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Amazon Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen) review: The right compromise

July 26th, 2021 at 11:54 AM

The Echo Show line of smart displays is perfect for those who want a little more from Alexa. Now in its second generation, the Echo Show 8 sits in between the Echo Show 5 and Echo Show 10 in terms of both size and price. It offers the same overall design and features as the Echo Show 5 but with a bit more screen real-estate — so there’s more room for activities.

At $130, the device is quite a bit more expensive than the Echo Show 5. But that extra screen can seriously come in handy. Should you buy the new Amazon Echo Show 8, or save your cash? I’ve been using the Echo Show 8 for a while now to find out.

Amazon Echo Show 8 Smart Display Price:$129.99 Buy Now Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission

Amazon Echo Show 8 design

The Echo Show 5 and Echo Show 8 offer a similar design, and it’s distinctly different than that of the Echo Show 10. It’s generally wedge-shaped, with a fabric covering on the back of the device, and an 8-inch display on the front.

The device in general measures 7.9 inches wide, 5.4 inches tall, and 3.9 inches deep. Despite being larger than the Echo Show 5, it’s still compact enough to reside on most desks or tables without being too intrusive.

Amazon Echo Show 8 ControlsImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

On the top of the Echo Show 8 is where you’ll get the controls for it. There are two buttons for volume, and a microphone mute button. There’s also a slider to physically cover the camera, in case you’re worried about privacy. It’s a nice touch.

The device is available in two colors — “Charcoal,” and “Glacier White.” We’re reviewing the Charocal model, which I like better than the Glacier White option.

Generally speaking, the device isn’t the most exciting tech product out there, but it should look fine in any home. It doesn’t draw too much attention to itself, and some may find it a little boring, but it still looks fine.

Amazon Echo Show 8 display

The display on the Echo Show 5 did the job but generally left a little to be desired. So how does the Echo Show 8 stack up? Well, it’s more of the same. The display has a higher resolution, but given the larger size, the actual pixel density is lower. Generally, I found that it looked about as crisp as that on the Echo Show 5.

What is nice, however, is the fact that it’s larger. The Echo Show 5’s display was a little too compact for me, and I find that the extra space on the Echo Show 8 is really handy for things like video calls and watching videos. If you don’t plan on using your Echo Show to do those things, then the smaller display will be fine for you.

Amazon Echo Show 8 audio and camera

The Echo Show 8 offers both larger speakers and a higher-resolution camera — so theoretically, it should deliver both better audio and better video. Thankfully, it does. In fact, the overall listening experience on this speaker is actually pretty great.

The speaker generally offers good bass response, with more than enough oomph for kick drums and bass guitars. It’s definitely a bass-heavy sound, but I found that most of the time it didn’t go over the top. Detail is fine for a speaker in this price range, but again, don’t expect audiophile-level audio. You can also adjust the EQ in the Alexa app, if you so choose, which is a nice touch.

Amazon Echo Show 8 SideImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

The camera quality is much better on the Echo Show 8 than both the previous-gen model, and the Echo Show 5. The device has a 13-megapixel camera that can be used for video calling or to see a view of the room it’s in. Details are decently crisp, and the camera also has a wider angle, so you can see more. It’s no 4K camera, but it definitely does the trick — and relatively well.

Amazon Echo Show 8 smart features and interface

The Amazon Echo Show 8 offers a number of smart features that make it a good addition to any Alexa-powered smart home.

Chief among those, of course, is Alexa. As usual, you can use Alexa here to find out information from the web, control your smart home devices, and so. With the display, you’ll get even more info. Ask about the weather, and you can see a forecast for the week. Ask to see feeds from your cameras, and they’ll show up on the display. And so on.

The interface allows for other controls too. With a swipe, you can see and control your smart home devices without having to say a word. And, when you’re not doing anything, you’ll get a nice look at your photos and the time.

You can also use your smart display to watch movies and TV shows. The display supports Netflix, Prime Video, and Hulu, but many others aren’t supported. YouTube videos open up in a browser, so you can at least watch them even if there isn’t a native app.

Amazon Echo Show 8 InterfaceImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

The interface in general is pretty easy to navigate. Amazon updated the software on Echo Show devices earlier this year. You can swipe down from the top of the interface to control brightness and access settings. Or, swipe from the right to access other controls, like smart home controls, videos, alarms, and more. You’ll get used to it pretty much immediately.

Amazon Echo Show 8 performance

One of the Echo Show 5’s weak points is the fact that it responds relatively slowly to input. The Echo Show 8 has a slightly better processor, but I still found that it was a little slow to react. It’s a little frustrating, but you’ll get used to it — it never froze or stopped reacting altogether.

Conclusions

The Amazon Echo Show 8 is an excellent compromise between the too-small Echo Show 5, and the too-expensive Echo Show 10. It’s not a groundbreaking device, but it doesn’t need to be. If your smart home is in Amazon’s ecosystem, then the device is well-worth buying.

The competition

The main competition to the Echo Show 8 comes from Amazon itself. If you are on a budget and don’t anticipate using your device for watching videos or video chatting, then the Echo Show 5 may still do the trick. Alternatively, if you want all the bells and whistles, the Echo Show 10 is worth considering. I think the Echo Show 8 offers better value-for-money though.

Should I buy the Amazon Echo Show 8?

Yes. If you want an Alexa-powered smart display, the Echo Show 8 is the one to get.

Amazon Echo Show 8 Smart Display Price:$129.99 Buy Now Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission



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