CNET First Look
Amazon Echo Show review: Alexa's new touchscreen needs more timeAmazon's new Alexa gadget lets the voice assistant place video calls -- but more needs to be done to put that screen to good use.
[MUSIC] The Amazon Echo Show is the online retail giant's newest Alexa gadget. At $230, it's basically an Amazon Echo with a seven inch touchscreen. That gives Alexa an extra visual layer, and it lets her pull up YouTube clips or video chats with your friends and family upon request. Now, as Alexa gadgets go, the Echo Show is nowhere near as sleek or polished looking as the Echo and Echo Dot smart speakers or the Echo Look selfie camera. There aren't any curves or rings of light. Instead you get this blocky, angular design. It's sturdy enough, but the bulk and the bezel around the screen both make it feel dated. Our intern quipped that it looks like a mini-sized rear projection t.v. set for your kitchen counter. And I don't disagree. Another complaint you can't adjust the angle of the screen or of the camera. It's not ideal for a video calling device. Still those voice activated hands free video calls is a new marquee feature here. And if you're a fan of Face Time then you might like this product quite a bit. Here check it out. Alexa, call David Carnoy. Okay. Hey David, Good to see ya. Hey, Roy. How's that Echo show review coming? You can also ask Alexa to pull up YouTube clips and movies from Amazon Prime Video. More video services are likely to follow thanks to Amazon's open software development tool. The same goes for smart home controls. You can view the feed from major smart home cameras from names like Nest, and Ring, and August, with more likely to jump on board. Outside of those video skills, this is the same old Alexa. She can pull up weather forecasts. She can stream music. She can turn your lights on and off. She can Can tell you bad jokes. Everything you've come to expect. I just wish Amazon had done more to put that touchscreen to use. Lyrics are a nice addition when you're playing music, and she'll animate the ends of your timers. But in too many cases, the display feels superfluous. It doesn't do enough to make Alexa better. Now there's a lot of room for improvement here, and Amazon is banking on outside developers to make new touchscreen optimized skills for the Echo But most of those weren't ready in time for us to test them out. So for now, I'm giving the Echo Show an incomplete grade. It's a great device for grandparents to video chat with their grand kids, but as Amazon's new Alexa flagship, I'm holding my recommendation until they me a little more. [BLANK_AUDIO]