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Amazon Echo Show 15 Review after 1 Year of Use (Built-in Fire TV)

Echo Show 15 Review

The following review covers the Amazon Echo Show 15 with comprehensive details of all the features this device provides. Read this review before you purchase!

The Echo Show 15 is Amazon’s largest Echo device with a 15.6″ full-screen display that looks more like a small television set than an Alexa/Echo device.

It provides a 1080p display with full Alexa capabilities and has built-in Fire TV technology which is the main reason I wanted to purchase one of these for my kitchen.

After fully using the Echo Show 15 for a little over a year I have had enough time to thoroughly test all aspects and cover all features, pros, cons, and more in my detailed review below.

If you are looking to purchase one of these devices to install various Apps & APKs such as Kodi, IPTV, and more, make sure to read the sections below that cover these topics before buying one!

Echo Show 15 Details & Specs

Echo Show 15 Details

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The Echo Show 15 is Amazon’s most powerful Echo device with tons of technical aspects including its large-scale display that can be used in both landscape or portrait orientation depending on your preference.

Echo Show 15 dimensions

Listed below are the specifications for the Echo Show 15 which was originally released in December 2021.

  • Size: 15.8”W x 9.9”H x 1.4”D
  • Weight: 78.1 oz
  • Display: 15.6” with 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • Wifi: Dual-band, dual-antenna wifi (MIMO). Supports 802.11a/b/g/n/ac wifi networks
  • Audio: Dual 1.6″ full-range drivers
  • Processor: Amlogic Pop1 octa-core SoC with Amazon AZ2 neural network engine
  • Bluetooth: Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) support for audio streaming from your mobile device to Echo Show 15 or from Echo Show 15 to your Bluetooth speaker
  • Language: English & Spanish
  • Navigation: Touchscreen & Remote friendly

The Echo Show 15 is currently priced at $279.99 and includes an Alexa Voice Remote. Click the link below for the official product page.

Amazon Alexa Show 15 Full HD 15.6″ smart display with Alexa and Fire TV built-in

Built-in Fire TV Technology

Built in Fire TV Technology

The first part of the review I want to dive into is the built-in Fire TV technology that comes equipped with the Echo Show 15. This is the main reason I purchased one of these devices and am guessing that many others had the same idea.

Firestick and Fire TV users have become accustomed to the interface that this Operating System provides and this is exactly what you will get in the Show 15 with a few minor adjustments/tweaks.

Even though the device itself uses touchscreen technology, it comes included with the well-known Alexa Voice Remote that we see with all Firestick devices.

It is important to note that the touchscreen works perfectly for everything except when you launch the Fire TV home screen. Still, some touchscreen functionality is available including the use of the Amazon Silk Browser which I will dive into later.

Unfortunately, most aspects of the Fire TV interface require the use of the remote which is bizarre and perplexing. While the remote works perfectly fine, it is annoying to be able to use the touchscreen for the Show 15 itself and then have to switch to the remote once you open the Fire TV console.

As noted above, the capabilities of the built-in Fire TV OS are the same as you would find in a Firestick with various applications users can install for Movies, TV Shows, Live TV, Gaming, and more.


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Fire TV Apps

Users can watch their favorite Netflix shows, stream live sporting events, and access tons of videos with applications like YouTube and Twitch. The interface displays what we typically expect from an Amazon device with ads for original content from Freevee and Prime Video as well as suggested Movies/Shows.

All of these items are great for those who enjoy the basic features that Firestick/Fire TV devices offer to stream high-definition content wherever you have your Echo Show 15 located.

However, some of the settings we are used to with this technology are non-existent and leave customization of this resource minimal.

As you can see pictured below, the only options for Fire TV Settings are Content, Applications, Fire TV Remtoes, Preferences, and Repeat Guided Setup.


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The main Settings missing that we are used to seeing are Accessibility and My Fire TV which allow us to adjust Developer Options and enable Unkown Sources. This is the first step to enable sideloading on these devices and without it, our streaming options are limited.

For many, this may be a deal breaker as this means the Echo Show 15 does not have sideloading capabilities. Continue reading for more information on this including a simple workaround for those interested.

Sideloading Apps/APKs on Echo Show 15

One of the main reasons the Amazon Firestick is one of the most popular streaming devices available today is due to its “jailbreaking” capabilities that allow users the ability to install applications that are not available in the Amazon App Store.

This is not the case for the Echo Show 15 as Amazon has blocked all sideloading capabilities which means users are unable to install any outside apps or APKs including those that provide Free Movies, Shows, and more.

Those of us who rely on streaming applications will be disappointed to know that there is no way of getting these apps installed. Even with various workarounds that have circulated on the internet, as I have tried them all to no avail!

This is likely in part due to the Downloader App from AFTVNews being removed entirely from the Amazon App Store on the Echo Show 15. Most Firestick/Fire TV owners know the Downloader app is the central hub for sideloading 3rd party apps on these devices.

