Echo Show 8 (1st Gen) vs. Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen)


Smart displays are one of the most efficient and feature-packed ways to operate your smart home. Today’s top performances range from offering assistance in the kitchen, providing answers to your most frequently asked questions, connecting you with the news of the day, playing your favorite music and podcasts, and more. In a competitive marketplace, Amazon is one of several smart display developers going strong with its Alexa-powered Echo Show display. While the Echo Show 8 and 5 have been around for some time, two new versions of both smart displays have recently hit digital and brick-and-mortar shelves.

If you’re looking to get a new Echo Show 8 or are considering upgrading to your first-gen Show 8, let us weigh in to help you with your decision. In this side-by-side, we will be pitting the second-gen Echo Show 8 against the first-gen by examining criteria like design, camera, features and price. Read on to see which display is right for you.

design

Amazon Echo Show 8 2021 Pan and Zoom Camera
John Velasco / Nerdshala

The latest Echo Show 8 and OG 2019 editions are almost identical in their design. Both the displays are 7.9 inches wide, 5.4 inches long, 3.9 inches deep and come equipped with an eight-inch touchscreen. Lightweight, both units weigh only 36.6 ounces.

In terms of color options, there are only two to choose from: Glacier White and Charcoal. While we weren’t expecting a rainbow of color options, it would have been nice to have a second generation offering at least two more cover colors.

Both the Zens feature a power port on the mesh-covered rear of the display along with a camera cover switch, volume buttons and a microphone on/off toggle. Unfortunately, Amazon decided to remove the rear auxiliary port found on the first-gen model from the second-gen iteration. The display itself does a decent job when it comes to audio performance, with the ability to wire in external speakers or headphones is always a good thing.

If you’re environmentally conscious, the second-gen Show 8 offers a leg-up in terms of composite materials as both the display and box packaging are made from recycled plastics, fabrics, die-cast aluminum and wood fibers. Huh. Enclosure.

We’d give this category to the first-gen Show 8, but mostly because we’re concerned about the loss of that pricey 3.5mm jack.

Winner: Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen)

camera

amazon echo show 8 2021 camera closeup
John Velasco / Nerdshala

The onboard camera is one of the major differences between the two generations of the Echo Show 8. The second-gen iteration got a powerful boost in megapixels, bringing in a total of 13MP, which is on par with the brand new Echo Show 10. Compare this with the 1MP lens of the first-gen Show 8. Additionally (like the Echo Show 10), the second-gen Show 8 incorporates pan and tilt functionality, automatically placing you in the frame as you move around the room – an excellent feature for drop in video calls. (more on that below).

While the first-gen Show 8 offers decent camera quality, it’s no match for the level of detail you get with the second-gen 13MP lens. Thus, we reward the second generation again.

Winner: Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen)

Features

While the basic features of both the displays are essentially the same, the second generation Show 8 gets a boost in overall performance. Running the eight-core MediaTek 8183 processor (compared to the first-gen four-core MediaTek 8163), users can expect a faster touchscreen, faster voice assistant responses and better app performance.

Aside from the processor, the bread-and-butter technology is all the same. You can use Alexa to control smart home devices (cameras, lights, locks, etc.) in your home, both at home and on the go. You can also use the voice assistant to create and manage your calendar schedule, play games, and create Alexa routines that will automatically turn on your smart lights when you come home to automatically activate your smart lock when you leave for work in the morning. Does everything from attaching to .

Want to stream a movie while you’re making dinner? Both gens of The Show 8 support a number of popular streaming apps, including Netflix, Amazon Prime, and top-tier music services like Apple Music and Spotify.

One of the biggest features of the Echo Show is the ability to make drop in video and audio calls with friends and family. For Drop In to work, your loved one will also need a Drop In-enabled device, such as an Echo Show or Echo speaker. Once they’ve approved you as a drop in contact, you’ll be able to “drop in” for video chat (with the Echo Show) or audio-only conversations (with other compatible Alexa speakers).

With no standout feature to set any generation apart from the show, we’re calling it a draw.

Winner: Tie

Price and Warranty

The second-generation Echo Show 8 currently retails for $129 and comes with a one-year limited warranty. The first-gen Show 8 can still be purchased new for $109 and comes with the same warranty. In terms of overall value, it might be tempting to save $20 at checkout with the first-gen model, but we’d really recommend throwing out that extra-large bill for the second-gen.

For just about anything else, you’re getting a significantly better camera, faster processor, and tons of other small changes that will undoubtedly deliver a better Smart Display experience overall.

Winner: Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen)

Decision

amazon echo show 8 2021 front view
John Velasco / Nerdshala

When it comes to strings, it’s easy to make our choice between the two models: the second-gen Show 8. While we’re not happy with the loss of the 3.5mm output, there are several other key tech improvements to make the first-gen show a better option to start pretending. The other four processor cores mean faster performance in a variety of ways, and the 13MP camera means better video calling and real-time smart security footage (think video doorbells and property cameras). Not to mention it’s only $20 less than the last gen.

Packing all these together, we are giving the second generation Echo Show 8 the most powerful of laurels.

Winner: Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen)




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