Amazon Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen): Just the Right Balance
PC Magazine|July 2021
Reviews/Consumer Electronics
By Will Greenwald

The original Echo Show 8 has been one of our favorite smart displays since it came out two years ago, thanks to a nearly perfect balance of strong audio performance for the size, a bright and colorful screen, and loads of useful Alexa voice control and smart home features for a reasonable price. Amazon has changed very little in the second-generation model, which sells for the same $129.99 as the original. The second-gen Echo Show 8 looks and sounds identical to its predecessor, with only the camera for video chat and home monitoring receiving an upgrade. It isn’t quite as impressive as the motorized tracking camera on the Echo Show 10 ($249.99), but at nearly half the price, the Echo Show 8 is the best value in the smart display market and our Editors’ Choice winner.

NEARLY UNCHANGED, INSIDE AND OUT

The second-generation Echo Show 8 is physically identical to the first one, measuring 5.4 by 7.9 by 3.9 inches (HWD), with a vaguely triangular side profile that tilts the 8-inch screen back slightly, like an easel. The screen has a half-inch frame that’s completely flush with the LCD, with a camera in the top-right corner. The top edge has pinhole cutouts for the far-field microphones, volume up/down and mic mute buttons, and a mechanical switch for the camera’s privacy shutter. The back of the Echo Show 8’s body is covered in fabric, matching the color of the frame on the front (either black or white).

On the inside, the hardware powering the second-gen Echo Show 8 is almost identical to the original, at least when it comes to audio and display performance. It has the same 8.0-inch touch screen with 1,280-by-800pixel resolution and the same dual 2.0-inch speaker drivers with a passive bass radiator.

The MediaTek MT8183 processor is an upgrade in power from the MT8163 on the previous model, but you probably won’t find much of a change in performance or responsiveness in everyday use. The original Echo Show 8 never felt slow to respond, and the extra power in the new model didn’t make a noticeable difference in testing. Basically, if you already own the original Echo Show 8, you shouldn’t expect a change in how the new model looks, sounds, or responds.

Here’s the big upgrade in the new Echo Show 8: It’s equipped with a 13MP camera with auto-framing, a jump up from the first Echo Show 8’s 1MP sensor. It appears to be the same camera used in the latest Echo Show 10 but without the motorized tracking capabilities.

Amazon Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen)

PROS Bright, colorful screen. Powerful audio for the size. Higher-resolution camera than previous model. Digital pan and zoom.

CONS Very few changes aside from camera.

BOTTOM LINE Amazon’s second-generation Echo Show 8 smart display offers just the right balance of price, performance, and size, with an updated camera for an even better video chat and home security experience.

AMAZON ALEXA VOICE CONTROL

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