Alexa Show is out and I had a chance to play around with a pair of them at our offices in Port Jefferson NY.
For those who are not familiar with Amazon Alexa (time to crawl out from under the rock BTW ) it is a voice recognition system, that can play music, answer various questions and interact with Smart Home technology. Previous versions of Alexa all have been speaker only models. Until now.
Last week Amazon released its new iteration of Alexa, the Alexa Show, now with a touch screen display. Here are some of my initial thoughts:
The touch screen display surely takes the device to the whole new level. Now, for example, when playing music, you can see the lyrics. Or when asking Alexa for a recipe for lasagna she can visually show you several top choices to choose from and then even show you ingredients, preparation and cooking steps.
The drop-in feature is also very useful. As mentioned, we bought two Shows one for each suite in our office building. Now we can ask Alexa to “drop into room 6” and it will open a video call between two rooms.
Asking Alexa for News will run you through New’s Flash of top stories, again having the visual is great!
Just like its predecessors, the Show can by linked to work with smart home technology; control the smart thermostat, close the smart door lock, turn on the smart lights. A great addition here, however, is ability to see live camera feed from your smart camera or smart door bell. This eliminates the need to go through the extra steps of looking up the feed on your smart phone.
What Needs More Work
Some of the things that still need to be improved on is the actual voice recognition; This is not a new Alexa problem however. Voice recognition has been inferior to Google Home’s capabilities which seems to be a bit more intuitive.
The video feed, when calling between two Shows is a little slow to come in, it takes 4-5 seconds or so to fully pixelate. To be fair, the video quality is great once the connection is fully established. Another note on the video feed, the camera angle on the device is pointed up, so if the Show is sitting up high it will not have a good visual frame, it thus has to sit on a shelf closer to the ground.
The form of the device is also a bit surprising, when first taking it out of the box, it resembles something out of late 80’s technology. A not so sleek device, like we have been used to seeing from the likes of Apple or Samsung. However, this is something you can quickly get over, once the device is on and it starts to wow you with its functions.
Without a doubt another great product from Amazon as they yet again set the high bar in the smart personal assistant space. Price point is a bit high at $229 (although, buying two, which I strongly recommend, saves you about $100). If you are starting to venture into the smart home space, a device like this is going to be a must.