OPINION: While smart speakers may have completely changed the way that we interact with technology, I’d argue that smart displays give an even better experience, combining touch controls with voice commands, and visual results with spoken responses. Nothing is as good, overall, as the Amazon Echo Show 8.
Only a little smaller than the excellent Echo Show 10, the Echo Show 8 is a lot cheaper: less than half the price of its big brother. Sure, it ditches the 10’s clever motorised stand, but that’s a feature that I don’t particularly use every day anyway.
Besides, the smaller body of the Echo Show 8 means that it’s more versatile. Want it has a bedside clock that you can also use to see who’s at the front door? You can do that with this model, as it doesn’t take up too much more space than the smaller Echo Show 5.
Want a smart display as a companion for your kitchen? No problem, the 8-inch smart display doesn’t take up a lot of space. Basically, wherever you can think of, you can put this smart display more easily than the larger versions, and almost as easily as the smaller 5-inch version.
That 8-inch screen is something of a sweet spot for usability, too, and it’s large enough that you can see it clearly whether you’re standing up in the kitchen or sitting down at your desk with the smart display next to you.
You get all of the same features as with the other Echo Show speakers, too. For example, ask for the weather report, and Alexa will answer, showing the upcoming week’s forecast on the screen. Turn on a light, and the Echo Show 8 adds touch controls for adjusting brightness on the display.
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You can even watch Netflix or Amazon Prime Video on this display. Alright, the experience isn’t as good as on the larger 10-inch model, but for those shows you just want to catch up on and don’t need to pay too much attention to, it’s handy to have that feature.
When it comes to music, the Echo Show 8 sounds great, with a lot of bass and clear stereo speakers. It’s not far behind the Echo Show 10 and better than the new Echo Show 15.
If you do use your Echo speaker for video, you get the same 13MP front-facing webcam as on the 10-inch model. It zooms in and tracks you as you move around, framing you automatically. The only thing that the Echo Show 8 can’t do is move its body automatically to focus on you, which the Echo Show 10 can do.
All of this comes down to price, and for features and quality, the Echo Show 8 simply can’t be beaten: it’s excellent value and the smart display that I’d recommend for this Christmas.