better camera. fast processor. Still the same ol’ Alexa.
The Amazon Echo Show 8 hasn’t been around for long, but in that time it has really owned up to its role as the middle child of the Echo Show lineup. By providing more features and functionality than amazon echo show 5 at a much lower cost than amazon echo show 10The Amazon Echo Show offers a lot of value for money.
The second generation of the mid-range smart display is aimed at a new 13-megapixel wide-angle camera that digitally pans and zooms during video calls and a new octa-core processor that allows the display to switch between apps faster. helps to. You’ve also got dual stereo speakers on board and an 8-inch HD screen with adaptive color.
The result, so far, feels like a functional and aesthetically pleasing smart display that can call family and friends and play your favorite songs and shows from services like Amazon Music Unlimited and Amazon Prime Video. We’re still unsure whether it’s worth upgrading from the original Echo Show 8 for any of the new features, but if you’re a newcomer to the smart home space and looking for a smart display, the brand new Amazon Echo Show 8 might just be the way to go. is a good option for you.
Price and release date
Amazon Echo Show 8 will be available from June 9, 2021 for $129.99 / £119.99 / AU$199 in two colors, Charcoal and Glacier White.
For comparison, the Amazon Echo Show 10 costs $249.99 / £239.99 / AU$399.99, while the new Amazon Echo Show 5 (Gen 2) Cost $84.99 / £74.99 / AU$119. The Amazon Echo Show 8 falls well in between those two, and is a good middle ground in terms of price and functionality.
That said, not only is the Amazon Echo Show 8 the mid-range champion of Amazon’s lineup, but it’s also priced among the new google nest hub 2 and google nest hub max Too. We’ll compare the two below, but if you’re only looking at the sticker price, the Echo Show 8 has a clear advantage here.
Of course, there isn’t a huge difference aesthetically between the older Amazon Echo Show 8 and the newer Amazon Echo Show 8—the shells are pretty much the same. On the front bezel you’ll find the new 13MP camera and 8-inch 1280 x 800 resolution display, but otherwise there’s nothing else to see.
On top of the Echo Show 8 are control buttons for volume up/down and Alexa, but there’s also a mute button that turns off the microphone and a slide to cover the camera. This one is non-negotiable for privacy enthusiasts, and it’s great to have it here.
Speaking of microphones, the Echo Show 8 (2021) also has the same four-microphone configuration as the previous iteration that works at medium to long range and you should be able to listen to loud music – though, sometimes You may have to repeat itself several times for Alexa to hear you.
Inside, the Echo Show 8 (2021) has a MediaTek MT8183 octa-core processor, which is comparable to the current Echo Show 8, which has a MediaTek MT8163. In theory, this should help the Smart Display feel a little faster than its predecessor. In practice, though, we found it hard to prove that was the case—in fact, both are relatively nimble, though videos start out a bit sharper on the new Echo Show.
Last but not least, are the dual 2-inch speakers that hide behind the Amazon Echo Show 8’s mesh. These speakers aren’t the be-all, end-all speakers (more on that below) but two drivers are definitely better than one.
So what’s the Amazon Echo Show 8 like to use? Well, it is similar to many other Amazon Echo Show devices. It’s a visual display – albeit a bit lower resolution than we’d like – with lots of information about your day. Shows will often have on-screen messages about what Alexa can do (“Alexa, call”), or about events in your calendar, or facts and weather information for your area.
Of course, calling is what the new Amazon Echo Show 8 is, so it’s there that you’ll find its greatest strength. With the 13-megapixel camera, call quality should look much better to you with very little grain, even in poor lighting. The 13MP camera makes the picture sharp most of the time, sure, but it allows the Amazon Echo Show 8 to zoom in when you’re sitting further away from the camera—which is a neat trick if you can’t always sit still. Very close to your show.
How much you’ll get used to from that feature depends on how much video calling you do (the Echo now supports both Echo-to-Echo and Zoom calls) but we appreciate the extra attention Amazon has put in. Featured in one go. When we are spending more time than ever on video calls.
That said, we can’t talk about Amazon smart devices without talking about Alexa. Finding out what Alexa can do is up to you whether you already have an Alexa device, or going through some basic tutorials. That said, Alexa’s functionality has grown so much over the years that thanks to its ever-expanding skill library, it can do more than you could ever imagine or learn from tutorials. For example, Alexa can tell you how good the air quality around you is when you ask “Alexa, what’s the air quality today?” Or tell you how to pronounce words in another language (though it can’t translate conversations in real-time like Google does).
Although for every question Alexa can answer, there are more than a half-dozen that it can’t—which can feel frustrating for those who have a hard time understanding when a question is answered by Alexa. Gets too complicated to give (“Alexa, what’s the risk?” versus “Alexa, who goes to risk first?”) and often requires you to memorize Alexa commands verbatim.
As for audio quality, the Amazon Echo Show 8 has certainly stretched the mid-range to make dialogue and conversation more clear, but it has come at the expense of the high-end and low-end of the audio spectrum. Songs like Olivia Rodrigo’s Good 4 U have exceptionally clear lyrics and driving bass, but snares get lost in the mix as do the background singers—especially if you compare it to the Echo Show 10 which has a single speaker. Absolutely attractive bass response is almost the same size.
Silver lining here? It’s incredibly easy to lump Alexa speakers together into groups that can then all play the same song in different rooms. That’s true if, say, you keep an Amazon Echo Show 8 in a kitchen and something else like an Amazon Echo Studio in your living room, both play the same song. By itself, the Amazon Echo Show 8’s sound quality still leaves something to be desired, but when it’s part of a larger group, it doesn’t stand out as much from the crowd.
It’s also a similar story for performance. The Amazon Echo Show 8’s 1280 x 800 resolution display won’t blow you away — especially when compared to a tablet or laptop — but it’s fine for watching cooking tutorial videos or a short show on Amazon Prime Video. The picture isn’t cinematic, of course, especially without HDR support, but it’s decent for its size.
Finally, in terms of smart home features, it’s worth noting that the Amazon Echo Show 8 doesn’t have a built-in ZigBee hub. It can still connect to multiple devices over Bluetooth, but you won’t want to buy it as the brainchild of your growing smart home only to find that some lightbulbs, smart thermostats, smart cameras, and doorbells need lengthy setup processes. Because the Echo Show 8 doesn’t have a hub built-in.
It’s a small thing, of course, but the difference in difficulty between setting up devices with a Zigbee hub and without one can be enormous.
We’ve only had the Amazon Echo Show 8 in our house for a few days now, so we can’t say for sure yet whether it’s worth your money. That said, compared to other smart displays we have throughout the house, the Amazon Echo Show 8 offers the best camera out of them all (13MP versus 6.5MP on the Google Nest Hub Max) and a wide range of features that make it a great choice. Huh. More compelling options. We don’t love the sound quality or the HD/SDR picture quality, but those who want great video calling and a cheaper alternative to the Amazon Echo Show 10 will definitely find it here.
- Don’t forget to check out our guide to the best smart speakers