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10 ways the Amazon Echo Show can make your life easier

There's a lot you can do with Amazon Echo smart displays.

The Amazon Echo Show 8 (second-gen) has quite a few fun and interesting tricks up its sleeve Credit: Reviewed / Nick Woodward

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Amazon Echo displays have come a long way since the original Echo Show debuted way back in 2017. Since then, Amazon’s line of Alexa-enabled smart displays has grown leaps and bounds. From the space-saving Echo Show 5 (second-gen) to the monstrous, motion-tracking Echo Show 10, and the mid-sized Echo Show 8 (second-gen), each of these displays offer something a little different.

A smart display can do many of the same things as a smart speaker, but the two are not the same. The screen adds a nice visual that functions as a one-stop-shop for managing your smart home and making video calls to friends and family, but there’s plenty more you can do with an Echo Show display. We’ve rounded up the top 10 ways you can use an Amazon Echo Show display.

1. Make a video call

A Zoom video call displayed on the Echo Show 10
Credit: Reviewed / Rachel Murphy

Here's the view from a Zoom video call on the Echo Show 10.

Whether it’s for work or pleasure, many of us have become increasingly reliant on video calls to keep in touch with family, friends, and coworkers. Instead of using your phone or laptop, you can join your next Zoom hangout using the Echo Show 10. The Echo Show 10 is best for making video calls because it comes with a built-in, motion-tracking camera that keeps you in view at all times. However, all Echo Show displays work with Zoom (and Skype and Alexa Calling).

2. Set up a Care Hub to check on family members

If you’ve got their permission, the Echo Show is an easy, low-impact way to check in on family members—particularly elderly ones who might live alone or in another city—using Amazon’s Care Hub feature. Once set up, you’ll get customized daily alerts about your loved one sent to your phone, like when they first access Alexa or if they call for help. While this feature is available on any Echo speaker or smart display, the Show 10 makes a great Care Hub display option because you can remotely pan the camera during an emergency, which you can’t do on any other Echo display.

3. View the live stream from your video doorbell

The live view from a Ring video doorbell on the Echo Show 5.
Credit: Reviewed / Rachel Murphy

You can view the live stream of your Alexa-enabled video doorbell on any Echo Show display.

As long as your video doorbell is compatible with Alexa, you can pull up the camera’s live stream any time you want on an Amazon Echo smart display. A simple "Alexa, show my front door" command will put the video feed right in front of you. If you’re using a Ring doorbell, the display will act as a chime, ringing to the display when someone presses the bell, as well as instantly showing the live view. You can also pull up the live stream of any other Alexa-compatible cameras on an Echo Show display.

4. Use it as a home security camera

Your Echo Show device can also be used as an indoor home security camera. To view the live stream, open the Amazon Alexa app and tap the display you want to see.
To enable the security camera option, swipe down from the top of the Show’s screen and select Settings > Camera > turn on Home Monitoring. You can then use the Amazon Alexa app to view and hear what’s happening near your smart display.

With the Echo Show 10, you can pan the camera right in the app, making it easy to see everything that’s going on. When paired with an Alexa Guard Plus subscription plan, any Echo Show display can also listen for dog barks and smoke alarms for added security.

5. Use it as an intercom system

Drop-In is an intercom-like feature available on Echo speakers and displays that immediately connects to other Alexa-enabled devices in your home or within your pre-approved Alexa contacts. To use the feature, tell Alexa to drop in on the name of the contact or the Alexa display you’d like to communicate with. Drop-In supports audio and video calling.

6. Set up (and view) multiple timers

You've got a pot of pasta boiling, but you're also clocking the roast in the oven—oh, and you'd also like to set a timer so you don't forget about the laundry in the washing machine. The Echo Show has a solution. You can easily set multiple named timers using voice commands, and you can see them displayed neatly on the screen as you multi-task throughout your day.

7. Stream your favorite movie and shows

Watch TV on the Echo Show 8 (second-gen)
Credit: Reviewed / Nick Woodward

Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and more services are available to stream on any Echo display like the second-gen Echo Show 8 (pictured).

Behind on your favorite show? You can catch up on the latest episode on an Echo Show device. Amazon smart displays support streaming services like Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, and HBO. To pull up a video, simply ask Alexa to “play [title] on [streaming service].” You can also use hands-free Alexa voice control to control the volume, pause, and change shows.

8. Display photos as a digital picture frame

Amazon’s Echo Show line works as a digital picture frame, rotating through your favorite memories. To show photos on the Show, you’ll need to set up an Amazon Photos account. Once connected, you can ask Alexa to display your photos and even pull up specific images with voice commands like Alexa, show my vacation photos. You can also pick a photo and set it as the background.

9. Follow recipes hands-free

Cooking with the Amazon Echo Show 10
Credit: Reviewed / Rachel Murphy

The Echo Show 10's big screen is awesome for baking cookies in the kitchen.

Cooking is great until you have eggs all over your hands and need to turn the page of your cookbook or tap your tablet to get to the next step. With Alexa voice control, you can search for recipes, save recipes, search for your favorites, and try out step-by-step cooking instructions. A large display like the Echo Show 10, which can turn and twist as you move about the room, is ideal for cooking as long as you have enough counter space. A smaller display like the Echo Show 8 or the Echo Show 5 also makes a great sous chef if you’re short on space.

10. Learn the lyrics to your favorite song

Ready to rock out with Alexa? When you play a song on your Show using Amazon Music, the lyrics will automatically scroll across the display screen as soon as the song begins, making it a perfect alternative for an at-home karaoke experience.

Amazon Alexa and Privacy

The privacy controls displayed on the top of the Echo Show 10.
Credit: Reviewed / Rachel Murphy

You can turn the camera off by sliding the shutter on the top of your Echo Show device.

Though convenient, you should be mindful of your privacy when using Alexa. You can stop your Echo speaker or display from listening for (and possibly mishearing) your wake word by turning off your mic via the mute button on the top of the device. Or, turn on audible alerts within Settings in the Amazon Alexa app to know when your Echo is listening beyond just the indicator light.

You can also opt-out of having your voice recordings included in Amazon’s review process by opening up the Alexa app and navigating to Settings > Alexa Privacy > Manage Your Alexa Data, then toggling off the setting that says Use Voice Recordings to Improve Amazon Services.

In these privacy settings, you can also delete voice recordings, which are accessible to anyone you share the app with. You can even set up auto-deletion every three or 18 months.

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