After the connected speakers, here are the connected speakers with display. This is not a touch pad or a digital photo frame: the Amazon Echo Show 2 is a new category of connected products. We tested it, here is our opinion.
Amazon Echo Show 2
The Amazon Echo Show 2 is the second generation of Echo Show but it is the first to be officially available in France. The entire Echo range is available, as well as the Echo Spot in the form of alarm clock, the Echo Show 2 brings a new format.
Here are the main technical features to remember:
Screen: 10-inch IPS LCD HD Definition
Processor: Intel Atom x5-Z835
Speakers: two 51mm drivers with a passive radiator
Assistant: Amazon Alexa
IoT: integrated Zigbee hub
Connectivity: Bluetooth, WiFi and micro USB port
Dimensions: 246 x 174 x 107 mm
Weight: 1.7 kilograms
The Amazon Echo Show 2: a connected speaker equipped with a screen
Only enjoying the Echo Show now is not a bad thing. Unlike what we're used to seeing from Amazon about new Echo products, the Echo Show 2 does not just have a faster processor. The Amazon Echo Show 2 really adopts a brand new design with a different design from the first model. In fact, the processor is pretty much the only thing that has not moved.
The Echo Show is also a digital frame, you can view your photos from Amazon Photos (but not from Google Photos)
The most obvious change is the screen which is now 10 inches diagonal instead of 7 inches. It is a size much more adapted to the use that one makes of this type of apparatuses.
The definition is 1280 x 800 pixels (HD), but this low definition is not a problem. Indeed, a 10-inch diagonal tablet screen is also in FHD or QHD definition, because we use a shelf at arm's length, the screen is about 30 to 50 centimeters from our eyes. At this distance, it is easy to distinguish the pixels on an HD screen of this size. By cons, the Echo Show 2 is not a tablet. It is a digital frame that is placed on a table, the distance between the eyes and the screen is more important (from 60 centimeters to more than 1m50). This product does not need a high pixel density.
The Echo Show is thick, but it incorporates a subwoofer
It is an IPS LCD panel with a brightness in the average (450 lumens), it is a prerequisite when using this product in a kitchen for example where we can have a lot of reflections. On the other hand, even if Amazon informs us that the contrast and the colors have been improved in this version, it is clear that the level of contrast is insufficient with very short viewing angles. The angles of view could be a little better since this is the kind of camera that many family members use to call grandparents and watch photos or video clips. We do not always have it directly in front of our eyes. Finally, the reflectance is very average. This screen catches many reflections.
Perfect to start a day!
To prevent the unit from being too wide, the speakers are at the back, where you will find a gray fabric upholstery. The sound quality is clearly a highlight of the Echo Show 2 with excellent volume and a lot of bass. We used to complain about the lack of bass, it is a strength of this product that produces a quality sound (very close to the Echo Plus). Personally, I appreciate the presence of an equalizer to fine tune the sound.
On the top, you find the classic buttons. There is obviously a button that turns off (electrically) the microphones and the front camera. Amazon also uses a Kensington locking system – which can be convenient for putting this product in public places – next to a power connector and a microUSB port. This can be used for an Ethernet adapter (not supplied) so that the device can be connected to your network via an RJ45 cable instead of Wi-Fi.
Note that there is no auxiliary input, but you can stream music from your phone or tablet via Bluetooth. Like the Echo Plus, there is an integrated Zigbee hub to connect other smart gadgets, like Philips Hue bulbs. It can also save you from having to plug these extra hubs into your router.
With a Ring Bell, it's great!
When it comes to design, you can not help but not appreciate the big edges around the screen. This is the case of this top border which houses the 5 megapixel camera and four of the eight microphones. More generally, we can blame the approach too sober Echo Show 2. This screen has a central position in the house, in the kitchen, bathroom or living room, Amazon could choose to adopt a design much more refined.
What we can do with the Echo Show 2
The Echo Show 2 is an Echo Plus equipped with a 10-inch diagonal screen. This is a simple way to consider the Echo Show. So we find everything that made the success of connected speakers with integrated assistant. The answer to our questions, the management of connected objects of the house and the multi-room side.
