In 2014, Amazon introduced us to a hands-free always on tech device that answered to the name Alexa. A few Echos later, at the end of 2017, Amazon introduced the Echo Show- their first device with a screen. Designed around your voice, the voice-activated smart home device will provide you with information, music, news, sports scores, or even the most recent weather report.
Getting to Know My Echo Show
I received the Amazon Echo Show just before Christmas. My first impression was that the smart home device was a lot sleeker than the first Echo. Designed with a screen, Echo Show has the impressive capability to hear you from any direction–even while music is playing. Technology-wise, the voice-activated Show boasts noise cancellation, an all-new eight microphone array and Amazon’s beam-forming technology. Powered by Dolby, Echo Show’s speakers are fine-tuned to deliver crisp vocals with dynamic bass response and immersive sound. And, with multi-room music, you can play music across multiple Echo devices simultaneously.
I was instantly drawn to the Echo Show’s screen, which is roughly a little bit bigger than an iPhone 7 plus. I found it easier to connect to a device that can show me things. For example, it was nice that when I asked Alexa for the latest news briefing, that, like magic, the newsman from the BBC appeared and gave me the headlining stories. Besides the BBC, Alexa also provided video content from The Telegraph and MTV. As a person who is quite known for going to the supermarket and buying what we want and forgetting to buy what we need, I found Alexa to be quite helpful when it came to creating food shopping lists. Whenever I ran out of something, like milk, I just shouted “Alexa put milk on my shopping list”, and it was done. The best part was that my list was shared on my mobile phone app, so when I was in the supermarket, I could refer to it.
“Whenever I ran out of something, like milk, I just shouted “Alexa put milk on my shopping list” and it was done”
Now a member of the family, Alexa got us switching off the tv and listening to our favourite songs from Amazon Music. It even turned into a karaoke session at times, thanks to Alexa showing us the lyrics to the song on the screen. Although we did not use Echo Show for this, other perks that are available include a live camera feed from the nursery or your front door and control of smart home devices from brands like Ring, Arlo, Philips Hue, Hive, TP-Link, Netatmo, WeMo, Smart Things, and Tado.
Loving Alexa’s Sassy Attitude
As exciting as it was to have Alexa in our home over Christmas, there were a few things that made me realise that she was not as smart as I would like. Sometimes simple requests were ignored. Other times she didn’t understand me. Then there were those few moments when we were sitting watching TV, Alexa would shout out of the blue something like “I can’t play that song”. Huh? Although these moments were not frequent, they did give me the feeling that, technology-wise, the Echo Show was not quite there yet.
Besides Alexa learning about me, I also had to learn about Alexa. Sensitive to being spoken to incorrectly, Alexa requires you to communicate with her in a certain way, or else she cannot help. So I became fluent in Alexa’s lingo. This made it easier for me to access her brain and find out unimportant information like “Alexa, how far is the sun from earth?” -it’s 93 million miles by the way.
Promising to always to get smarter, the Amazon Echo Show introduced me to a new way of taking control of my home by assisting me with specific tasks throughout the day. This is a device that is no longer only coveted by early adopters of smart home tech, it is quickly becoming an essential piece of technology for the modern home. Now that I have experienced Alexa’s brilliant mind, I look forward to the day that the Echo becomes the kind of voice-activated smart home device that does not require me to download apps or skills for it to adequately function. I want to be able to unbox it, switch it on and say “Alexa can you…”.
The Echo Show is available now for £199.99 from Currys.
Founding editor-in-chief of FashNerd.com, Muchaneta is currently one of the leading influencers writing about the merger of fashion with technology and wearable technology. She has also given talks at Premiere Vision, Munich Fabric Start and Pure London, to name a few. Besides working as a fashion innovation consultant for various fashion companies like LVMH Atelier, Muchaneta has also contributed to Vogue Business, is a senior contributor at The Interline and an associate lecturer at London College of Fashion, UAL.