Amazon Echo Show 8 (2nd gen) smart display review: Ideal for a virtual family
The Echo Show 8 works flawlessly no matter what conditions you throw at it. It has a better camera and a smarter Alexa that makes it ideal for those virtual family reunions.
- Smarter Camera
- Better Audio
- Smarter Alexa
- Camera shutter
Display8-inch HD display
Camera13MP camera with shutter
AudioTwo mics, dual stereo speakers
When Amazon launched the Echo Show 8 smart display back in 2020, it featured a simple 8-inch display with a back covered in woven fabric. On the front, it had thick bezels with a front camera with controls, including a camera shutter on top. It acted as a precursor to the bigger and waaaaaayyy smarter Echo Show 10 that got a major upgrade this year (you can check out our review of the 2nd-generation Echo Show 10 smart display here). Coming back to the Echo Show 8, two years later, not much has changed. At least not at first glance.
The second-generation Echo Show 8, which was launched in India last month at a price of ₹13,999, features the same woven-fabric back design with thick bezels as its predecessor. The only difference is that involving the camera technology, which has changed by leaps and bounds. The 2nd generation Echo Show 8 features a better and more intuitive camera that not only offers more clarity compared to the first-generation Echo Show 8 but it is also better at focusing on people over a video call as they move around in the frame. Other than that, nothing much has changed.
Now the question is: How good is the new Echo Show 8? Well, keep reading the review to find out…
The second-generation Amazon Echo Show 8, unlike its elder sibling the second-generation Echo Show 10, has not gotten a major revamp in terms of design. It features the same design as the first-generation Echo Show 8. This means that you get the same 8-inch HD display (duh!) with thick bezels on all four sides. The top bezel has a webcam that can be manually disabled using the toggle button on the chassis of the smart display. Towards the right side of this toggle button, you get three buttons, two to control the volume and one to prevent Alexa from snooping in on your conversations. This area also holds four mics that help Amazon's virtual assistant, Alexa, to converse with humans.
On the rear, you get the same protruding back like the first-generation Echo Show 8 that resembles the old CRT televisions. This area, like its predecessor, is covered by a woven-fabric-like design. Moving downwards at the back, you will see a power port that keeps Alexa always juiced up. Like I said before, from the outside nothing has changed. It's almost as if the second-generation Echo Show 8 is stuck in time. And for most parts it is. Except for one.
Now let's talk about one of the most important parts of this review - the performance of the Amazon Echo Show 8.
Amazon's second-generation Echo Show 8 comes with an 8-inch HD display and it runs on MediaTek's MT 8163 processor, which has remained pretty much unchanged compared to the previous generation. While this might not exactly be a good thing, it isn't a bad thing either. For one, the next-gen Echo Show 8 offers the same sensitivity and smoothness as its predecessor. The other thing is that while you may be using the Echo Show 8 using voice commands mostly, on rare occasions when you do decide to use the touch screen display, it shows no lag. Additionally, the adaptive display ensures that Echo Show 8 smart display lights up and gets ready to take your orders as soon as you walk into the room. I have placed the second-Amazon Echo Show 8 where I most use to check out news updates, listen to music while doing the daily chores and try out new recipes and I really like the fact that Alexa and the Echo Show 8 are always there to hear me out and follow my commands.
Coming to the camera, this is one aspect that has got a major upgrade. The first-generation Echo Show 8 came with a 1MP camera. The second-generation Echo Show 8 features a 13MP camera with dual stereo speakers which, as I mentioned, is a major step up compared to the previous generation. This new camera is smarter than that of its predecessor, not just in terms of the specs, which it obviously is, but also in terms of the quality. You can see the difference especially when you are talking to your friends and family members using Alexa's video calling functionality. The visuals are clear, the sound is balanced and the Echo Show 8 does a great job at keeping the focus at the right spot.
Lastly, audio and Alexa. Well, Amazon has been consistently improving the audio quality of its smart speakers and smart displays generation after generation and the second-generation Echo Show 8 is no exception to this rule. It features a perfectly balanced sound that is ideal for dinner-time conversations. Additionally, I tried Amitabh Bachchan's voice, which is a new feature that Alexa has got in India. Admittedly, it's weird to hear Alexa sound like a man (no offense folks!) after listening to her sweet and friendly voice for years. It takes quite some time getting used to it but once you do get a hang of it, it is fun to play around with. You can ask Alexa to update you about the day's weather conditions in Bachchan's voice or you can ask her to tell you a joke, it makes for interesting conversations. Good thing is that this feature works on all Echo devices, so you don't need to buy a new smart display or a smart speaker to give it a try.
Now to answer the most important part of this review: Should you buy the second-generation Echo Show 8 or not?
The answer to this question isn't as simple as it might seem and that is not owing to an issue with the device itself. The Echo Show 8 works flawlessly no matter what conditions you throw at it. It has a better camera and a smarter Alexa that makes it ideal for virtual family reunions. I feel that the second-generation Echo Show 8 is slightly overpriced, especially since it offers no major upgrades over the previous generation other than the camera. On the flip side, if you have the cash to spare, the second-generation Echo Show 10 could be a better fit for your home.
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