The Echo show 15 first released in December 2021. Much of the initial conversation about the smart screen was that it was a major novelty – a huge screen that didn’t have the same functionality as the Echo show 10† It was released in the midst of the work-from-home wave, and with no video conferencing capabilities, the Echo Show 15 just didn’t seem to offer much.
That couldn’t be further from the truth. The large amount of screen real estate introduced a lot of utility that previous models did not have. Widgets make it one of the most useful smart displays I’ve ever used, and that’s saying a lot for someone who routinely works with these devices.
I’ve downgraded the Echo Show 15 on my desk and a Nest Home Hub to a far corner.
I review many smart devices. A lot. Most of them don’t get used very much after the first few months. If it doesn’t fit into my daily routine or somehow benefits my workflow, it’s boxed and stored.
The fact that the Echo Show 15 still has a proud place on my desk says a lot about its usefulness. The smart display had a lot going for it when it first launched last year and is now even better.
I have four widgets always displayed on my Echo Show 15: my to-do list, my calendar, the recipe of the day, and my grocery list. Two are work related, two are home related. I cook in my house, so ideas for dinner are always welcome when I need to look away from the monitor and focus on something else. I can always add items to my shopping list if needed.
My to-do list is linked through Todoist, so I can easily access it on the go, in my browser, or anywhere. I can even delete items directly from the Echo Show 15. My calendar widget helps me stay on top of meetings, upcoming deadlines, and more.
There are several other widgets (and Amazon has added more), but these four are the ones I find myself using all the time.
My Echo Show 15 screen is divided into two sections† Half is for widgets while the other half is a digital photo frame. I store photos of my wife, my cat, and family and friends on it in a constantly rotating slideshow.
It’s just a touch of home in an office space that is differently focused on work. At the bottom of the photo display, the Echo Show 15 also shows the time, the current weather and the outside temperature. Since it’s summer here in Georgia, that number isn’t always something I want to see.
All work and no play makes Jack a boring boy, or so they say. The Echo Show 15 is a great entertainment tool, and the video options range from YouTube to Hulu, Prime Videoand more.
For the most part, I use it for YouTube. It’s nice to have a visualized soundtrack in the background (yes, I’m old enough to miss the Windows Media Player visualizations), and I hardly ever work without music. Even just an image of rain falling from a window with music playing over it is better than a lifeless speaker booming beats.
But it’s also nice to see an episode of what my current binge watch is over lunch.
My whole house runs on Alexa. While I’ve set up both Google Assistant and Siri for testing purposes, I use Alexa to control my security cameras, lights, and more. The Smart Home Control section of the Echo Show 15 allows me to see the current status of any connected device at a glance.
I can turn things on and off, dim the lights and much more with just a few taps. This is ideal for turning the lights on in the middle of a meeting when I don’t want to give Alexa vocal commands. The rest of the time, keeping the smart display on my desk makes it incredibly easy to just ask Alexa to do whatever I want her to do.
The last reason I keep the Echo Show 15 on my desk is for security. As long as you have a compatible security camerayou can ask Alexa to show its feed on her display via picture-in-picture.
When I hear my doorbell ring, I just ask Alexa to show the feed. If it’s a lawyer I can safely ignore it, especially in the middle of a busy work day – but if it’s a delivery person I can sign for the package. It’s also useful to monitor any movement that triggered a security camera without reaching for my phone.
The Echo Show 15 is one of the first really useful smart screens, at least in my opinion. It goes beyond just a display – it offers many tools for everyday workflows. Combined with his facial recognition features (allowing it to differentiate between myself and my wife and show us each our individual to-do lists), it’s a powerhouse for the entire household.