Amazon Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen) review: Follow you, follow me

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(Pocket-lint) - The Amazon Echo Show 8 debuted successful 2019 to wide acclaim – including from ourselves, arsenic it was the champion yet – bringing sensible standard visuals and Alexa dependable power goodness successful the 1 device.

The Echo Show 8 had astir of the audio powerfulness of the larger-scale Echo Show 10 – the updated exemplary of which present features a caller rotating screen diagnostic  – yet with a larger surface than the much basal Echo Show 5.

Unlike the 2021 mentation of the Echo Show 5 – which is simply a comparatively insignificant update – the second-gen Echo Show 8 has much of a features boost, with a caller camera featuring cookware and zoom tracking, positive an upgraded processor. There's nary 'extreme' rotating caput unit, truthful you could reason that this is the perfect Echo Show for astir people.

Design and specs

  • Dimensions: 200.4 x 135.9 x 99.1mm / Weight: 1037g
  • Wi-Fi: Dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
  • Colours: Glacier White, Charcoal
  • Processor: MediaTek MT 8183

The second-generation Echo Show 8 is hardly changed from the erstwhile mentation physically. Indeed, beauteous overmuch the lone outer alteration is that the caller mentation doesn't person a 3.5mm audio jack – truthful you can't ligament successful outer sources.

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Once again, it's a reasonably compact portion with a enactment of modular Alexa buttons supra the surface and a mic mute/camera shutter slider connected the apical right. Being capable to unopen disconnected the camera physically has go a pillar of Amazon's committedness to privateness – adjacent if successful world you'll seldom adjacent it off. As with each Echo device, there's besides a carnal mic mute button.

Once again the Echo Show 8 doesn't person the Zigbee astute location hub. In reality, we've ne'er recovered this hugely utile and it surely isn't missed here.

While the Echo Show 8 doesn't enactment newer Wi-Fi 6 networks, it retains afloat compatibility with Wi-Fi 5 and older truthful it'll enactment with each networking gear.

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Like the older Echo Show 8, the newer instrumentality is powered by a MediaTek processor, but portion the aged 6163 was quad-core, portion the spot is octa-core and truthful is much powerful. Things are truthful a small zippier compared to older Echo Shows, particularly erstwhile moving betwixt menus.

Display and sound

  • Screen: 8-inch, 1,280 x 800 pixel touchscreen
  • Speakers: dual 2-inch neodymium speakers with passive bass radiator

The show is unchanged for this second-generation model, retaining an 8-inch touchscreen. That's the aforesaid solution arsenic is disposable connected the 10.1-inch show connected the Echo Show 10, too. It's reasonably crisp astatine this standard and does capable for a show that you glimpse astatine alternatively than enactment astatine oregon ticker for hours connected end.

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Audio-wise, the acquisition is besides unchanged from the erstwhile generation, but that isn't needfully a atrocious thing. While the archetypal Echo Show 10-inch was precise bassy, aboriginal generations person been importantly much effective. This won't capable a ample room, but is simply a superb talker for a kitchen, bureau oregon eating area, for example. It's overmuch much effectual than the Echo Show 5 successful our opinion.

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The audio setup consists of dual 2-inch speakers with a passive bass radiator (the Echo Show 10 has a dedicated woofer). As with each Echo devices you tin beam euphony from different Bluetooth instrumentality arsenic good arsenic usage the assorted euphony services.

In presumption of the audio for calls and such, the Echo Show is fantabulous successful presumption of its prime – and determination are a full of 4 mics connected the instrumentality truthful you won't person an contented being heard.

Camera and software

  • Camera: 13-megapixel with built-in cover, caller cookware and zoom
  • Software: Fire OS 7 based connected Google Android 9 Pie

The upgrade to the camera is the biggest alteration for Echo Show 8. It's present a 13-megapixel unit, dissimilar the alternatively mean 1-megapixel camera wrong the older version. That means it has the aforesaid camera capabilities arsenic the larger Echo Show 10.

But portion the Echo Show 10 features a rotating screen, the camera successful Show 8 is static. However, with this exemplary comes a vastly improved 13-megapixel sensor with cookware and zoom.

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Essentially the camera tin travel you astir the country arsenic you determination (within reason). This is precise effectual erstwhile you're connected a video call, particularly if you person kids that are perpetually connected the determination oregon if you're moving astir preparing a repast portion connected video. You tin crook disconnected the 'following' diagnostic if it's annoying you, conscionable arsenic you tin crook disconnected video successful a call. 

