Amazon’s newest Alexa-enabled device arrived yesterday: It’s called the Echo Show, and its biggest development is the new touch screen and video camera that allows you to make video and voice calls. But the Show is basically your electronic butler, controlling the lights and thermostat in your house, and even sneakily monitoring your family in other rooms through compatible cameras using the Drop In feature (if you prefer your privacy you can set Drop In to “Do Not Disturb” mode or disable it altogether).
That’s all great, but since you're here, you probably want to know: Can the Echo Show improve your life in the kitchen? The answer is a resounding yes.
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To start, Alexa-enabled devices have a few small, but convenient features, that will help make baking and cooking easier. Take one situation amateur chefs know all to well: Your hands are covered in flour or butter and you need to set a timer, or figure out how to convert measurements (from ounces to cups, for instance). Just ask Alexa, and she’ll do either for you using just a voice command. If you run out of the ingredient, you can ask Alexa to add it to your grocery list.
It gets better: Now that the Echo Show has a screen, you can have Alexa call up recipe videos on Youtube, which you can watch while you cook – much easier than trying to prop your cell phone in the kitchen and watch on it’s comparatively small screen.
And all Echo devices, the Show included, have an Allrecipes skill, which, once enabled, allows you to search for new recipes in the Allrecipes database, and save your favorites. Alexa will happily read out the recipe and directions to you, but since the Show has a screen, you’ll be able to read the information yourself if you prefer.
If you’re putting together a dinner party or just in the mood for a drink, Alexa’s partnership with Patrón has made 150 cocktail recipes available that you can search using ingredients, occasion, and flavor filters.
Too lazy to cook? Echo-enabled devices recently added another skill that allows you to order from Seamless using your voice alone. Using the OpenTable skill, you can make dinner reservations at any of the thousands of the restaurants in their network, and then receive visual confirmation on the Show's screen.
One more thing: If you’ve been stirring soup for what feels like hours and hunched over the kitchen sink washing dinner’s dishes, the Echo Show will play you CNN video briefings, updated every hour, if you’re in need of a distraction.
The Echo Show will be released in June and will cost around $230.