You can listen to music (Amazon Music, Spotify, TuneIn, and Deezer), ask Alexa a variety of questions, and manage connected gadgets. At home, I was able to ask the Netatmo stations the temperature of my home, turn on the various bulbs Philips Hue but also manage the connected doorbell Ring. For once, the screen brings a real interest for this connected doorbell where we can use the Echo Show as a display to check what is in front of the door at home.
The scores of your favorite teams and the next matches are displayed
The interest of the screen is to be able to interact otherwise than by the sound with its assistant. The relevant information (the weather, a schedule, etc.) is displayed directly on the screen. You can easily view the different steps of a recipe collected on Marmiton. Moreover, it is an important point of the Echo ecosystem. Apart from the basic functions (alarms, music, etc.), the functions come from the so-called Skills. These "Skills" are mini-apps developed and designed by developers and publishers. This is both a strength is a weakness for the Echo ecosystem.
There are excellent skills, like Amazon Prime Video to access the SVOD service, there are also missing skills. This is the case of the TV part, because we can use the Echo Show 2 as a TV, for the moment we can only watch the channels BFM TV and France Info on the Echo Show 2. C is very limited, especially that a simple Android and iOS tablet can access the Molotov TV app, for example.
Prime Video is very well integrated, you can use it to touch or voice
Amazon has set up some partnerships, including one with Vivo to access some video clips, unfortunately the experience of "skills" is insufficient for the moment for two reasons: the skills are not advanced enough, and many are nonexistent.
We can use Firefox (with touch), but the browser is not as complete as we would like
To illustrate this weakness, nothing better than to evoke the front camera. It is really useful and interesting to be able to use an Echo Show 2 to contact your family with a videoconferencing solution. Unfortunately, we can only use the Amazon solution and therefore call only other Echo users. A partnership with Skype is announced, but it is not yet set up. If you are used to using Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp … do not rely on the Echo Show. Same thing for SVoD, where you can access Prime Video but not Netflix or OCS.
YouTube is running on the browser, but not Netflix
There are, however, two web browsers, a lite version of Silk and Firefox, but most "heavy" websites do not work. By the way, it's the only way to access YouTube, but Netflix does not work.
When comparing the Amazon Echo Show solution to other similar solutions like the Google Smart Display (Google Home with screen), we would tend to prefer the Google Smart Display. Google Smart Display supports the Chromecast feature, so they are compatible with many applications. Unfortunately, these products are not yet marketed in France.
The other most obvious alternative is to buy an Android tablet or an iPad. With connected wizards – Google Assistant or Apple Siri – and a broad ecosystem of applications, these are complete solutions that have the added benefit of being mobile too. By cons, they are not as well equipped for the sound part and do not integrate into a multi-room ecosystem. Because the interest of the Echo Show is there: this screen-speaker integrates perfectly with your home if you already have Amazon Echo products.
Read on FrAndroid: What are the best speakers connected in 2019? The selection of the editors
Price and availability
The Echo Show is available at 229.90 euros with a Philips Hue bulb offered. Moreover, no need for a Philips Hue bridge to connect this bulb: the Echo Show includes a Zigbee module.
Where to buy the Amazon Echo Show 2 at the best price?
The Echo Show 2 is more than just a Alexa speaker with a screen: it's an effective speaker, a miniature TV, a smart home hub and a tablet. If you already have Echo equipment at home, it fits well. Unfortunately, the uses remain limited. We would like to be able to access Prime Video ET Netflix. We would like to watch BFM TV and LCI. We would like to be able to watch Dailymotion AND YouTube. We would like to have the choice. For the moment, the ecosystem of skills around this product is too limited to exploit its full potential.
Powerful sound with lots of bass
The interaction with connected gadgets of the house
The Alexa assistant who answers almost every question
The ability to turn off all sensors and the camera
Few "skills" and therefore limited use
A screen with low contrast and poor viewing angles
The reflectance of the screen