The Amazon Echo Show is an Amazon smart speaker that integrates a 10-inch touch screen and the virtual assistant Alexa. Next, an analysis of this smart speaker is carried out.
Unpacking, assembly and initial setup
In this section, a description of the packaging and unpacking process of the Amazon Echo Show is carried out, describing the packaging and whether it is an accessible process for people with disabilities or the elderly. The initial setup procedure and possible difficulties encountered are also discussed.
Unpacking and assembly
The Amazon Echo Show comes inside a cardboard box closed with a fiso that must be cut with a sharp instrument, such as scissors. After breaking the seal, the lid is opened at the top. The first thing that appears is a cardboard in which the Amazon Echo Show is wrapped, which is closed in the form of a bag and has a handle to remove the device, and it is somewhat heavy. At the bottom of the box, and in the central part, between a couple of cartons, is the charger and a couple of books.
The cardboard is removed by separating the two extremities that form the handle. Inside, the device comes inside a plastic wrap that surrounds its entire exterior.
Once the device and the charger have been removed, the plastics that cover them must be removed. The power charger plugs into the lower rear snap-on. This connects easily, but is almost impossible to disconnect, which is an accessibility barrier for some people.
The initial setup procedure is quite simple and is done from the device itself. The different steps to configure the Amazon Echo Show are not described in this section, although an issue that arose during the initial setup will be described. The issue of process accessibility is dealt with in the corresponding section of this review.
Once the configuration process was finished, and after the due updates, the device spoke in English although it was marked as Spanish and understood the questions perfectly. After several attempts, using the application, it was possible to make the Amazon Echo Show speak in Spanish, although it was not clear how it was achieved, since in the application the US English was marked as the language.
The Amazon Echo Show is one of Amazon's smart speakers, which integrates a 10-inch touch screen.
This device has several buttons and connectors. At the top center, there are three small circular buttons. The one on the left is for connecting and disconnecting the microphone, as well as turning the device off and activating or deactivating the VoiceView screen reader. The other two buttons are for raising and lowering the volume. The connector for the power adapter is located at the bottom back, and on both sides of this there are two ports, a microUSB and a Kensington-type hook to secure the speaker with a padlock.
The touch screen IS lcd Y has a diagonal of 10,1 inches, with an HD resolution of 1.280 x 800 pixels. The images are sharp, with a wide color range while the letters are Large and white on a black background with good readability. On the other hand, the brightness of the screen is lower than in other devices of its category or in smartphones, and it can only be configured manually.
The device has an 8-microphone array housed in the upper part of the housing, which allows it to perfectly recognize speech in background noise and at a considerable distance, although it cannot perceive sounds that are too low.
The Amazon Echo Show features two 2-inch neodymium magnet speakers plus a Passive Bass Radiator Speaker, giving you powerful, high-quality sound. The volume can be set between 0 and 10, and can be regulated by voice commands. In addition, even if the sound is at zero, if a question is asked the device will momentarily raise the volume a little to provide the corresponding answer.
It also integrates a 5Mpx front camera for video calls between Echo devices. It also has Wifi and bluetooth 5.0 connections.
This section analyzes the interaction with both the Amazon Echo Show and the Amazon Alexa application, which is necessary for the association with smart devices.
Amazon Echo Show
The Amazon Echo Show has a 10-inch screen on which all content is displayed. If you slide a finger from the top of the screen downwards, a menu is displayed that gives access to the configuration options of the device and the adjustment of Brightness and the "Do not disturb" mode. In addition, if you slide your finger from the right side towards the center, another menu is displayed that contains a series of shortcuts under the heading of "Discover Alexa", as well as a series of buttons to perform tasks related to routines. lists and other device functions.
This application is discussed in the Alexa review, but it is mentioned here because it is necessary to configure smart devices.
The application is structured in five tabs and a menu. From the Devices tab you can access the options related to smart devices. From here you can add a new group or device, add a skill to control a device or access already configured devices.
The interface is clear and simple, allowing quick access to both the configuration and the devices.
The Amazon Echo Show uses Amazon Alexa as a virtual assistant, so its good or bad operation is determined by its behavior, which is analyzed in the Alexa review. However, listening comprehension is enhanced by the quality of the eight-microphone array built into the device, allowing for a better understanding of the commands given.
In general, listening comprehension is very good, understanding most of the verbal commands. At times he has confused orders, although they have been a few times.
