Amazon's brand new Echo Show 8 …
Amazon Echo Show 8 with Alexa
AMAZON Echo Show 8 (2019) -…
We present: Echo Show 8 | …
Intelligent displays flood the market, and devices from Google, Lenovo and JBL are available. However, if you'd rather have Alexa on hand or want to call – or at the push of a button – you'll have to choose from one of Amazon's Echo Show product lines, which now includes three members thanks to the new Echo Show 8.
Screen size: 8 inches
Resolution: 1280 x 800 px
Camera: 1MP, facing forward
Sound: 2 x 2-inch 10 W speakers
Dimensions: 200 x 136 x 99 mm
Weight: 1,037 g
This 8-inch smart display follows that 10-inch Echo Show and the much smaller 5.5-inch Echo Show 5, but being the middle child didn't affect his prospects at all. The Echo Show 8 is the perfect size for almost any room and offers a mix of functions from both siblings. It can display everything the other Echo Shows can do on a screen inherited from its bigger brother, while offering the privacy features of the smaller Echo Show 5.
Amazon obviously sees a lot of potential in its smart displays, and with Echo Show 8 we see it too. You can shop online without lifting a finger, watching videos or listening to music, making calls, and much more without taking up too much space on your bedside table or kitchen counter. And perhaps the most rewarding feature of the Echo Show is that no app is required to set it up. It's simple, convenient, and almost perfect.
Price and availability
Echo Show 8 was announced in September 2019 and began shipping to customers in key markets in November 2019. However, shipping to Australia only started in February 2020.
The smart display can be purchased directly from Amazon or from major retailers for USD 129 / GBP 119 / AU $ 229, although it is possible to get it cheaper as Amazon often offers discounts on its entire Echo range.
If you've seen or used the 2nd generation Echo Show or Echo Show 5, you're familiar with the new 8-inch sibling. It looks exactly like the Echo Show 5, including the camera and camera shutter, only with an 8-inch display as opposed to a smaller 5-5-inch screen.
The Echo Show 8 offers the same screen resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels as the 10-inch device. The same number of pixels on a smaller screen means that the Echo Show 8 gives you sharper and razor-sharp picture quality and much more detail.
As with the other echo shows, the angled display is held by a fabric-wrapped base that resembles a loudspeaker from behind. The power connector of the smart display is also on the back. As with his siblings, you must keep him connected at all times. On the back there is also a micro USB port and a 3.5 mm headphone jack if you want to keep your listening pleasure private or to transmit via a connected hi-fi system. However, the inclusion of the microUSB port is a mystery to us. It's also available on the other Echo shows, but there's no consumer value that we could find.
On the front is a 1-megapixel camera that she inherits from her smaller siblings, as well as the physical shutter that you can close if you are privacy-conscious. If you don't want Alexa to overhear what you're saying, you can leave voice activation off by pressing the button at the top left of the device. The two other buttons next to it, as the symbols indicate, are used to adjust the volume.
Screen and touch functionality
There is still no physical home button on Echo Show 8. Everything you need is available on the screen, which, as we have to say, is very responsive. The 8-inch display is sharp regardless of the viewing angle.
The screen has an adaptive brightness, which means that it automatically adapts to the ambient light. However, you can adjust the brightness to your liking by simply sliding down from the top of the screen to display the slider. Reflections can be a bit of a nuisance depending on indoor lighting, but never so much that viewing something on this 8-inch screen becomes a big problem.
In addition to the brightness control, you can change the device settings. From there, you can change the background image, decide what appears on the home screen, set Do Not Disturb, and more.
Swipe left to right to bring up a menu that provides easy access to a number of functions, including: B. Listen to music, watch videos, set up routines and make calls or announcements. Everything the Echo Show can do is at your disposal.
