Disclaimer: Although we’ve reviewed the Amazon Echo, we haven’t had a chance to test out the Amazon Echo Show. That means this comparison is limited to what we know about the latter, rather than what we’ve experienced ourselves.
Amazon Echo Show vs Amazon Echo: What’s the difference?
The Amazon Echo was released back in 2014, and sits at Amazon’s flagship smart speaker.
It’s a tall, cylindrical speaker with built-in microphones, and runs on Amazon’s own software. The key selling point of the speaker is that it features Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant, which can be controlled using the user’s voice.
The Amazon Echo Show, meanwhile, was announced on May 9, 2017, and will start shipping towards the end of June.
Unlike the Amazon Echo, the Echo Show features its own built-in touchscreen. This means it can offer slightly more usability than the Echo – video playback, for instance.
The key point to note is that both devices feature Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant, but only the Echo Show has a display. Generally, however, functionality is the same.
Here’s our video review of the Amazon Echo:
And here’s the launch video for the Amazon Echo Show:
Amazon Echo Show vs Amazon Echo Design – Which looks better?
The Amazon Echo has received widespread acclaim for its design. With its slim, cylindrical shape and versatile black/white colour options, the Echo looks good just about anywhere.
It’s tall at 235mm, but hardly overbearing with a thickness of just 83.5mm. It’s also a little heavy at 1.045kg, but it still weighs far less than your average laptop.
In our review, we wrote: “It may seem quite imposing when you lift it out of the box, but the matte black or white Echo is quite inconspicuous. It won’t look out of place in most living environments.”
The Amazon Echo Show is significantly bigger, measuring 187 x 187 x 90mm. That means you’ll have to be much more careful about where you place the Echo Show in your home, as it could overwhelm a shelf or sideboard.
It’s also marginally heavier than the Echo at 1.17kg, although that’s not an issue – neither device is supposed to be moved around much.
Perhaps the biggest downside of the Echo Show is that it’s far less subtle than the Echo. You could place an Echo in every room and they’d look like little more than ornaments. But an Echo Show is a large device that will need considered placement. That’s why we reckon the Echo is the more physically attractive option at first glance.
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Amazon Echo Show vs Amazon Echo Specs – Which has better hardware?
The Amazon Echo and Amazon Echo Show are more about the software than hardware, so comparing specs isn’t entirely useful. However, there are some differences.
For instance, the Amazon Echo has a seven-microphone array built into the cylindrical chassis. That’s one less than the eight-microphone array that the Echo Show boasts. Whether that will translate to any meaningful difference in voice recognition remains to be seen, but we’d be very surprised.
Both devices feature two speakers. The Echo has a 2.5-inch woofer and a 2-inch tweeter, which is nice and specific. But the Echo Show is just listed as having “dual 2-inch stereo speakers”, which is a little more vague. It will be interesting to see which device offers better audio when we get our hands on an Echo Show.
The Amazon Echo Show has two additional features that the standard Echo misses out on. The first is a touchscreen, which means that you can watch YouTube videos and make video calls – a first for Echo devices. But there’s also a 5-megapixel camera, so you can beam your face to family and friends directly from the Echo Show – another Echo first.
This visual experience will be the leg up the Echo Show needs to justify the higher price point, and will surely attract customers keen to fully embrace the smart home utopia/dystopia that’s just around the corner.
The good news is that both devices will keep getting better over time. Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant is significantly more intelligent today than she was when the Echo first launched. What’s more, the number of ‘Skills’ – i.e. commands supported by third-party companies such as Uber or Dominos – is constantly growing, so there’s always new stuff to try.
Amazon Echo Show vs Amazon Echo Price – Which is better value?
The Amazon Echo currently retails in the UK for £149.99. In the USA, it’s $149.99, which is discounted from the usual price of $179.99
Meanwhile, the Amazon Echo Show isn’t currently listed on Amazon UK, and there’s no word yet of a British launch either. However, in the USA, you can pre-order an Echo Show right now for $229.99, with shipping expected to begin on June 28, 2017.
It’s impossible to say which device is better value right now until we get our hands on an Echo Show. But what we can say is that the Echo Show will offer a fuller experience, so you’ll have to work out for yourself whether you’re willing to pay an additional $80 for a touchscreen – and the bonus features that come with it.
In any case, the Amazon Echo has no shortage of fans, so we’d still definitely recommend buying one:
Do you prefer the Amazon Echo or the Amazon Echo Show? Let us know in the comments.