The Amazon Echo Show 8 hasn’t been around for long, but in that time it’s really held its role as the middle child of the Echo Show franchise. By providing more features and functions than that Amazon Echo Show 5 at a significantly lower price than that Amazon Echo Show 10, the Amazon Echo Show offers great value for money.
What the second generation of the mid-range smart display is supposed to offer is a new 13-megapixel wide-angle camera that digitally pans and zooms during video calls, and a new octa-core processor that helps the display switch between apps faster. You also have two stereo speakers on board and the 8-inch HD screen of the same name with adaptive color.
The result so far feels like a functional and aesthetically pleasing smart display that family and friends can call and play your favorite songs and shows from services like Amazon Music Unlimited and Amazon Prime Video. We’re still not sure if it’s worth upgrading from an original Echo Show 8 for any of the new features, but if you’re a newbie to the smart home and looking for a smart display, the brand new Amazon Echo Show could be 8 will be a great option for you.
Price and release date
The Amazon Echo Show 8 will be available on 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) Costs $ 84.99 / £ 74.99 / AU $ 119. The Amazon Echo Show 8 sits well between these two and is a nice middle ground in terms of price and functionality.
That said, the Amazon Echo Show 8 is not only the mid-range champion of Amazon’s line-up, but is also priced exactly between the new ones Google Nest Hub 2 and Google Nest Hub Max also. We’ll compare the two below, but if you just look at the sticker price, the Echo Show 8 has the clear advantage here.
Admittedly, there isn’t much aesthetic difference between the old Amazon Echo Show 8 and the new Amazon Echo Show 8 – the shells are pretty much identical. On the front panel you will find the new 13MP camera and the 8-inch display with a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels, but nothing else can be seen there.
The top of the Echo Show 8 has the volume up / down and Alexa control buttons, but there is also the mute button that turns off the microphone and a slider to hide the camera. It’s non-negotiable for privacy enthusiasts, and it’s great to have it here.
Speaking of microphones, the Echo Show 8 (2021) also features the same four-microphone configuration as the previous iteration, which work medium-to-long-range and you should hear louder music over the sound – although sometimes you may need to get a few Repeat times for Alexa to hear you.
Inside, the Echo Show 8 (2021) has the MediaTek MT8183 octa-core processor compared to the current Echo Show 8, which has a MediaTek MT 8163. In theory, this should make the Smart Display feel a bit faster than its predecessor. In practice, however, we had a hard time proving that it was – in fact, both are relatively nimble, although videos on the new Echo Show seem to start a little faster.
Last but not least, there are the two 2-inch speakers that are hidden behind the mesh back of the Amazon Echo Show 8. These speakers aren’t the be-all and end-all of speakers (more on that below), but having two drivers is certainly better than one.
How is Amazon Echo Show 8 used? Well, it’s pretty similar to a lot of other Amazon Echo Show devices. It’s a visual indicator – albeit at a slightly lower resolution than we’d like – with tons of information about your day. The show often shows messages on the screen about what Alexa can do (“Alexa, call”), or about events on your calendar, or facts and weather information for your area.
Of course, the new Amazon Echo Show 8 is all about making calls, so that’s where you’ll find its greatest strength. With a 13 megapixel camera, the call quality should look significantly improved to you with very little grain, even in poor lighting. While the 13 MP camera makes the picture look sharper most of the time, it also allows the Amazon Echo Show 8 to zoom in if you’re further away from the camera – which is a nice trick if you can’t always sit Super close to your show.
How much of this feature you can get depends on how many video calls you make (the Echo now supports both echo-to-echo and zoom calls), but we appreciate the extra attention Amazon has to the feature suddenly given away when we spend more time than ever on video calls.
That said, we can’t talk on an Amazon smart device without talking on Alexa. To find out what Alexa can do, you either need to already own an Alexa device or go through some of the basic tutorials. However, Alexa’s functionality has grown so much over the years, thanks to its ever-growing library of skills, that it can do more than you would ever imagine or learn from the tutorials. For example, Alexa can tell you how good the air quality is around you when you ask “Alexa, how is the air quality today?” Or can tell you how to pronounce words in another language (although there are no real-time conversations like Google can translate).
For every question Alexa can answer, however, there are half a dozen more she can’t answer – which can be frustrating for people who struggle to understand a question when Alexa becomes too complex to answer ( “Alexa, what is risk?” Vs “Alexa, who takes risk first?”) And often requires you to memorize the Alexa commands verbatim.
In terms of audio quality, the Amazon Echo Show 8 definitely boosted the mid-range to make dialogue and conversations much, much clearer, but this came at the expense of the high-end and low-end audio spectrum. Songs like Good 4 U by Olivia Rodrigo have exceptionally clear lyrics and driving bass, but snares are lost in the mix, as are the backing vocalists – especially when compared to the Echo Show 10, which has an absolutely ridiculous bass response for you Has speakers that are almost the same size.
The silver lining here? It’s incredibly easy to group Alexa speakers together so that they can all play the same song in different rooms. This is perfect if you put the Amazon Echo Show 8 in a kitchen, for example, and have something more substantial like the Amazon Echo Studio in your living room that both plays the same song. As such, the sound quality of the Amazon Echo Show 8 leaves a lot to be desired, but when it’s part of a larger group, it doesn’t stand out that much from the crowd.
It’s a similar story for the ad. The Amazon Echo Show 8’s 1280 x 800 display won’t blow your mind – especially when compared to tablets or laptops – but it’s fine for watching a cooking tutorial video or a short show on Amazon Prime Video . The image certainly isn’t cinematic, especially without HDR support, but it’s decent for its size.
Finally, with regard to the smart home functions, it should be mentioned that the Amazon Echo Show 8 does not have a built-in Zigbee hub. It can still connect to many devices via bluetooth, but you don’t want to buy it to be the brains of your burgeoning smart home only to find out that some of the lightbulbs, smart thermostats, smart cameras, and doorbells require longer set-up processes because of the Echo Show 8 does not have a built-in hub.
Granted, it’s a small point, but the difference in difficulty between setting up devices with and without a Zigbee hub can be quite big.
We’ve only had the Amazon Echo Show 8 in our house for a few days, so we can’t say for sure whether it’s worth the money or not. However, compared to the other smart displays we have around the house, the Amazon Echo Show 8 has the best camera of them all (13 MP vs. 6.5 MP on the Google Nest Hub Max) and a wide range of features that make it a more compelling option. We’re not in love with the sound quality or HD / SDR picture quality, but people looking for great video calling and a cheap alternative to the Amazon Echo Show 10 are sure to find it here.
Source link : https://www.techradar.com/reviews/amazon-echo-show-8-2nd-gen/