The device uses natural language both to receive commands and to provide feedback to the user. This allows him to understand questions such as "What will the temperature be tomorrow at 7 in the morning in Córdoba" or "Play me pop music from the eighties". In this way, communication with the user is pleasant and natural, allowing a very satisfactory and comfortable interaction.
In relation to the response time, this is appropriate, being able to be affected by the speed of the internet connection.
Connecting a device to the Amazon Echo Show can be a complex procedure. The first thing to do is install the application corresponding to the device, in order to configure it. Two devices have been used in this analysis, a smart LED strip and a smart plug. The device configuration procedure will be more or less complex depending on how the manufacturer has designed the application. However, once the smart device is configured, it is still necessary to associate it with the Amazon Echo Show, a procedure that is done either by searching for the corresponding skill, or by linking the device directly to the Amazon Echo Show if it uses the Zigbee protocol. Therefore, the part that can be more complex is the one related to smart devices, since associating it with an Apple account is relatively simple.
In relation to the supported verbal commands, these depend on the type of device and those that have been implemented for it by the manufacturer. . Thus, the smart LED strip allows you to change the color, brightness and mode (fixed, flashing, etc.), as well as turn it on or off. The device comes with a remote control that allows you to change all of this. However, by means of verbal commands you can only change the color of the led, the brightness and turn it off and on, making it impossible to change the mode. For its part, the plug only allows two verbal commands, off and on.
This section analyzes the accessibility options available for the different types of accessibility, as well as the problems detected for some of the previous groups.
People with visual functional diversity
This group has at their disposal a series of assistive aids that allow them to handle the Amazon Echo Show without any difficulty once it has been configured. The first to highlight is the screen reader, called VoiceView, which has a large number of configuration options and gestures for handling. You can also activate the magnifying glass, which has gestures to enlarge and reduce the screen, as well as to move it. Also, color inversion and color correction can be activated.
In relation to the problems detected, there are basically two. On the one hand, assistive technologies cannot be activated during the initial configuration, so this process is completely inaccessible for this group. On the other hand, activating the screen reader or magnifying glass requires keystrokes that can be difficult for some people.
People with hearing functional diversity
People with hearing functional diversity or communication problems can use the Amazon Echo Show smart speaker without problems thanks to the different accessibility options it integrates. On the one hand, subtitles can be activated and configured both for the responses provided by Alexa and for the videos that include them, and on the other, the "Press" option can be configured, which allows you to operate the device without your voice thanks to a set of On-screen icons that allow you to perform frequent actions by simply pressing, create new icons or activate the on-screen keyboard. It is also possible to activate calls and messages without voice, allowing you to view Alexa contacts and read Alexa messages.
In general, no problems have been detected that prevent or hinder the handling of the Amazon Echo Show by people with hearing disabilities or speech problems. The only drawback is relative to those videos that do not have subtitles, since these, when they exist, have enough duration to be read.
People with physical functional diversity.
The Amazon Echo Show does not have any specific help for these people, which does not make handling impossible.
The problems for this group are mainly focused on the installation of the devices, which can become a great barrier to accessibility. There is also an accessibility barrier in the configuration of the device, which is done from the device and cannot be done through the use of voice commands.
People with intellectual or mental functional diversity
This group does not have its own assistive technologies. As in all virtual assistants, these people may encounter difficulties depending on the degree of their disability and their training to handle technological devices.
Older people, due to age, may have a problem that requires any of the accessibility options described above. The problems can be both visual and hearing or mobility.
In addition, since the device can be operated using voice commands, except for the configuration menu, and through natural language, accessibility problems are considerably reduced.
This section studies how satisfactory the handling of the device is from the user's point of view, as well as its ease of use. It also studies how simple and easy the Amazon Alexa application is, necessary to associate and configure smart devices. Applications related to smart devices will not be taken into account since they are not the object of study of this review.
In addition, the benefits that the Amazon Echo Show brings to different groups are analyzed, describing the main utilities.
First of all, you have to take into account the initialization and configuration process of the Amazon Echo Show, which is done directly from the device itself. This process, although it lasts a long time, is quite simple, since once the Wi-Fi network and the user account, which must previously exist, have been configured, the rest of it is practically automatic, updating the software and restarting several times. The drawback is due to the lack of accessibility in the initial configuration, since the accessibility options are only available once the device has been initialized and configured. Also, sometimes the device may speak in a different language than the one you have configured and it may take a considerable time to make it speak in the desired language.
