After a few weeks of looking at the box, I finally unpacked my Echo Show and tried it out. I placed it next to my original Echo, muted the Echo, and went through setup. There’s still a lot to glean from its use, but here are some initial thoughts:

The good…

  • The show seems to work better for directional interaction. It triggers more easily than the Echo. We’ve seen this when comparing 360 degree mic arrays vs 180 degree in our own testing so there’s no surprise. Yes, there are eight microphones but the DSP may be biased to see interaction from the screen direction.
  • The GUI for voice interaction is great. It’s very responsive and shows direction of arrival well.
  • The configuration was very easy. I like that it’s already associated to an account and setup with WiFi is very simple when you have a screen.

The meh…

  • It seemed smaller than what I’d expect. Not sure why, just did.
  • The screen seems dim.
  • It seems to have more false accepts for trigger than the Echo.
  • I can’t get Alexa Calling working, which is the biggest motivation for having this device. Maybe it’s because I’m outside of a supported Alexa region but I’ve tried a few workarounds to no avail.
  • It doesn’t swivel easily so you’d better like the angle where you set it up.
  • It took a long time for it to get up and running when first plugged in, including two resets. Also, why force to watch a tutorial video? Ugh.

The interesting…

  • It has presence detection. The screen brightens when you walk in a room. This could also be used to adjust trigger sensitivity. Or let Amazon know if you’re around.
  • This should definitely have apps like Uber Eats or Amazon shopping. Maybe even a bar code reader app.
  • There’s definitely a lot of untapped potential in this device.

I’ll write more after more playing around.

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