If you’ve picked up a brand new Amazon Echo Show or Amazon Echo Spot, no doubt you’ll be keen to leverage the screen with some visual skills. After all, Alexa with a screen offers loads of new possibilities.
But you’d also be forgiven for wondering exactly what skills work with an Echo display, because Amazon is quite coy about telling you what they are. We've already covered the best Amazon Alexa skills for Echo speakers, but when you head to the online store, there’s no ‘visual apps’ section of the skills page. That means having to fathom which skills make use of the screen by yourself.
Essential reading: Complete guide to Amazon Alexa
That's why we’ve pulled together this specific list of the best Amazon Echo Show and Echo Spot skills that make use of the screen. Read on to get started.
Amazon Prime Video
You can watch TV shows and movies from Amazon Prime Video on your Amazon Echo Show and Spot (yes, on the 480 x 480 screen), provided you have a Prime account. To watch shows such as The Grand Tour and Bosch (surprisingly not a show about dishwashers) just say, “Alexa, play [name of show] on Amazon Prime Video.”
Daily Motion / Vimeo
Video on the Amazon Echo has become a bit of a mess after a spat between Google and Amazon meant YouTube support was pulled from Alexa devices. Luckily, Dailymotion and Vimeo have stepped into the void, but there’s no official skill to be found.
“Alexa, play Cardi B music videos” will start a search for the video you want to watch, and you’ll get on-screen results made up of the two services. Good for music videos and funnies – but those with different tastes might be found wanting.
A bustling US-only skill with everything from recipes to advice on getting stains out of your soft furnishings, you can say things like "Alexa, ask Good Housekeeping what I should make for dinner tonight." The screen helps with recipes, making it one of the better, well, housekeeping skills available.
A real win for smart home fans, you can say “Alexa, show my front door” to have that security camera feed displayed on the Echo Show or Echo Spot’s screen – obviously replace "front door" with the name of your Nest Cam. This can turn your camera into a fantastic baby monitor, or just act as a seamless way of checking on what’s happening in different areas of the house.
Another top video smart home integration, you can ask “Alexa, show my Ring Doorbell” for a feed of what’s happening out-front. You don’t even have to wait for the chime – you can pull up the feed at any time. Some shortcomings, however, are that the feed won’t show automatically when Ring sounds, and there’s no two-way audio. Still useful for screening time-wasting callers, though.
The gaming streaming service has a visual Alexa skill, which will help you follow your favourite players. You can link your accounts from within Twitch to be notified when one of your followed players logs on.
Alternatively, you can ask “Alexa, ask Twitch who’s playing [insert game]” or “Alexa, ask Twitch to suggest an IRL channel” to start streaming.
Jeopardy!, the Alexa skill of the popular game show, is one of the best on the Echo – and it offers a little more for users of Echo Show and Echo Spot. Users will get clues on screen and see the questions, which makes it just a little easier to play than carefully listening to Alexa. To start, just say “Alexa, play Jeopardy”.
Food Network / Allrecipes / Recipedia
One of the most-used examples of why Alexa benefits from a screen is cooking – you can ask for a recipe and have it displayed in front of you.
To use any of the above services just ask, “Alexa, show me a recipe for [insert delicious dish]” and she’ll select one for you. If you’re particular about which service you like, you can say “Alexa, ask Allrecipes for a [insert food] recipe” and it’ll find one for you.
MTV UK News
A video news skill which makes up part of your Flash briefings, MTV News offers a properly presented package on the latest pop culture news from the worlds of fashion, music and YouTube stars. It's professional, slick, and you can just ask "Alexa, play my Flash Briefing" once it's installed.
One of our favourite skills for normal Echos, the Ambient Visuals range offers relaxing vibes with some HD visuals as part of the package. You can choose from Rainfall, Space Shuttle and Lightning Storm skills, among others. Just say "Alexa play Ambient Visuals [name of effect]" to get started.
The popular app game, but now with voice; it's actually far better suited to Alexa than it is to the app. You can shout out the names of the logos, rather than battling to spell company names correctly, ask for hints (you get three per game) or just pass. The logos are shown on the screen of the Echo Show and Echo Spot.
Play against Alexa in a battle of wits, in which she's more than a match. The app (open with "Alexa, enable Connect 4") could be better, with serious repetition of the words "into which slot do you throw a disc" which sounds a little insane. However, the game works well, quickly and Alexa is no walkover. It's just a shame you can't play two-player locally, and chuck Alexa out of the equation.
The winner of the Amazon Developers best kids skill for Echo Show, Panda Rescue puts children in charge of the development of a cub. The skill is much the same on Echo Show as audio-only devices, but the screen adds pictures of the panda cub at different stages of development, which adds to the education aspect for kids.