We got our Show during the Amazon Prime Day sale, and it’s turned out to be my most used and favorite Echo product. Our Echo Show is in the kitchen where we keep Alexa busy all day long. Follow along on a typical day in our family to see how we use the Show.
The largest of Amazon’s Echo family, the Echo Show is the first Echo device released with a built-in screen to display visual information. It’s essentially an Echo speaker with an attached touchscreen in a sturdy pentagonal base.
Getting everyone up and out of the house
Shortly after waking up, I find myself in the kitchen preparing to start the day. I glance at the screen where the display offers up the current time, upcoming calendar reminders, current weather conditions, and a few headlines with prompts to watch a video or listen to the story to learn more.
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Drop in is one of our most used features as a family, and I use it to check that the kids have gotten up. One is up, but the other is harder to wake, so I ask, “Alexa, play AC/DC in the boy’s room.” About five minutes later, I drop in again and negotiate a start to his day.
Some days I need a reminder of when the kids were sweet and little. I say, “Alexa, show me pictures of this day.” The display shows all of our memories from Amazon Photos taken on this day over the years. It’s a quick moment of good memories and nostalgia that makes me smile.
As the kids come downstairs, they check on the weather for the day, so they’re prepared. “Alexa, what’s the temperature?” Over breakfast, I attempt to get a handle on any big projects, work schedules, or reminders that need to be added to the family calendar.
Amazon’s music library is available to play any music from Prime Music, iHeartRadio, Pandora, TuneIn, or Spotify. Unique to the Show is the “show lyrics” feature. The lyrics scroll in time like a karaoke screen so you can sing along.
Before we leave the house, I ask Alexa to start the Roomba. Kevin, as the kids named him, will vacuum the floors and return to his base when through with his work.
After school homework and activities
Once we all arrive back home in the late afternoon, it’s time for homework. The Show is always there to lend a helping hand with any fact-based question. When an unfamiliar word comes up, Alexa can give a definition or synonym. Basic math functions are a breeze. We all need a little help on geography and translating language homework sometimes, so Alexa jumps in on those when asked.
Any Alexa device can add products to your Amazon shopping cart, but the touchscreen on the Echo makes it even easier to see which product you want. It displays items and provides a verbal description, so you are confident in your selection. When one of the kids mention that their favorite pencil broke or they need a posterboard for a school project, it gets added to our Amazon cart with a simple request.
The doorbell rings, and before getting up, I say, “Alexa, show me the front door.” It turns out it was just a package delivered to the front door, and we don’t need to interrupt homework time for a visitor.
We put the Echo Show in the kitchen where it serves up cooking shows playing on Amazon Prime Video. On a typical night, I’ll watch America’s Test Kitchen or Tasty 101 for dinner inspiration. After watching the show, I ask Alexa for a recipe by saying, “Alexa, show me a recipe for chicken parmesan.”
The screen displays a horizontal scrolling list of 25 recipes with photos from sources like allrecipes.com, Epicurious, and Sidechef. When I select a recipe, it gives the approximate cooking time required and the number of servings it makes. Some recipes link to a video demonstration, while others contain step by step directions in text format.
While I’m cooking, I ask Alexa to set timers. She confirms the timer verbally, then shows the countdown on the screen at the beginning and in the last ten seconds.
Even though my hands are full, I add items used in the recipe to my shopping list by saying, “Alexa, add tomatoes to my shopping list.” Alexa verbally confirms that she’s added it, and then displays the most recent items I’ve added on a scrolling list for about 10 seconds before resuming the previous recipe or video task.
If your kitchen is anything like mine, it’s hard to find the right measuring spoon when you need it. Without stopping my search through the drawer, I shout across the room, “Alexa, how many tablespoons are in a quarter cup?” She responds verbally and also displays 0.25 cups = 4 Tbsp on the screen.
I’ve successfully got dinner in the oven, and it’s time to clean up a bit while it cooks. I’m a big fan of Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History podcast, so this is the perfect time to catch up. “Alexa, play the Revisionist History podcast.” She starts the latest podcast from Tune In where I left off last time. Those opening credits and commercials always take forever, so I say, “Alexa, skip ahead one minute.” I get to catch up on Elvis and learn about parapraxis, or Freudian slips, as they’re often known.
There are three levels in our house, and the teenagers are usually immersed in music or another screen. The easiest way to tell everyone is to drop in on the various devices around the house with an announcement. “Alexa, announce that dinner is ready.” The Echo devices throughout the house simultaneously play a recording of my voice saying, “dinner is ready.”
Heading to bed
After a long day, I am ready for bed. I ask Alexa to turn out the lights and turn down the thermostat by saying, “Alexa, complete the bedtime routine.”
Show me a typical day
Not every day goes smoothly as the one I just described, but the simple smart home automation we’ve installed makes our lives easier. I’m a big fan of the Echo products in general, but I like the Show in particular for all the help in the kitchen.
Next is a little downtime for me. “Alexa, read my Kindle book.”
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