Amazon’s Echo Show 8 hits the sweet spot for smart displays
In just two short years, Amazon’s line of Alexa-powered smart displays has expanded from one oddly shaped device to three sleek units. They all share similar designs and features but with three different sizes and price points. The 10-inch Echo Show occupies the top of the line, with the largest screen, loudest speakers, and highest price, while the alarm clock-like Echo Show 5 is less expensive and fits much easier on a nightstand.
The newest model, the $129.99 Echo Show 8, splits the difference: it’s got an eight-inch screen and the same dual two-inch speakers and bass port as the 10-inch model, but it has a price that’s much closer to the considerably smaller Echo Show 5. It can do nearly all of the same things as the other Echo Show models, making it an ideal pick for someone who wants an Alexa-powered smart display with great sound without having to shell out more than $200 for the privilege.
Since the Echo Show 8’s capabilities are so similar to the other Echo Show models, I encourage you to read my reviews of the 10-inch model and the Echo Show 5, which cover a lot of the details with the experience. As mentioned, the Echo Show 8’s capabilities are closer to the 10-inch Show than the five-inch model: it can play video from a variety of sources (including Hulu, which isn’t available on the Echo Show 5); make video calls to other Echo Show devices or smartphones with the Alexa app; and play music from Amazon Music, Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, and others. It shares the same wedge-shaped design as the other two models, complete with a fabric back and two color options (white or black).
The display on the Show 8 isn’t particularly high-res, but it is bright and easy to see from across the room. There are sensors on the front to automatically adjust the screen’s brightness, but it doesn’t have the ability to tune the color to the ambient lighting in a room like Google’s Nest Hub smart displays can.
Like the Echo Show 5, the Show 8 has two far-field microphones for hearing voice commands and a 1-megapixel camera for video calls. I had no issues with the Show 8 hearing my voice commands, and while the camera isn’t exceptional, it’s fine for the occasional video call. Unlike Google’s Ne