How tin it bash this? Well, 13 cardinal pixels is acold much than required for a azygous image. Even a Full HD show is small implicit 2 cardinal pixels. So having the excess gives the accidental to utilise antithetic parts of the sensor arsenic required.

It's a diagnostic we've seen before, astir notably connected Facebook's Portal scope of devices. While the Portal was primitively a video calling instrumentality via Messenger and WhatsApp and is trying to go much of a wide astute show done assorted updates, it feels a spot similar the Echo Show is going the different absorption – a astute show that wants to go much of a connection device.

Video calling options are OK – whether via Skype oregon Amazon's ain video calling work – but portion Zoom has travel to Echo Show 8 and 10 successful the US, it inactive remains bizarrely absent successful the UK.

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In presumption of its software, the Echo Show remains a mixed bag. The Fire OS 7 bundle (based connected Google Android 9 astatine present, truthful it's 2 generations behind) has importantly improved implicit the past mates of years, but determination are inactive times erstwhile Alexa feels much designed for voice-first alternatively than a touchscreen and arsenic we've noted before, this is simply a feeling that doesn't spell away.

While halfway worldly similar asking for the weather, sports scores, viewing Ring devices oregon calling up your appointments enactment truly good with the display, third-party skills are often precise patchy successful their show support.

One country that has improved is the quality to usage Echo Show to show your photos – adjacent if you request to usage Amazon Photos to bash this. And arsenic always, doing Amazon-centric tasks specified arsenic checking retired the latest deals oregon dependable buying enactment truly well.

In presumption of entertainment, euphony is good catered for arsenic connected each Echo device. There's Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer and Amazon Music support. You tin besides get Sirius successful the US and BBC Sounds successful the UK arsenic you'd expect, successful amongst entree to different stations.

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There's enactment for Netflix, Hulu (US only), and Amazon Prime Video, but you request to spell into the browser to presumption YouTube videos; there's inactive nary autochthonal app which conscionable seems brainsick erstwhile YouTube is disposable connected Fire TV devices without issue.

Amazon has tried to assuage this contented with contented deals specified arsenic Vevo for euphony videos and FoodNetwork/BBC Good Food for cook-along recipes – but it's not capable erstwhile truthful overmuch contented is connected YouTube.

There are immoderate caller refinements to the software, specified arsenic adaptive brightness and the quality to usage the instrumentality arsenic a sunrise clock. There's besides an enactment to swipe successful from the right-hand broadside of the show to presumption shortcuts to communal tasks specified arsenic routines and alarms. You tin besides presumption recently-used commands, too. 

Verdict

There's nary uncertainty the Echo Show 8 remains a large enactment if you're looking for an Echo instrumentality with a screen. It's a large acceptable betwixt the costly and, let's look it, somewhat bonkers Echo Show 10, and the bedside-orientated Echo Show 5.

Indeed, the Show 5 is simply a small spot of a mediocre narration erstwhile Amazon has 1 of its regular income – the Show 8 tends to get discounted to the constituent wherever it's a no-brainer compared to the Show 5, and this volition go adjacent much evident  the lawsuit erstwhile the older Show 8 goes extremity of life.

The Echo Show bundle is getting amended each the time, but it's inactive precise annoying there's nary autochthonal YouTube app. At the clip of penning determination is nary Zoom enactment for Echo Show successful the UK – but determination is successful the US. These irritations, positive those of patchy third-party Skills, people retired the Echo Show arsenic a level that Amazon needs to enactment harder on.

Yet this remains the champion bang-for-buck Echo Show and the caller camera truly marks it retired arsenic a instrumentality that's good worthy investing in.

Also consider 

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Amazon Echo Show 5

At a somewhat smaller terms depending connected deals, this smaller Echo Show has galore of the aforesaid appealing features that marque the Show 8 a large buy. However, if you privation a decent dependable you'll inactive request the Show 8. That's not to accidental the Show 5 is atrocious connected dependable quality, but it's a wide measurement down. You besides don't get the Show 8's high-quality camera. 

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Google Nest Hub 

If you're each astir Google Assistant alternatively than Amazon Alexa, the modular Nest Hub with a 7-inch touchscreen is an evident alternate to the Echo Show 8. It slots successful beneath the Nest Hub Max, which butts up against the Echo Show 10. Nest Hub devices person the YouTube integration that Echo Show lacks, portion it majors connected Google Duo video-calling.

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Writing by Dan Grabham. Originally published connected 4 August 2021.

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