Home Tech My Favorite Things an Amazon Echo Show Can Do

My Favorite Things an Amazon Echo Show Can Do

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Tablet-like device sitting on a wooden surface in the corner of a room. A schedule will be displayed on the screen with the weather and...

There are a lot of tricks that smart displays can do. But not all are created equal or worth doing based on this style of advice.

The basics are simple: almost everyone knows how useful it is to ask a smart speaker or smart display to tell you the weather forecast or play music. And you should too! It’s their best use case, especially since smart displays like the Echo Show can give you more on-screen weather details. But that’s not all these handy devices do, and for the price you should get the most out of any smart display you buy.

Amazon’s Echo Shows have their own special tricks and ways to activate them. Here are my three favorite uses for an Echo Show and how to fix my least favorite feature. Do you think you would prefer a different system? Don’t forget to check out our guides to the best smart speakers and how to set up your Smart Home.

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Play with widgets

Widgets are my favorite casual feature of Echo Shows. They are small squares with shortcuts that you can customize, ranging from a note or calendar to managing your smart home, quick access to certain music and much more.

Originally only featured on the massive Echo Show 15, they are now available on the Echo show 8 and also 10. On the Echo Show 15, the widgets are constantly on the screen thanks to the large surface area, and there is a widget panel that can accommodate up to 10 widgets. For the Echo Shows 8 and 10, they will appear in the slideshow running on the screen. You can display up to four widgets on the Echo Show 8 and up to six on the Echo show 10.

I like to use mine to put a calendar view, my smart home favorites, and the weather in an easily visible spot. They’re great for customizing your smart-home controls if that’s what you want your device to focus on; the Echo hub (8/10, WIRED Recommended) relies entirely on widgets as a smart home-oriented device.

Photo: Nena Farrell

Check your children and cats

Echo Shows also have a camera at the top of the screen that can be used for both video calling and as an indoor security camera, well, sort of. There are two main features under this umbrella: Live Feed, which lets you watch live feeds happening from an Echo Show device, and Home Monitoring, which you can use with other smart home devices and set up routines.

You can ask any Echo Show to give you the live feed from another Show device, as long as you know the device name (or you can just choose it from the device list if you don’t want to use voice commands). This is an easy way to quickly check in on pets and children, for example, without a full-fledged security camera. The device alerts everyone in the room that someone is using the Echo Show to monitor the room, so it’s not as discreet as a real security camera.

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