Top critical review
October 15, 2018
I work from home and bought the Echo Show specifically for two reasons: background movies and music to keep me company all day. For music, yes, this is an excellent device. The sound is loud, clear and surprisingly well-rounded. Alexa recognizes voice commands very well in this respect. Movies, on the other hand, are a struggle. First, Alexa does not recognize most movie names by voice command, even ones I know are on Prime Video. Next, if you have Alexa take you directly to Prime Video, it offers only a "lite" version of the service. You cannot search movies well and the few categories they have stop at 60 results. Being that I can easily stream 4-6 movies a day while working, I've already exhausted most of the good choices. Then, for whatever reason, the audio volume on videos is 50-70% lower than music. So in order to watch a video at arm's length away, I have to turn the volume to 1/2 at minimum, but usually 3/4. I don't understand the massive disparity between music and movie volume. Worse yet, if Alexa responds to a command while I'm watching a movie at that volume, her voice is two or three times louder than the movie, which is to say, obnoxiously loud. Now, maybe I bought this for the wrong purpose. I am never going to video call or have it control my lights, nor am I going to ask it to set an alarm or give me a recipe. However, with the marketing claiming there are tens of thousands of commands, I was under the impression that doing something as simple as using Amazon's own video streaming service would be incredibly smooth. Unfortunately it is not. And like others have said, this is a touch screen after all, but there are very few things you can actually use it for. I think I am used to the app screen on my phone I guess. I keep expecting to be able to go to a home screen and pick what I want to do. With no clear index of abilities, I really have no idea what I can do until I try things. Then, after Alexa tells me she doesn't understand five or ten times, I just give up. Last, I've gotten some errors while streaming video that claim the device's storage is full and it can no longer stream. Well, there is no apparent way to clear the storage; streaming data should be temporarily stored and automatically replaced with new data anyway. Because of this, I've had to restart the unit to clear the memory, which can only be done by unplugging it. Yes, really, even with a touch screen and pull-down menu at the top, there's no restart button, you actually have to unplug it. Decisions like these make me question who they had working on R&D. Some of these things just don't make sense. I do think this has the potential to be a 5-star device with the hardware as-is -- the screen is very nice and the speakers sound excellent except for the volume issue. I know not to expect the functionality of a pad or phone with a mobile OS, but I also feel very limited by the intuitiveness and functionality of the system as it is today. Unfortunately I doubt the fixes will come before my refund eligibility expires...