Amazon Echo Show 8 Review: The Best Amazon Smart Display, Period – CNET

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When I say Echo Show 8 (

$ 90 at Amazon

)What is your first thought If so, "are there already 8 of them?" I understand. No, this is actually just Amazon's fourth Alexa-enabled smart display – and it has an 8-inch screen. Squeezed between his High-end 10-inch and Budget 5 inches Siblings, the Show 8 offers the right mix of features and design advantages to justify its existence as a middle child – and it is the best direct competitor Google's Nest Hub,

To like

  • The Echo Show 8 offers solid sound quality and screen resolution.
  • The price of $ 130 makes the Show 8 one of the best mid-range smart displays on the market.
  • The physical camera shutter is a small, smart addition to address privacy concerns.

I do not like it

  • The interface is not as smooth and user-friendly as Google's Nest Hubs.
  • You cannot access YouTube videos by voice.

In fact, if you are thinking of buying a smart display for your countertop, the Show 8 may be the best product for the price. Not only has it already reached $ 80 retail prices, it is also a solid business, even for the full price of $ 130.

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Chris Monroe / CNET

Adapt to the crowd

Amazon is currently rounding off its two key product lines for smart speakers and displays. In the past few months we have received a new one Amazon Echo. Echo point with clock. Echo Studio. Echo Show 5 and now the show 8. There is a pattern: each product line has a Papa Bear, Mama Bear and Baby Bear option. Amazon hopes that one of these devices is for you.

The Echo range of smart displays doesn't just add silent screens to smart speakers. These devices are equipped by the voice assistant Alexa Video chat and streaming they work with Ring the doorbell to show your front door they can provide cooking aids in the kitchen (read more about Amazon's new partnership with Food Network to bring lessons from professional chefs to your kitchen). They even offer touch controls for the smart home. For $ 130 ($ 120), Echo Show 8 is really in a lot of useful details – and for $ 100 ($ 60), it's already on sale. It is not yet available in Australia.

Third thought, best thought

Critics could argue that Echo Show 8 doesn't bring new features to the countertop. That's right, but like in October Echo point with clockShow 8 is less about great innovations than intelligent iterations.

The Show 8 is more powerful than the Show 5 (which is $ 40 cheaper): a screen bigger than an erect phone, a fairly sharp 1280 x 800 pixel resolution, and two solid two-inch speakers. In addition, Show 8 steals Show 5's best ideas, such as physical camera shutter and sunrise warnings (although for some reason Amazon didn't include the 5's tip-to-sleep feature).

I particularly like the shutter. The second generation Echo Show (

$ 180 at Amazon

) has no design function to separate the camera. While Google chose a kill switch for the camera and microphone on the Nest Hub Max (

$ 229 at Walmart

)A physical shutter is included in the last two displays from Amazon. From a privacy perspective, I'm a fan of Amazon and don't ask that we simply "trust" them. I can watch Show 8, find that the shutter is closed, and be 100% sure that I'm not being watched.

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Chris Monroe / CNET

Another plus is that the screen with the same resolution as last year's 10-inch show has a new feature to improve the picture quality on the bigger display. While images don't appear sharper (apart from the number of pixels on the smaller display), progressive scanning means that fewer visual artifacts appear on the screen. It's a supplement that only occasional users will notice on a daily basis, but it's a useful quality of life upgrade that you'll feel over time.

Talk to yourself

Although the Show 8 represents a significant improvement over its predecessors, it seems to be neglected in a large area: The camera has only 1 megapixel, in contrast to the 5 megapixel camera of the second generation Show. Lower megapixel cameras generally produce blurry results, and frankly, I was amazed when I heard this specification.

echo-show-8-1 "data-original =" https://cnet2.cbsistatic.com/img/TaP5-BhftJSdzZvt_x5efmMEUrQ=/2019/11/22/08566688-de66-4478-8c15-0f90e3e9daef/echo-show- 8-1.jpg

Chris Monroe / CNET

But when I chatted videos with myself with the second generation show and the show 8, the feed of the 5 megapixel camera actually looked more pixelated than the one that the camera recorded with lower quality. Whatever the reason, the lower quality camera actually did consistently better results for me in this case.

The bottom line is that the additional $ 100 for the Echo Show doesn't necessarily mean higher video chat image quality, so a 1-megapixel camera shouldn't stop you from opting for the cheaper Show 8 instead ,

Hold your ear to the counter

When it comes to the sound quality of the Echo Show 8, you may be pleasantly surprised. The 2-inch speakers are slightly smaller than the 2.2-inch speakers on the 10-inch show, and you can hear the slight difference in sound quality, especially at higher volumes. When you press it, the Show 8 sounds a little lively, and it doesn't have the range and difference of the Echo Standalone speakers or the 10-inch Echo Show.

But the sound quality of the Echo Show 8 is a lot of higher than the downsized Show 5, which has only a single 1.7-inch speaker. In fact, Show 8, which works in parallel with the latest Amazon Echo Smart speaker, delivers similar results – as long as you keep the volume in the middle of the range.

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Chris Monroe / CNET

Alexa and the screen

Although the ZigBee receiver has been cut off from the second generation Show and the Show 5 tap-to-snooze feature, the Show 8 may be the best Alexa-enabled smart display. But that doesn't mean it's the best display ever. While I like the combination of clever features – and above all the price associated with them – Google's smart displays offer a better user experience.

It's difficult to compare Show 8 directly to the Nest Hub (

$ 129 at Walmart

) – Google's $ 130 7-inch display – because that doesn't even matter to have a camera. And the Nest Hub Max that does Including a high quality camera, costs $ 230. But one thing both Nest Hubs have in common is a smoother surface than that of Echo Show 8. The screen responds faster, the camera can follow your face if you walk around while video chatting, and you can do it with a simple voice command access YouTube videos.

Amazon's operating system is improving, but is still lagging behind Google – an incredible experience if you're used to the responsiveness of modern smartphones and tablets.

Apart from this minor complaint, I can only recommend Show 8. For $ 130, it's the smartest Amazon display for the price. It combines the best of the rest and has a camera and better sound quality than the Nest Hub.