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Echo Show 15 review

Amazon Echo Show 15 review (Image: AMAZON)

If you fancy an Echo with a screen you’re not exactly spoilt for choice right now. The online retailer has an extensive range of display-packed devices including the cute Echo Show 5 and bizarre Echo Show 10 which follows you around the room like an overly excited puppy. Now there’s another new Echo Show joining the ranks and this time it’s gone supersized. The Show 15 arrives packing a giant 15.6-inch full HD screen and a design that’s been created to make it look just like a picture.

The concept is pretty simple with Amazon wanting customers to stick this device to their walls and use it as an interactive photo frame. It’s a really neat idea but does it actually work and is it worth the whopping £240 asking price?

Express.co.uk has been putting the Echo Show 15 through its paces and here’s what we think of it.

Echo Show 15 review:

Right out of the box Amazon has made things super simple to set up and install. Switch the speaker on, link it to your Amazon account and you’ll be barking orders at the ever-helpful Alexa assistant in a matter of minutes. It’s so super easy that even the biggest technophobes shouldn’t have any issues getting things up and running.

As we mentioned earlier, the Show 15 has been designed to cling to your walls with Amazon including everything you need to keep it firmly in place.

Amazon Echo Show 15

Amazon Echo Show 15 review (Image: AMAZON)

You’re going to need some basic DIY skills and a drill to get it installed but we found it all pretty easy with the supplied mount making sure the screen stays securely positioned in place. One thing to note is that this device needs power from the mains so you will end up with a cable dangling down from underneath the frame which does slightly spoil the appearance.

Amazon also only supplies this device with around a metre of lead so make sure you place the Show 15 close enough to the power sockets otherwise you’ll need to add an extension cable to your shopping basket which costs around £13.

If you don’t want the Show 15 drilled into your freshly painted plasterboard then you can also mount it on stand although this isn’t included in the box and will set you back another £30.

Once things are all set up the Show 15 is pretty useful as it not only does all the usual things such as setting timers, showing weather conditions and the day’s news but you can also pack the large display with a bunch of widgets to help guide you through the day.

There are Sticky Notes, To-do Lists, Shopping Lists, Calendars and Alexa Tips. You can also see the day’s weather, recent music playlists plus there’s quick access to all of your favourite smart home gadgets such as light bulbs and thermostats.

Amazon Echo Show 15

The Echo Show 15 is designed to look just like a picture frame (Image: AMAZON)

Glancing at the screen and seeing all of this information makes it ideal for busy homes and should mean nobody forgets to take the dog for a walk or buy some milk from the local shop. To make things more personal, the Show 15 can also be switched into a photo frame mode which will then display all of your family albums – it’s a really nice touch.

There are also stunning landscape images pre-installed on the Show which will certainly brighten up a dull corner of your room.

Another great feature of that 15.6-inch screen is that you can watch TV on it thanks to compatibility with services such as Netflix, YouTube and Prime Video. Just ask Alexa to launch these servcies and the display will spring into action and soon be full of things to view.

It’s all good stuff although, sadly, there are still quite a few platforms that don’t work with Echo Show devices including Disney+ and BBC’s iPlayer. The Echo Show 15 feels like the first screen that could really take advantage of these hugely popular video players and the missing content is something Amazon really needs to fix.

That lack of Disney and BBC shows isn’t our only gripe as there are some other niggles to be aware of.

Amazon Echo Show 15

Along with wall mounting it you can buy a stand to place the screen on (Image: AMAZON)

Firstly, although the screen is bright, colours do appear a little dull and there’s no way to boost the contrast or make things more punchy.

Then there’s the pretty terrible sound. Amazon’s design team has popped the speakers on the back of the device and, if mounted on the wall, the audio becomes really muffled.

If you’re simply using the Show 15 as a big screen this won’t be a concern but it’s pretty annoying if you’re hoping to listen to music all day or settle down for a blockbuster Netflix binge.

Then there are those useful widgets. All the pre-installed options are great but Amazon could definitely do with including more third-party services. Latest action from BBC Sport, access to your Facebook feed or a glance at Google Maps would all be welcomed although we doubt they will ever make an appearance on this device.

It would also be nice if you could change the size and shape of the widgets as they currently sit in a grid that can’t be customised. That means you can’t slap a Sticky Note over everything to remind you of an event or make a shopping list more visible on the screen.

It’s a real shame and it’s something the team at Amazon might want to address in future updates.

One final thing that’s pretty annoying is the speed of the screen. Swipes and taps seem to constantly stutter and it always feels one step behind your finger. The experience is definitely not as slick as other Echo devices we’ve used.

Amazon Echo Show 15

Amazon Echo Show 15 review (Image: AMAZON)

ECHO SHOW 15 VERDICT

PROS: Big screen is useful • Easy to set up and install • Alexa remains one of the best assistants
CONS: Very expensive • Sound quality is terrible • Needs more widgets and more ways to customise them • No Disney+ or iPlayer

The Echo Show is back and bigger than ever. This 15.6-inch device clips neatly to your walls and offers a fun and pretty useful way to use Alexa.

The large screen means you can pack it full of those widgets or use it as a way to binge on the odd boxset.

The fact it looks just like a photo frame means it won’t appear out of place even in the most style-conscious of homes and there’s the brilliant Alexa assistant who will answer pretty much anything you ask of it.

At over £230 it is pricey and we do have some niggles with the quality of the screen and dismal sound.

We also hope Amazon releases a software update that brings more ways to customise the screen and speed things up a little.

Despite those gripes, we like what Amazon has created and, with a few tweaks, we could see plenty of homes loving everything the Show 15 has to offer.