The Amazon Echo show has a 10.1-inch high definition screen that allows you to play multimedia content with high quality. This occupies the entire front, and has no borders. Its surface allows a smooth movement with the fingers, which is very pleasant to the touch. In addition, the sound provided by the speakers is of high quality and can be increased to a high volume. For its part, the volume buttons and to activate and deactivate the microphone, located on the upper part of the housing, are pressed gently, although the volume buttons are not necessary to control the audio level.
On the other hand, the oral interaction is very good, understanding correctly most of the verbal commands. In addition, the functionality of the device can be extended by installing skills, which also have their own verbal commands. In relation to the interaction with the touch screen, this is very good, both with assistive aids and without them. The response is immediate when the touch screen is operated. Whether with some assistive help or not, the screen presents a smooth interface.
In relation to the devices, these are configured from the Amazon Alexa application, once they have been configured with their own applications. Installing the skills is quite simple, just having to search for the skill associated with the smart device. Once installed, the device can be operated using the corresponding voice commands.
Usefulness, advantages and disadvantages
The use of the Amazon Echo show provides a series of advantages and benefits for certain groups, some of which are exposed below.
- Easy to use. The Amazon Echo Show allows you to perform actions such as checking the weather forecast, translating words or phrases into other languages, checking the meaning of words, performing mathematical operations, converting between metric or monetary units, searching for information, etc. quickly and easily by voice. This is very useful for people with visual or physical disabilities who cannot operate a device or access a dictionary, as well as for older people with vision problems or who do not have much computer knowledge.
- Home automation. The Amazon Echo Show allows you to control smart devices through verbal commands. This is very useful for people with physical disabilities who cannot move or for people with blindness who otherwise could not handle such devices because they are not accessible. In addition, for the elderly it may be of interest since it helps to control household appliances.
- Memory. Voice access to personal calendar and reminders and event notification or routine creation can be very useful for older people with memory problems. In addition, with skills such as Memory, memory can be exercised, which results in a very important benefit for the mental health of these people.
- Audiobooks. The Amazon Echo Show can read Kinddle books aloud or play audiobooks that the user has in their library. This is very useful for people with visual disabilities, and can be interesting for people with mobility problems. It can also be useful for older people with a vision problem typical of age.
- Loneliness. There are certain studies that have shown that Alexa contributes to improving the loneliness that certain elderly people may have thanks to the possibility of being able to establish a conversation between the user and Alexa in a way that is very similar to talking with a person.
- Entertainment. The Amazon Echo Show allows you to play multimedia content or play different games, which is of interest to older people who live alone or people who do not leave their homes due to mobility problems, among others.
- Routines. The execution of daily tasks that are usually done consecutively can be automated, which is useful for different users since it makes it easier for them to perform them with just a verbal command.
The Amazon Echo Show is a smart speaker that can be very useful for the elderly or those with functional diversity. It allows you to perform different tasks through verbal commands, such as checking the weather forecast, obtaining information or controlling smart devices. All of this is of great interest to older people or people with some kind of functional diversity, even with hearing disabilities or communication problems thanks to the touch screen and the assistive technologies it incorporates.
As for the hardware that it incorporates, the matrix of eight microphones is more than enough to capture the voice of the user without problems, as long as he does not speak in whispers. For their part, the speakers emit a clean, high-quality sound with great volume power.
Interaction with the user, either by voice or through the touch screen, is very good, with adequate response times, only being slowed down by the speed of the Internet connection. In addition, the answers provided are correct in most cases, since you tend to understand the user well when he speaks.
Special mention deserves the issue of accessibility of the Amazon Echo Show, since it integrates assistive technologies for people with visual, hearing and communication disabilities, as well as that it can be used by the elderly or with physical, mental or intellectual functional diversity. In addition, these technologies are of high quality, which allows the device to be used by these people with total normality.
A very positive aspect that gives the device a certain personality is its naturalness and expressiveness in speech. The use of popular expressions, the use of humor and the possibility of telling jokes or singing different types of songs make it appear that you are talking to a person, which helps to combat loneliness.
The less positive aspect is that assistive aids can only be activated once the device has been initialized and configured for the first time. This implies that some people with disabilities cannot start it without the help of third parties.
- Excellent accessibility for different types of disabilities.
- Possibility of installing skills to increase functionality.
- Management of smart devices by voice.
- Easy to use.
- Play audiobooks and read Kindle books aloud.
- Help fight loneliness.
- The possibility of an accessible initial configuration could be explored.
- It would be interesting if you could control the brightness by voice.
- Increase the brightness range
- You could consider changing the quick ways to turn VoiceView on and off.