Amazon is no stranger to the world of smart devices. The company’s lineup of Echo smart speakers and smart displays features an array of web-connected products that put the power of Alexa at your fingertips. Using voice commands, touchscreens, and the Alexa app, users can employ Echo devices for recipe assistance, smart device management, music streaming, reminders, timers, and more.
Now there’s a new player in Amazon’s smart display realm. Announced at the company’s fall hardware event. The all-new Echo Show 15 is Amazon’s largest smart display yet, and features an improved neural processor as the brains behind some cutting-edge tech. While we’ve yet to get our hands on the new display (we’re still waiting on a release date), here’s everything we know about the device so far.
Before the Echo Show 15, Amazon’s lineup of smart displays were only meant to stand on flat surfaces, with bulky rear quarters designed to hold the devices upright (and to act as a home for the Echo Show’s speakers — more on that below). The end result, seen with models like the second-gen Show 5 and Show 8, was something like a picture frame, but they lacked a wall-mounting option.
In the case of the Show 15, the emphasis is entirely on wall-mounting (a stand will be sold separately). Amazon’s idea is that the Show 15 will be hung on the walls of communal living spaces in a home, acting as a kind of digital bulletin board and smart home command center for the entire family. As of right now, there’s only one color option for the Show 15 — a black frame with white matting around the central display. We do love that you’ll be able to choose to hang the Show 15 in portrait or landscape orientations — a great design consideration for the display’s Photo Frame feature.
In terms of screen size, this is the biggest Echo Show yet, with the main display measuring 15.6-inches and delivering full 1080p HD. Compare that to the previous ‘biggest’ Amazon display, the Show 10, which measured 10.1-inches. From one end of the frame to the next, the Show 15 measures 15.8-inches wide, 9.9-inches tall, and 1.4 inches from front to back, with a weight of 78.1-ounces.
Where it seemed that Amazon was heading in a wider soundstage direction with the Show 10’s dual one-inch tweeters and three-inch woofer, the Show 15 looks to take a step back in the audio department. The new display will be equipped with dual 1.6-inch full-range drivers, both located on the back of the display. While we’ve yet to hear the Show 15 in action, our guess is the sound won’t be as rich as that of the Show 10.
One other step back comes in the form of the onboard camera’s megapixel count — at least compared to the Show 8 and Show 10. Both of those models feature a 13-megapixel lens, while the Show 15’s cam is only 5 megapixels.
Like previous Echo Show models, privacy features are locked and loaded — at least in terms of physical implementations. There will be a physical shutter on the lens that can be toggled on/off, as well as a mic on/off button.
Amazon’s marketing for the Echo Show 15 is heavy on the family-inclusive element. The idea is that the latest smart display will emulate sticky notes on a refrigerator or a note left on the kitchen counter. Thanks to a new set of Alexa-powered home screen widgets, you and your family will be able to access and update shared calendars, personal sticky notes, to-do breakdowns, shopping lists, reminders, timers, and more — all from the main screen of the Show 15.
When the touchscreen isn’t being used, the Show 15 will display whatever images you have stored in the shared Photo Frame suite, along with preloaded Amazon images.
Outside of these whole-home functions, each family member will also be able to create their own unique user ID and profile, complete with individualized reminders, notes, recently played music, and other activities. As of right now, this feature is exclusive to the Show 15, although Amazon plans to add visual ID tracking into the second-gen Show 8 and Show 10 (as of when, we’re not sure yet).
The Show 15 is powered by the company’s all-new Amazon AZ2 neural processor — a step up from the AZ1 used in the Show 10. One of the biggest advancements with this new chip is the ability for the Show 15 to recognize faces — the driving force behind the display’s new visual ID function.
The idea behind the neural-edge engineering, in a nutshell, is that Amazon wants its smart displays to be able to primarily rely on machine-based learning (intel processed by the device, instead of data sent and received from a server) for voice- and facial-recognition applications, as well as other hardware and software functions.
While some may find this facial-recognition tech to be somewhat of a privacy concern, the plus side for something like visual ID profiles is the ability to recognize younger members of the household, allowing the Show 15 to censor certain content and applications not suitable for children.
Like the rest of the Echo Show lineup, you’ll be able to use the Show 15 as the brains behind your entire smart home operation. Through the touchscreen, voice commands, and Alexa app, you’ll be able to automate your smart lights, pull up live camera feeds, lock your smart locks, and more. There RE also a couple of new Show 15 features that will make controlling your smart home devices that much easier.
One of these features is a new smart home widget for the home screen that will add quick-access controls for compatible devices as soon as you wake the touchscreen. This option is especially convenient for hardware with relatively straightforward commands (smart locks that toggle from locked/unlocked). Amazon also has added a new picture-in-picture mode that you’ll be able to use with devices like cameras and video doorbells, so you can do things like pull up live footage from the video doorbell after you get a package delivery, while keeping Netflix open in the background. Speaking of Netflix …
The Show 15 will be loaded with the apps we love most — from movie/TV show streamers like Netflix, Amazon Video, and Hulu to music streaming from the likes of Spotify and Amazon Music. Sling TV and TikTok will also be available for the Show 15 (dates have not been yet announced).
Drop-in video and audio calls are alive and well with the Show 15, too. Once your family member or friend has given the OK for you to add them as a drop-in contact, you’ll be able to use the Show 15 to access their Amazon Echo devices for a phone call or video chat. Best of all, the facial-tracking feature found on the Show 10 will be available on the Show 15.
The Echo Show 15 is priced at $250 and is due to hit digital and brick-and-mortar shelves later this year. Similar to other Amazon smart displays, the Show 15 will come with a one-year limited warranty.
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