AFTVNews noted the absence of the Downloader App in an article from 2022.

The Downloader app has been blocked by Amazon from being installed on the Echo Show. I’m currently in talks with Amazon to understand why and will update this guide after I learn more..

As of January 2024, it seems that this is still the case as a search for Downloader prompts the following results and lists the app as “Unavailable”.



Downloader App Unavailable

Without the Downloader app, the use of Fire TV on the Echo Show 15 becomes almost obsolete unless you plan on only using applications that Amazon provides in their reduced version of the Amazon App Store.

If you still want to watch content from 3rd party sources I have devised somewhat of a workaround which I discuss below.

Watch IPTV on Echo Show 15

Live Content

While the ability to install outside apps including those that provide VOD Content and Live Streaming content is unavailable, there are still various methods we can take advantage of to watch IPTV on Echo Show 15.

If you are unable to find your IPTV Service’s application within the Amazon App Store, there is a simple trick that will allow you to still access your live channels without installing a 3rd party application.


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In my case, the IPTV Service that I use has a Web player that allows you to stream all channels associated with the provider without an APK by simply using your preferred web browser.

Luckily, the Amazon Silk Browser comes pre-installed on the Echo Show 15 which is the best browser for these devices and works fabulously with various IPTV Services that provide a Web player option.

IPTV on Echo Show 15

The same can be said for those who wish to stream Movies, TV Shows, and Live events without an APK or streaming app by accessing your favorite Free Movie Sites or Sports Streaming Sites with the Silk Browser.

Unfortunately, navigation can be a bit tricky for all of these options which makes using the Echo Show 15 for IPTV or VOD Content an unenjoyable experience. The blockade of Downloader and 3rd party apps, in general, has handcuffed these devices entirely.

If your main focus for this device is to watch your favorite Movies, Shows, and more, your best bet is to opt for a Fire TV Smart TV or other Android TV device.

Widgets

As with many other devices, the Echo Show 15 has various “Widgets” users can install, sort, and use for tons of content options that many are accustomed to with Echo products.

This is another area where the Echo Show 15 falls short. Although there are various widgets to install and access for health, fitness, cooking, reminders, and more, these do not function very well on this device.

Users can browse through various categories to install these widgets, however, you will see that most categories have only 1 or 2 widgets available for each making the choices minimal. Pictured below are all of the Business & Finance widgets which only lists 1 option.

Minimal Widgets available

Oftentimes, these widgets do not even work properly as some of them don’t display on the home screen or will not auto-update. I have this problem with the weather app on my device that doesn’t always update with the latest weather information and is oftentimes inaccurate entirely.

Widget Issues

One widget that I do really enjoy is the “Recent Apps” tab for Fire TV that displays my most visited/last opened applications including Silk Browser. This makes it extremely easy to access my IPTV Service which is bookmarked within Silk.

Recent Apps

Overall, this is another letdown for this device as most of these widgets don’t perform properly and the interface oftentimes lags when trying to access them, move them, or even use them in general.

Alexa Features

As with all Echo products, the Echo Show 15 has full Alexa capabilities including the Alexa voice remote for use with the built-in Fire TV Operating System.

Unlike most aspects of this device, this is one feature we can rely on as all of these functions work as they should such as home photo integration, built-in microphone/camera, and more.

Users can even use the “Tap to Alexa” feature that enables access to the service via touch instead of speaking your command. You can manage all of this within the Alexa app that is easily paired with the Echo Show 15.

Alexa Features

Conclusion

I had high hopes for the Amazon Echo Show 15 when it was first released and was excited to purchase one when they were available.

The main reason being this was the first Echo product with built-in Fire TV capabilities. As with most Firestick/Fire TV users, I was excited to see what I could do with it for streaming my favorite Movies, Shows, Live TV, and more.

Unfortunately, most of the content I want to watch is available on 3rd party applications that must be sideloaded onto these devices for use. With Amazon blocking this ability entirely the Echo Show 15 falls short of my hopes and expectations by a mile.

Not to mention the buggy interface that doesn’t always work and the lackluster widgets that provide a minimal experience if you can get them to display/function properly. There have been a few updates to the device but most of these do little to change the performance at all.

Those who are looking for a full-screen Alexa device with a smart display that plays content in high definition may enjoy it but only if you plan on using the watered-down app choices that are available via the Amazon App Store.

Cord-cutters who enjoy Firestick devices for their sideloading capabilities will want to avoid the Echo Show 15 since these have all but been blocked by Amazon. Hopefully, we don’t see this technique used in the future for Fire TV devices as it would make these all but obsolete.

If you are looking for a monitor to display/watch content in your kitchen or other room, I suggest opting for a cheaper Alexa product and purchasing a small television set such as Fire TV or Smart Android TV that has sideloading abilities.

What do you think of The Echo Show 15? Do you have one of these devices or have you considered buying one? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

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