Amazon Echo Show 8 review: The best Amazon smart display, period

When I say Echo Show 8 ($ 130 on Amazon)what’s your first thought? When it says, “There are already 8 of them?” I understand. No, this is actually only Amazon’s fourth Alexa-enabled smart display – and it has an 8-inch screen. Squeezed between his High-end 10-inch and Budget 5 inches Siblings, the Show 8 has the right mix of features and design perks to justify their existence as a middle kid – and they’re the best direct competitor with Google’s Nest Hub.

To like

  • The Echo Show 8 offers solid sound quality and screen resolution.
  • The $ 130 price tag makes the Show 8 one of the best mid-range smart displays on the market.
  • The physical camera shutter is a small, smart addition to address privacy concerns.

I do not like it

  • The user interface isn’t as smooth or easy to use as Google’s Nest hubs.
  • You cannot view YouTube videos by speaking.

If you are looking to buy a smart display for your countertop, the Show 8 might be the best product for the price. Not only has it hit $ 80 retail prices by now, but it’s a solid deal for the full $ 130 price point.

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Chris Monroe / Tips Clear

Suitable for the crowd

Amazon is currently rounding off its two central product lines for intelligent speakers and displays. We got a new one in the last few months alone Amazon Echo, Echo point with clock, Echo Studio, Echo Show 5 and now the show 8. There is a pattern: Each line of products has an option for Papa Bear, Mama Bear and Baby Bear. Amazon hopes one of these devices is just right for you.

Echo smart displays don’t just add dumb screens to smart speakers. These devices equip the Alexa voice assistant Video chat and streaming they work with Ring the doorbell To display your front door, they can offer cooking assistance in the kitchen (read more about it Amazon’s new partnership with Food Network Bringing lessons from professional chefs into your kitchen). They even offer touch controls for the smart home. For 130 US dollars (120 euros), the Echo Show 8 really offers a lot of useful smarts – and it is already available for a cool 100 US dollars (60 euros). It is not yet available in Australia.

Third thought, best thought

Critics might argue that the Echo Show 8 doesn’t add any new features to the countertop. That’s right, but like in October Echo point with clockShow 8 is less about great innovation and more about intelligent iteration.

The Show 8 has more weight than the Show 5 (which is $ 40 cheaper): a screen bigger than a supported phone, a fairly sharp 1,280-by-800-pixel resolution, and a pair of solid two-inch speakers . Additionally, Show 8 steals Show 5’s best ideas, like the physical camera shutter and sunrise alarms (though for some reason Amazon didn’t include the tap to snooze the 5 feature).

I especially like the clasp. The second generation Echo Show ($ 230 on Amazon) has no design function for separating the camera. While Google decided on a kill switch for the camera and microphone on the Nest Hub Max ($ 230 at Best Buy), Amazon added a physical lock to its last two displays. From a privacy standpoint, I’m a fan of Amazon and don’t ask that we just “trust” them. I can watch Show 8, see that the shutter is closed, and be 100% sure that I am not being watched.

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Chris Monroe / Tips Clear

Another smart touch is that while the screen is the same resolution as last year’s 10-inch show, it uses a new feature to improve the picture quality over the larger display. While images don’t appear sharper (except because of the number of pixels on the smaller display), progressive scanning means fewer visual artifacts appear on the screen. It’s a supplement that few casual users will notice on a daily basis, but it’s a useful quality of life upgrade that you will feel over time.

Talk to myself

The Show 8 is a clear upgrade over its predecessors, but it seems to fall short in a large area: The camera has only 1 megapixel, in contrast to the 5-megapixel camera of the second generation show. Lower megapixel cameras generally give blurry results, and frankly I was surprised when I heard this spec.

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Chris Monroe / Tips Clear

But when I chatted myself with the second generation show and show 8, the feed from the 5 mega-pixel camera actually looked more pixelated than the one captured by the lower quality camera. Whatever the reason, the lower quality camera in this case actually gave me consistently higher quality results.

The bottom line is, the extra $ 100 for the Echo Show won’t necessarily translate into higher image quality in video chat, so the 1-megapixel camera shouldn’t stop you from opting for the cheaper Show 8 instead .

Keep an ear to the counter

When it comes to the sound quality of the Echo Show 8, you might be pleasantly surprised. The pair of 2-inch speakers are slightly smaller than the 2.2-inch speakers in the 10-inch show, and you can hear the slight difference in sound quality, especially at higher volumes. When you press it, the Show 8 sounds a bit lively and doesn’t have the range and distinction of the Echo standalone speaker or the 10-inch Echo Show.

But the sound quality of the Echo Show 8 is a lot of taller than the smaller Show 5, which only has a single 1.7-inch speaker. In fact, the Show 8 delivers similar results alongside Amazon Echo’s latest smart speaker – as long as you keep the volume in the middle of the range.

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Chris Monroe / Tips Clear

Alexa and the screen

Despite cutting the ZigBee receiver off the second generation show and Show 5’s tap-to-snooze feature, the Show 8 is possibly the best Alexa-enabled smart display. But that doesn’t mean it’s the best display ever. I like the combination of clever features – and especially the price that comes with it – but Google’s smart displays offer a better user experience.

It’s difficult to directly compare the Show 8 to the Nest Hub ($ 90 at Best Buy) – Google’s 7-inch display for $ 130 – because it doesn’t even work to have a camera. And the Nest Hub Max that does That includes a high quality camera that costs $ 230. One thing that both Nest Hubs have in common is a smoother surface than the Echo Show 8. The screen is more responsive, the camera can follow your face as you walk around during the video chat, and you can be up with a simple voice command Access videos on YouTube.

Amazon’s operating system is improving, but it still lags behind when compared to Google – an amazing experience if you’re used to the responsiveness of modern smartphones and tablets.

That small complaint aside, I happily recommend Show 8. At $ 130, it’s the smartest Amazon display for the price. It combines the best of the rest and has a camera and better sound quality than the Nest Hub.

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