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7 things you didn’t know the Echo Show 15 could do

The Amazon Echo Show 15 is currently the largest smart display on the market. At 15-inches on the diagonal, it’s a massive device with a lot of functionality packed into its borders. The Echo Show 15 can do everything you expect other Alexa smart displays to do, including controlling your smart home, answering questions, playing games, and more.

But the features don’t stop there. The Echo Show 15 has several lesser-known, almost hidden features that make it even more useful than it might seem at first glance.

The Echo Show 15 works in both portrait and landscape mode.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Echo Show 15 can work in both portrait or landscape mode

The Echo Show 15′s massive amount of screen real estate is great for watching content, taking part in video calls, or for browsing recipes. If you plan to use it as a kitchen-specific device, mounting it in portrait mode might be a better choice than landscape mode. You’ll be able to see more of the recipe at a time and look ahead to the next steps without scrolling — and it avoids the issue of touching your screen with potentially messy hands.

If you plan to watch a lot of content or use the Echo Show 15 to participate in video calls, landscape mode is a better choice. In landscape mode, it fits the 16:9 ratio expected of most streamed content.

The Echo Show 15 can let you peek in on your home

The built-in 1080p camera in the Echo Show 15 doesn’t function as a security camera, at least not in the traditional sense. You can’t use it to monitor for motion or alert you to activity within your home, but you can drop in through the Alexa app to see what’s happening in front of the device.

A message displays on the screen when someone is watching through the camera, so no one will be able to check in on you without you knowing. While a fully-featured security camera would be a great addition to the smart display, the ability to check in on your home throughout the day is still a nice feature.

The Echo Show 15 can use widgets

The large screen is best taken advantage of by dividing it into subsections based on use. At present, there aren’t a ton of widget options available, but Amazon hopes to add more in the future (and maybe even allow custom widgets, I hope.) That said, the widgets that exist are great for organizing.

The Echo Show 15 can display your shopping list, your favorite smart home devices, your schedule, music suggestions, deliveries, photos and videos, and more. You can access all of this information with a tap. If you use the display in your office, the to-do list and calendar onscreen can help you stay organized.

The Echo Show 15 is a great device for watching content.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Echo Show 15 supports picture-in-picture

One of the best features of the Echo Show 15 is the ability to view your security cameras on it. If someone rings your doorbell, you can ask Alexa to show you the front door. You could keep an eye on a newborn while you’re in the kitchen cooking dinner. But what makes this feature even better is the fact that you can use picture-in-picture.

You could binge your favorite show and have your doorbell feed pop up in a smaller window. The baby monitor could be a section of the screen while your dinner recipe takes up the rest. It’s another feature that leans heavily on the 15-inch screen.

The Echo Show 15 can act as a karaoke machine

Ever feel the need for an impromptu night of bad singing? Maybe you’re a gifted vocalist and it’s only my friends that are subjected to off-key crooning. In either case, the Echo Show 15 makes an excellent karaoke machine.

All you need to do is say, “Alexa, play [song] by [artist]” and the music will appear on-screen. Tap the Lyrics icon to see the words, and then you and all your friends can follow along.

The Echo Show 15 can recognize you through Visual ID

If your Echo Show 15 is a family device, it can be a little tough to use only a single profile and keep everyone’s calendar, shopping list, and to-do list organized. By creating separate profiles and assigning each one a Visual ID, the Echo Show 15 will display personalized content based on who is currently viewing the device.

Each profile can have different levels of access and permission. The Echo Show 15 stores the profiles and facial IDs on-device, not in the cloud. This makes the feature more secure and eliminates worry about your personal information. If you ever want to disable the feature, just slide the privacy shutter on the camera closed.

Amazon Echo Show 15 hanging horizontally on the wall in a kitchen.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Echo Show 15 has earned a spot as one of the best smart displays on the market, and certainly the biggest, giving it the features you would expect from an Echo display, plus a lot of things you might not expect.

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Patrick Hearn
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Patrick Hearn writes about smart home technology like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, smart light bulbs, and more. If it's a…
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