However, it is perfectly clear that the smart display was designed to demonstrate Alexa’s capabilities in response to voice commands. If you are not watching a video on any of the packaged services (such as Prime Video or Sky News), there is a high possibility that you will see a suggestion of what Alexa can do for you, even if you are aware of or have this ability tried several times. There are options in the settings to disable some of them, but there's no way to completely detach yourself – so much that it gets a bit annoying.
not as Google Nest Hub Max with full-screen dials that turn the smart display into a desk clock doesn’t provide a way to see the time in full-screen mode. That said, it's not really a deal breaker unless you need to periodically check the time from anywhere in the room.
Video and sound
As already mentioned, the Echo Show 8 only has a 1 megapixel front camera in contrast to the 5 megapixel echo show. On paper, the latter should offer better video quality than the former, but in use the 1MP camera performs better. While struggling with backlit motifs, the feed looks much more natural than the second generation Echo Show.
For a device with a footprint of only 200 x 135 x 99 mm (7.9 x 5.4 x 3.9 inches), two two-inch speakers with passive bass are included. That's just a little bit smaller than the two 2.2-inch speakers on the 10-inch Echo Show, and yet the Echo Show 8 can get loud. It's not as punchy as its bigger brother because it has Dolby-enhanced sound, but the 8-inch device can hold its own if you like booming bass. If you do not do this, you can adjust it at any time using the equalizer in the settings area. The sound fills the room and is even suitable for a large open space (walls can echo the sound and make it appear louder than it actually is).
While you can stream directly from Amazon's own streaming services, you can link your Spotify or Apple Music account instead if you prefer. The Echo Show 8 is also Bluetooth enabled, so you can pair it with your phone or tablet and play music that you have stored in a library on your handheld device.
Video streaming is also available, with Prime Video taking center stage and at least theoretically just a tap or a voice command away. However, this was the only service that we couldn't access even after the device was reset. While we could ask Alexa to play trailers or news clips, the voice assistant said "Sorry, there was a problem" every time we tried to access Amazon's own video streaming service. Attempting to use the Alexa app to set up was also unsuccessful, although the Echo Show 8 was paired with our handset and displayed online in the app. Since everything else worked perfectly, this is probably only an isolated case and not a problem with the Amazon device or service.
Of course, the Echo Show can also control some of your connected smart home devices. Alexa has different skills in different regions – while it can do much more in the US and the UK, skills are very limited in Australia. Although it is very easy to connect to Philips Hue lights, we could not find a way to connect our Nanoleaf canvas setup in Australia. There's also no ZigBee support (which you can find on the larger Echo Show), but that shouldn't be a deal breaker for most people, as there are still plenty of smart devices that can be controlled via Echo Show 8.
There is still no YouTube app here. However, Amazon's Silk browser is available for all of your YouTube or online shopping needs. Speaking of which, you cannot buy from Amazon via voice commands (like in some other markets). So if you happen to live in Down Under, the built-in browser is the way to go.
As mentioned earlier, you don't need the Alexa app to set up or use Echo Show 8. However, this is useful if you want to link other services that you can then access via the smart display. For example, iOS and Mac users can link their Apple Music account in the Alexa app and then access it via a voice command or tap the Echo Show.
If you use Amazon Photos to store your pictures, your Echo Show can be used as a digital photo frame, although the Google Nest Hub Max is a better device for this purpose due to its ability to automatically optimize colors.
One can rightly say that the Echo Show 8 does not bring anything new to the table, but considering that it is significantly cheaper than the 10-inch Echo Show (2nd generation) and has better functions than the Echo Show 5, it is definitely the best sweet spot when it comes to value for money.
The 8-inch sibling has the best screen experience among the current Echo Show devices and a great sound that accompanies the sharp display. In fact, it sounds better than the Google Nest Hub Max, although the latter shows your photos better.
Echo Show 8 is also remarkably easy to set up and only needs the Alexa app if you need to connect smart home devices that the smart display cannot identify or link to streaming services not connected to Amazon. And although we had trouble watching videos on Prime Video, we wouldn't recommend Echo Show 8 to any of our siblings, especially if it's usually possible to get the device from Amazon and often at a reduced price bundled with Hue lamps, Ring doorbells or even a smart plug.