Best Amazon Echo Show 2021: Which smart display should you buy? Android Central 2021
You may know that there are three smart screen devices currently being sold by Amazon, but do you know which is the best Amazon Echo Show? With so many showy Echo devices, which one should you get? We'll talk you through each option to help you decide which is right for your home, although right now we recommend the Echo Show 8 above the others because of its perfectly accommodating size.
- Best Amazon Echo Show Overall: Echo Show 8
- Best Value Amazon Echo Show: Echo Show 5
- Best Amazon Echo Show for Entertainment: Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen)
- Best Amazon Echo Show Alternative: Fire HD 8 Plus with Wireless Charging Dock
Best Amazon Echo Show Overall: Echo Show 8
The Echo Show 8 sits right in the middle of the Echo Show line. As such, it takes some of the best features from the high to low ends. For example, it's in-between the smaller size of the Echo Show 5 and the arguably unwieldy size of the Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen). It improves upon the sound quality of the smaller Echo Show 5 with double the number of speakers (two 2-inch speakers at 10W per channel vs. one 1.7-inch speaker at 4W per channel). Plus, it has the same 1280x800 display as the larger Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) for a higher ratio of pixels per inch.
The Echo Show 8 continues to build on Amazon's renewed interest in consumer privacy. It features a built-in camera shutter and a microphone/camera off button that allows users to physically confirm the device is not watching or listening to them. It also keeps the on-screen Privacy Hub controls that the Echo Show 5 introduced.
The Echo Show 8 doesn't ship with the Zigbee hub integration that the larger Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) includes. However, setting up and controlling your smart home devices with the Echo Show 8 should be a breeze thanks to Amazon's Certified for Humans program. This program promises to introduce "struggle-free, tinker-free, and stress-free" devices that pair quickly and easily with Alexa and Echo products.
There are some tradeoffs with this device, however. Like the smaller Echo Show 5, you only get a 1-megapixel front-facing camera, which isn't great for video chatting. While the audio is a step up from the Show 5, it doesn't have a woofer, which the Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) has. Despite these tradeoffs, we think this will be the perfect Echo Show device for most people.
- Sits in the Goldilocks zone of Echo Show devices
- Physical cover/off switch for microphones and camera
- Similar specs to larger Echo Shows but cheaper
- Great sound quality
- No Dolby processing built-in
- Camera is not as good as Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen)
Best Value Amazon Echo Show: Echo Show 5
When it was introduced in early 2019, the Echo Show 5 was praised by customers and reviewers alike because it put an Alexa-enabled smart display into a more affordable and more convenient package. The Echo Spot had previously filled this niche, and while the Spot was beloved, it didn't have great specs and was priced too high.
The Echo Show 5 was the first of the new generation of smart screen devices to include physical covers and switches to control what Alexa could see and hear, which eased many concerns about having Alexa in more sensitive areas of the home. Like the Echo Show 8, the Echo Show 5 lacks the Zigbee hub integration that can be found in the Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen); however, it's looking like smart device interoperability and setup will continue to get easier thanks to the aforementioned Certified for Humans program.
The Echo Show 5 is almost in that price range where many people will take a chance on an impulse buy, and it has already appeared at a substantial discount several times. Amazon has already packaged it in several different bundles to date, including a bundle with the Show 8.
As great as this little device is, it's not all roses. At the same time, you do get a device that can fit just about anywhere, that comes at the expense of a lower screen resolution and sole speaker. It's also not the best device for video chatting, as it packs a measly 1-megapixel camera on the front.
- Perfect size for smaller spaces
- Physical cover/off switch for microphones and camera
- Great price, and can often be found in bundles
- Low-resolution screen
- Sub-par camera
- Smallest speakers on Shows
Best Amazon Echo Show for Entertainment: Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen)
Amazon introduced the first-generation Echo Show in 2017, and while many applauded the smart screen capabilities of the device, the biggest complaint was its physical design. The product was stark with sharp lines and a boxy look, and its display was set at a weird angle. Amazon addressed nearly all of the initial design complaints with the second generation, making it a softer, more plush-looking smart display which it kept for a few years, but the Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) saw the device's most radical transformation ever.
The Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) is great for watching videos or listening to music since it features the best combination of speakers and screen technology in the entire product line. You can tell that Amazon wanted the device to be featured prominently in people's homes since it also added the best front-facing camera of all the Echo devices for those all-important drop-in sessions with grandma or upcoming Zoom meetings with colleagues.
Those viewing experiences and video calls are made all the better thanks to the Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen)'s motorized display, which can rotate to follow you, keeping you in the frame and assuring that you don't miss anything while you're moving around your space. That motor won't annoy you because it is perfectly silent, allowing for the fantastic-sounding directional audio to shine through. The speaker setup on the Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) is the best yet on an Echo Show device, and you'll have no problem jamming to your favorite tunes in the kitchen while cooking dinner.
Like its predecessors, the third-generation Show includes a Zigbee hub for improved smart home device integration. Besides, it packs Amazon's new AZ1 Neural Engine, which allows it to process voice requests and perform its innovative motion tracking entirely on the device, resulting in a speedier and more secure experience.
Amazon also thought through the privacy and security implications of a rotating camera. There is no facial or person recognition for starters: all of the tracking is abstracted and only processed on the device. You can ask Alexa to stop following you or close the camera cover to stop the motion tracking, and the device also features a physical mute button.
Aside from the rotating screen's novelty, the biggest drawbacks to the Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) are its size and price. It has the largest footprint of any Echo Show smart screen speaker, and it's more than twice the cost of the Echo Show 8.
- Stunning HD display
- Innovative rotating screen with motion tracking
- The best camera ever on an Echo Show
- Excellent speakers
- Zigbee smart hub built-in
- Most expensive Echo by far
- Size may be too big
- Some may be turned off by the rotating camera
Best Amazon Echo Show Alternative: Fire HD 8 Plus with Wireless Charging Dock
Okay, so this one is cheating a little bit, as the Fire HD 8 Plus isn't technically an Echo Show device. It's also not technically available as of this writing, as it's a new product set to release in early June 2020. However, when you consider the whole package this setup offers, it just might be the most practical Echo Show alternative for Amazon Alexa households.
The Fire HD 8 Plus is Amazon's latest and greatest tablet, with its best screen, battery life, wireless charging, and increased RAM. You can do all the tablet-y things that you can do on other tablets, such as read books and comics, watch all manner of video content, play games, and even have video calls through Zoom and Skype.
When paired with the new wireless charging dock (or other stands), you can set the Fire HD 8 to Show Mode, where the tablet becomes a de-facto Echo Show smart speaker. With hands-free Alexa, you can control your smart home and get information at a glance, even from across a room.
While this setup gets you more flexibility than a traditional Echo Show device, that comes at a little bit of a premium. With the charging stand, this is priced competitively with the Echo Show 8, well-under the Echo Show (2nd Gen) but significantly above the Echo Show 5.
- Can be a two-in-one device
- Tablet has more functionality than regular Show display
- Bigger screen and better resolution than Show displays
- Tablet by itself is as expensive as Echo Show 8
- Wireless charging dock separate
Amazon realized it was onto something when it created the first Echo Show device and the Echo Spot, and each subsequent generation and product in the line has improved where it counts. There is now an Echo Show to fit just about any space and budget, and the quality of the microphones, speakers, and screens continues to improve. For our money, the Echo Show 8 is the best choice for most people because it makes the right tradeoffs when it comes to size, specs, and price.
That being said, the smaller Echo Show 5 and larger Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) are great products in their own right. Many people may consider getting an Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) for the main room in their home and putting an Echo Show 5 in an office or bedroom. Amazon has recognized this potential use case and is even offering a pretty compelling bundle right now, with the Echo Show 8 and Echo Show 5 being packaged together for less than an Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen)!
If you are already in the Amazon Echo-system, then you'll love these devices. If you haven't yet taken the plunge, then any one of these smart screens is a great place to start to get one of the best Alexa speakers available.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Jeramy Johnson is proud to help to Keep Austin Weird and loves hiking in the hill country of central Texas with a breakfast taco in each hand. When he's not writing about smart home products and services, he's defending his relationship with his voice assistants to his family. You can follow him on Twitter at @jeramyutgw.
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