it’s not done with smart displays just yet. Today, at its annual fall event, the company announced the Echo Show 15, its largest one to-date. With a 15.6-inch 1080p display, the Echo Show 15 almost looks like a large picture frame. It can be wall-mounted or placed on a stand, in either portrait or landscape orientation. The Echo Show 15 will retail for $249.99.

Since it has such a large display, Amazon has introduced a redesigned home screen to go along with the Echo Show 15. You can configure it so that part of the screen has the usual rotating array of ambient content like headlines and weather updates (those who already have an Echo Show will be familiar with this), while the rest of it can be customized with various Alexa widgets. Think of the whole thing as a multifunctional family bulletin board.

Those widgets include useful applications like a family calendar, a shared shopping list, sticky notes, to-do lists and reminders. There's also a "What to Eat" widget that houses recipe recommendations from sources like Allrecipes and Epicurious, restaurant delivery choices and more. It even has a Blue Apron option that helps you order meal kits and shows you step-by-step recipe instructions. 

A "smart home favorites" widget helps you view and control your favorite smart home devices. You can also enable picture-in-picture live camera viewing so you can keep an eye on your kids while you’re cooking dinner. There’s also a widget to help you track package deliveries.

According to Amazon, these Alexa widgets will also be available on the other Echo Shows, but you’ll have to swipe the screen to see them. On the Echo Show 15, however, they can be arranged to appear on the home screen, which can’t be done on smaller-screened Echo Shows. In the event you have guests over and don’t want them to see all of your calendars and personal information, you can enable a picture frame mode on the Echo Show 15 so that it only shows photos or art work.

Amazon Echo Show 15
Amazon Echo Show 15

Additionally, the Echo Show 15 has a new visual ID feature that’s able to recognize your face, which will prompt it to show you personalized information such as your calendar appointments, reminders and notes. This is potentially useful in a multi-person household, as you can show sticky notes meant only for specific members of the family, for example. Additionally, if you enroll your child in visual ID, the device will show them age-appropriate content.

For those who have privacy concerns, visual ID is entirely optional, plus all of the computer vision information remains on the device, with nothing going to the cloud. The microphone and camera have power toggles, and there’s a built-in camera shutter. Plus, you can always view and delete your voice recordings.

Much like the other Alexa-powered smart displays, the Echo Show 15 has a bevy of entertainment options that include Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu and more. All Echo Shows will soon support TikTok and Sling TV streaming as well.

Amazon Echo Show 15
Amazon Echo Show 15

The Echo Show 15 is powered by Amazon’s AZ2 Neural Edge processor, which powers a lot of the device’s on-board machine learning and computer vision capabilities. It enables the aforementioned visual ID feature, and it also lets you teach Alexa your personal preferences. For example, you can tell Alexa you’re a vegetarian, and the next time you ask Alexa for recipes, it’ll remember that and only show you vegetarian recipes.

One particularly intriguing new feature is that you can also teach Alexa to recognize sounds. So for example, if your refrigerator beeps when it’s open for too long, you can teach Alexa to recognize that sound, and then notify you that you need to close your fridge door. You can teach it to recognize the doorbell, the microwave ding, the washing machine tune and various other household alerts. This sounds potentially very helpful, especially for those who are hard of hearing.

Amazon says that the Echo Show 15 will be available later this year. Countertop stands and under-cabinet mount accessories will be sold separately at a yet-to-be-determined price.

Follow all of the news from Amazon’s fall hardware event right here!

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