An excellent upgrade on the original, the Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Generation) can now follow you around, pointing its display at you. From watching films to making calls, this new tech keeps the smart display front and centre for all jobs. There are some neat new features, too, including security camera monitoring, although this only really works while it's bright enough to see normally. With excellent sound quality, too, this is the best overall smart display.
- Moving screen is genuinely useful
- Looks fantastic
- Excellent sound
- Camera is only useful when it's light
- Review Price: £239.99
- Amazon Alexa
- 251 x 230 x 172mm
- Microphone mute, volume, webcam slider controls
- 2x 1-inch tweeters, 1x 3-inch woofer
- 10.1-inch (1280 x 800) screen
The Echo Show line has rapidly become my favourite smart speaker (well, smart display), brilliantly combining a touchscreen with voice control. While there are have been small improvements to the range in the last few years, the Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Generation) marks a big change in direction, sometimes literally: this model can track and follow you.
Better looking with more features, this is the perfect kitchen companion, video chat device and, even, entertainment platform.
Design and build quality – The Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Generation) looks fantastic
- New floating screen design looks fantastic
- Slightly larger than the old model, although you won’t need a lot more desk space
- Camera shutter gives you privacy when you want it
This year has seen Amazon go all-in on design, revamping the Echo and Echo Dot speakers so they don’t look quite so speak-ery. Amazon has done a similar job with the new Ech0 Show, albeit the fact that there’s a 10.1-inch screen on there means that this still looks like a smart display.
What’s different this time is that the Echo Show no longer looks like a tablet squeezed into a stand. Instead, the screen floats on the subwoofer-style round base, now with the option to tilt the screen up or down manually, so it’s comfortable to look at from any position.
The stand itself is covered in material, with a choice of white or black option. The spherical body looks fantastic, and it’s a huge improvement over the previous model. At 251 x 230 x 172mm, the new Echo Show takes up a little more space than the previous model, but the footprint of the stand is smaller so you shouldn’t need much more room to fit the new model in.
On top, there are controls for turning off Alexa and volume keys.
Plus there’s now a slider that turns the camera on and off, physically blocking it with a shutter – great news for anyone concerned about their privacy. With the old Echo Show 10 (3rd Generation), the camera control was an electronic one that cut power to the camera but lacked the physical shutter.
There’s no 3.5mm audio output, although if you really want to connect this device to external speakers (hint, you don’t need to at all), then there’s Bluetooth onboard. Connection to your home network if via the built-in Wi-Fi.
Features – Tracking your movement is the upgrade that makes the Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Generation) so different from its predecessor
- Automatic tracking makes the display rotate silently to face you
- You can use the camera to view what’s going on in your home
- High-quality 13-megapixel camera makes you look better in video chats
The big upgrade here is that the Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Generation) can now automatically track your movement, with the screen able to move up to 360-degrees. When you first set the screen up, you go through a short setup phase, where the Show tests how far it can move before hitting an object, letting you set the range of allowed movement.
You can repeat this step manually, say if you move the screen, and you’ll be asked if you want to recalibrate if the SHow ever hits an object, say bumping into a coffee cup that you’ve placed on the desk.
You also need to configure the idle position, which is the screen’s default position. It’s the place that the speaker returns to when Alexa has been idle for 10 minutes and there’s been no detected motion.
Personally, I’d like to see the screen return to the idle position after an interaction, as there were times that I found the screen pointing in the ‘wrong’ direction after being used, making it sometimes hard to view the home screen. Starting another interaction (saying ‘Alexa’) will move the screen to face you, again, however.
To detect where to point, Amazon uses the microphone at first to get a rough voice location – the technical name is sound source localisation (SSL) – then it uses the camera to face and track the person. It works quickly at first, impressively locking onto me each time I spoke to the screen. Even better, the brushless motors inside are silent: you really can’t hear this display move.
How the display moves depends on where you’re sat. Sit face-on to the screen and the display won’t move, even with minor movements from yourself; it’s a smart decision, as there’s no juddery movement on the display once you’re stationary.
Move to the side of this zone, say to pick up a cup, and the display won’t move unless you hold your new position for a few seconds. Again, it stops the display from shaking from side to side every time you move.
Go to the edge of the screen, and the Echo Show will start to pan, tracking and following you. It really is very impressive how well the display follows and locks onto you. And, you get a handy on-screen warning if you move outside the display’s range of movement, so that you know the screen’s not broken.
Is movement really useful? Well, yes it is. If you’re just sat in a room and, say, ask Alexa what the weather is, the screen swivels to show you what’s going on. Start watching a video, on Netflix or Amazon Prime, and you can see the screen as you go about your job. Making a recipe? Well, as you move around the kitchen, changing from chopping to cooking, you can clearly see what’s going on
It’s great for video calls, too, and there are some additional tools, too. With a 13-megapixel camera on this model, the Echo Show can pan and zoom to keep you in frame without moving the screen. This is particularly useful when you have two or more people on screen at once, as the display frames you properly.
Having that much resolution on the camera means that you’ll look as good as you can do in video chats (either one-to-one or in group calling), and the result is a noticeable improvement over the using the older generation Echo Show.
There’s extra intelligence, too. If you’re on a video chat with two or more of you facing the Echo Show, the display knows that if one person stands up to walk away, that it shouldn’t pan and follow them.
The Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Generation) mostly gets following right, although there are, inevitably, a few times when it doesn’t. Sat on a desk next to me, the display decided to rotate past me and focus on the side of my laptop once. And, I had a problem with an incoming call to my Vodafone mobile, which is also sent to the Echo Show via Alexa outbound calling. Although I answered on my phone, the Echo Show started to follow me around, even after I’d hung up. I had to say ‘Alexa’ to get it to stop. These are minor issues and the vast majority of times it worked.
For those worried about privacy, all motion processing is handled on the device and no images are uploaded to the cloud. Even on-device, the camera data is turned into data points representing shapes, edges, facial landmarks and general colouring, and this image is deleted permanently. You can read more about the science behind the Echo on Amazon’s blog.
You may find motion a little distracting, but there options. First, you can tell Alexa to stop following you, which turns off motion for the rest of that session. Secondly, you can adjust how motion works, with a choice of three options: motion for all activity, motion for multimedia (video and calls), or motion off. For the latter, you can tell Alexa to follow you when you want the feature on.
Turn on Home Monitoring, and the Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Generation) appears in the Alexa app as a smart camera. You can tap this to view the live feed (a warning appears on the screen), and you can rotate the display to view what’s going on in your home. It works well in the light but without IR, night viewing is poor.
As well as the motion, Amazon has updated the home screen on this model, showing information from news to weather reports automatically, and adjusting what you see depending on the time of day. It’s a neat tweak but an important one, as the Show starts to display relevant information during the day, so there’s less need for voice commands.
Otherwise, it’s largely business as usual, with my guide to Amazon Alexa going into more detail about the voice assistant. What you need to know is that, as Alexa is cloud based, the system is constantly updated and refined.
Without a doubt, Alexa is the finest voice system for smart home control, with better device support than Google Assistant and more refined routines. When you control smart home devices, you also get on-screen controls to let you manually select options: turn on lights, for example, and you can use the slider to set brightness.
You can also jump straight to the touchscreen control using the Smart Home link available on the right-swipe screen. It’s quite useful, sometimes, to change smart devices without having to use your voice.
Once again, there’s a Zigbee hub built-in, so you can connect compatible devices, such as Hue lights, directly to the Echo Show without having to use an additional hub. It’s a useful tool and could be a good choice for those with a few bulbs, but you tend to get more control outside of Alexa: with Hue, for example, you can add accessories and use the app to generate scenes.
Google is slightly ahead when it comes to getting directions and general web results, using its search engine to power the results, but Alexa isn’t too far behind.
Amazon has improved the search facility for Prime Video, too. When you get a list of shows, you can either tap to play the latest episode or you can select the thumbnail to view all available episodes. You can also tell Alexa to open Prime Video, giving you a touchscreen interface to browse through. Strangely, there’s no on-screen search option.
The Netflix app is actually better (Alexa, open Netflix), giving you the same interface you know and love, including a proper search using the on-screen keyboard. You can, of course, search for TV shows using your voice, too.
You can play music from Spotify or Amazon music, using your voice to search for what to play. If you do link Spotify to your Amazon account, just be aware that it turns off the new Low Power Mode, which saves power when the display isn’t being used. Awaiting notifications, using Bluetooth and Zigbee also disables this feature.
Sound quality – The Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Generation) is one of the best-sounding smart displays
There’s a 3-inch woofer and two 1-inch tweeters in this model. Both of the tweeters are forward-facing in the screen, rotating the sound to face you as the display moves, which is neat.
Sound quality from the Echo Show 10 line-up has always been good, and the Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Generation) is the best of the bunch. There’s enough bass to punch through, making the most of film soundtracks or adding that extra bit of detail into music.
With two tweeters, there’s a sense of stereo separation that the previous models didn’t have. And, there’s better balance, too. Sure, buy yourself something like the Sonos One and you’ll get better music performance overall, but the Echo Show 10 is capable of delivering room-filling, well-defined audio,
Video quality – A sharp and detailed screen from the Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Generation)
Once again Amazon has used a 1280 x 800 10.1-inch screen, the same as used on the previous Echo Show. Decent contrast, dark blacks, excellent viewing angles and vibrant colours make this screen easy to see under pretty much all lighting conditions.
The resolution may seem quite low, compared to modern TVs and tablets, but the fact is, you’re likely to view the Echo Show 10 from a distance, so the screen looks sharp for all content. And, this is always going to be a secondary display. I’ve caught up on some shows that I don’t have to focus on too much while cooking or sorting out review kit in the office; when there’s something I really want to focus on, I watch on my main TV.
In short, then, the screen quality and resolution is well matched to the display and what it’s built for.
Should you buy the Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Generation)?
If you’ve got the older Echo Show 10 (2nd Generation) then the moving screen may just give you enough of a reason to upgrade, swinging around to follow you everywhere, making this smart display a better companion than the old model in many rooms.
If you’re looking for your first (or additional) smart display and have Echo devices already, then the Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Generation) is the best smart display that I’ve used. The fusion of Alexa with a touchscreen continues to reap benefits, extending what you can do, as well as being more useful showing on-screen results as well as spoken ones.
The new motion tracking system is amazing, too. It’s hard to describe how useful it is until you’ve lived with it for a few days: no more squinting or moving to see what’s on-screen, as the Show moves to point at you. It’s genuinely a device that does more than its competition, such as the Google Nest Hub, which hasn’t been updated in a couple of years and gives you a static, fixed interface.