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More wealth is tied up in pensions than in property, particularly among the best off people in the country, new official figures show.

Wealth per household was £302,500 in 2018-2020, at the median or midpoint level. That’s up from £286,600 in the previous two years, and by a fifth when adjusted for inflation over the past 14 years.

Pensions make up 42 per cent of wealth in Britain, and property – minus mortgage debt – represents 36 per cent, according to the latest research by the Office for National Statistics.

What do we own? Pensions are the largest component of total wealth, rather than property

What do we own? Pensions are the largest component of total wealth, rather than property

Financial wealth, or savings or investments, makes up 13 per cent and physical wealth, such as house contents and cars, makes up 9 per cent.

But what makes up the biggest share of your wealth depends on how much you have overall, with belongings most significant for the poorest, property for mid-range households, and pensions for the wealthiest in the country.

The above has not changed much since 2016-2018, but the ONS says there has been a shift in the past 14 years, with pensions now the largest component of total wealth, rather than property.

Reasons for this change could include lower levels of home ownership for younger people, varying pension pot valuations, and the introduction of automatic enrolment and increase in the state pension age which are causing people to contribute to their pensions for longer, according to the ONS.

But despite pensions making up such a big proportion of the country’s wealth, there are wide disparities among the older generations, with many very poor pensioners relying on the state pension and benefits.

Source: Office for National Statistics

Source: Office for National Statistics

There was a huge row over the Government’s decision to suspend the ‘triple lock’ guarantee on state pension increases and raise it by 3.1 per cent this year. 

And rising inflation, especially energy price hikes, is causing great concern among elderly people struggling to pay their bills. 

Meanwhile, Jason Hollands, managing director of Bestinvest, points out that pensions have increased in value on the back of surging global stock markets in recent years.

He adds that the ONS figures reflect the growing pressure on workers to make their own financial provision for retirement.

Source: Office for National Statistics

Source: Office for National Statistics

‘As final salary or defined benefit pensions schemes have closed to new members, and state pension entitlement has been pushed steadily further down the line, the public are waking up to the fact they will need to focus on their own savings and investments to plan for a comfortable retirement.

‘Auto-enrolment has obviously assisted in this, leading to a huge growth in defined contribution pensions and turning vast number of people into long-term investors for the first time.’

Sarah Coles, senior personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, says: ‘The divide between the richest and poorest groups isn’t widening, but it’s still eye-watering.

‘The richest 10 per cent of households hold 43 per cent of all the wealth, and the least well-off half of the country holds just 9 per cent of the wealth. The mega-wealthy 1 per cent of the country has an average of £3.6million in assets.

‘While pensions make up a major part of the difference, whether you have got onto the property ladder also drives a huge divide between the most and least wealthy.

‘Property wealth is the second biggest component of wealth overall – at 36 per cent. The very wealthiest are much more likely to own their home outright, while those with fewest assets are likely to be struggling to buy their first property.

Source: Office for National Statistics

Source: Office for National Statistics

‘It’s one reason why older people have far more wealth than younger people, who have a mountain to climb to afford their first property.’

The ONS data also shows median wealth was highest for households where a member was aged between 55 years and state pension age at £553,400 – 25 times higher than that of those aged 16-24.

Meanwhile, household median wealth was highest in the south east at £503,400 – up 43 per cent since 2006 after adjusting for inflation – and lowest in the north east at £168,500.

TOP SIPPS FOR DIY PENSION INVESTORS

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Estate agent Savills soars as Covid fuels demand for bigger homes and warehouse space










Estate agent Savills’ shares stormed higher as it raised profit guidance amid a boom in demand for expensive homes.

The stock soared 8 per cent, or 105p, to 1425p after performance for 2021 came in ‘very significantly ahead’ of expectations following an ‘extraordinarily strong’ final two months of the year.

The FTSE 250 group, which sells residential and commercial property, has also been boosted by warehouse space sales as the boom in online shopping and supply chain woes left firms scrambling for storage space.

Savills soared 8% after figures for 2021 came in ‘very significantly ahead’ of expectations following an ‘extraordinarily strong’ performance in the final two months of the year

Savills soared 8% after figures for 2021 came in ‘very significantly ahead’ of expectations following an ‘extraordinarily strong’ performance in the final two months of the year

Properties currently for sale on its website include a seven-bedroom house with a swimming pool and gym for £39.5million in Knightsbridge, London, and an Oxfordshire estate for £23million.

‘The UK prime residential market continued to perform exceptionally strongly through the last quarter,’ Savills said. It added that a shortage of houses to sell meant activity was likely to moderate this year.

It noted ‘substantially lower levels’ of spending on travel, entertainment and marketing, left buyers with more cash to purchase properties. 

As a result, profits were expected to be ‘very significantly ahead’ of the previous forecast. 

Analysts at broker Peel Hunt predicted the figure could be between £190million and £200million, up from £96.6million in 2020.

Anthony Codling, chief executive of property data site Twindig, said while the UK housing market ‘made hay’ during lockdown, the opening up of the economy and relaxation of travel restrictions would cause buying patterns to normalise.

Estate agents and builders have cashed in over the pandemic as a demand for bigger homes and a stamp duty holiday sent buyers flooding into the market.

AIM-listed peer Winkworth jumped 6.2 per cent, or 12p, to 207p after it predicted profits for 2021 will be ahead of forecasts.

London-focused Winkworth flagged ‘brisk’ sales activity in the final quarter, saying sales for 2021 were 13 per cent higher than 2020 and 42 per cent above 2019 levels.

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