Echo Show vs. iPad

Amazon has just released the newest addition to the Echo lineup – the Echo Show. But while the new device sure looks like an iPad, there are some pretty important differences. The two devices are made for vastly different uses.


The best feature for the iPad is its portability. It isn’t uncommon for people to FaceTime each other in a coffee shop. The iPad gives you the choice of a 4G model (additional mobility, but you have to pay for a data plan like you do with a phone) or a Wi-Fi model (you can only access the Internet where a WiFi connection already exists, but there’s no monthly fee). Of course, if you have a WiFi-only iPad, you can still make your phone a mobile hotspot to use data and access your information from anywhere.

Since Amazon debuted the Echo and Alexa, it’s been positioned as a personal assistant for your home. The Echo Show can do everything the other Amazon devices are capable of, as long as it’s connected to Wi-Fi. You don’t have the option of getting a 4G Echo Show. You can use this thing to stream video or look at photos, but it’s not really intended to be a tablet, per se – it’s an Echo device first, and a screen second. That comes through in the weight – a whopping 2lb., 9oz. For contrast, even the heaviest iPad Pro weighs in at 1lb., 9.2oz. A pound makes a difference when you’ve got something at your side all day. But again – the difference in size is less a question of convenience than intent. The Echo Show is more of a home accessory than a personal one.


Apple devices are very expensive, and the iPad is no exception. Depending on which version you get, they run anywhere from the neighborhood of $300 or so for a modestly-outfitted iPad Mini 2 to as much as $1,229 for a fully decked-out iPad Pro. If you want to get an iPad as cheaply as you can get an Echo Show, that probably means buying refurbished. Which is fine, but isn’t completely risk free – especially if you buy an older model. Older devices can struggle to run newer apps or more recent versions of iOS.

Echo Show lists for $229.99. Amazon makes it easy to purchase, sometimes running sales or offering payment plans. Again, that’s cheaper than you’re likely to find an iPad, unless you buy it secondhand. For that money you get an Alexa device, but one with a screen.  Any applications you’re already using to stream music, hail cabs, or look up recipes are still here. But you can also stream videos, surf the Internet, and more. And since it’s a brand new piece of hardware, you shouldn’t have any problems running the latest apps.

Ease of Use

Since the advent of the iPod, Apple’s built their brand around user-friendliness, and the iPad is one of the easiest devices to use they’ve ever released. Like most tablets and smartphones, users just need to press on an app using the touch screen for access. The interface is straightforward and friendly.

Amazon Echo Show has a touchscreen as well, but it also gives you the option to make voice requests like the other Echo devices. You can also change the start and stop commands using the “Settings” option within Echo Show, so it isn’t a hassle to get Alexa’s attention.

Speaker and Microphone

Have you ever tried to ask your iPad to do something while you’re listening to music or there’s another noise going on? It can be tough. The iPad was designed to give users the world at their fingertips – not their voice. The speaker and microphone in the iPad are lacking. And while users have the option to upgrade to external devices that improve voice capabilities, that adds additional cost and ungainliness to the device.

While the Echo Show does have a touchscreen, the high-quality microphone and speakers steal the show. It isn’t difficult to make Alexa respond when you call out to her, even in the middle of a video or song. Additionally, the speakers provide much better sound, which can make it easier if you’re trying follow along with a recipe video while you cook.