Amazon has made some notable changes to its mid-sized Alexa-enabled smart display with the Echo Show 8 bringing a sleeker design, better audio and some clever software tweaks that make it easier to use.
- Updated designThe Echo Show 8 has a more modern overall design with better camera placement
- Multiple software upgradesThe Echo Show 8’s software now changes depending on where you’re standing, zooming in and out
Amazon continues to upgrade its Alexa-based smart home displays, and the Echo Show (3rd generation) could be the most tempting yet.
After spending a short time with the display after Amazon’s dedicated devices event, this feels like a notably more premium experience than previous Show 8 models. The design is curvier, softer and generally looks a little bit more modern than before.
There’s also a bunch of new software features, some of which could change the way these kind of devices are used. Read on for my initial impressions and stay tuned for a full review coming very soon. The Echo Show 8 (3rd generation) is available to pre-order now for £149.99/$149.99 and will ship in October.
- Sleeker overall look
- The glass on the front feels nicer to touch
- Centralised camera
The Amazon Echo Show 8 (3rd generation) is a smart home display meant to blend into your home without looking too techy. This latest version certainly achieves that feat with more skills than its predecessors, thanks to an overall higher-end look in part down to an edge-to-edge glass covering the 8-inch display. It’s also a lot curvier than before, with a more obvious difference between the screen and the rear speaker.
Importantly, the camera has been moved to a much more central position, making video calls look a lot more natural. This is a small tweak, but I have always disliked devices – notably the iPad Pro – that push the webcam to the side, distorting faces in the process. If you use an Echo Show device for lots of video calls, this will be a positive change.
The screen remains sharp and bright to comfortably see from across a room. Amazon is focusing a little more on allowing users to use the Echo Show 8 as a digital photo frame this time around, and the images I was shown looked good on the device’s display.
Colours still consist of either white or black, and there’s a stand sold separately that props the device up a little bit.
- Upgraded software experience
- Improved audio, including spatial features
While there are numerous changes on the outside, you’ll find just as many inside. As is usual with these Echo upgrades, a lot of the time spent on stage focused on sound quality improvements. There is a new ‘audio experience’ here, which is said to improve clarity and bass while spatial audio is supported too.
I only had a short time with the Echo Show 8 (3rd generation) and the demo room was seriously loud, but the sound did seem better than what I have heard from this line of devices before.
Another feature that’ll be immediately noticeable to anyone who has used an older Echo Show is the improved processor. Swiping around the UI is much smoother and responsive here, and it doesn’t take an age for services or settings to open up.
Arguably the biggest upgrade is for the software. Amazon’s Show UI now adapts depending on where you’re standing, zooming in and showing more detail when you’re close by and zooming out and making things visually easier to spot from a distance when you move away. If the Visual ID feature is enabled, the Show 8 can display different content depending on who is looking at it.
I use an Echo Show 8 – the first-gen model – every day, and this software tweak makes so much sense and it should make it much easier to use from across a room; no longer showing tiny text in weather updates or news headlines that clearly aren’t visible. You won’t have to buy this new model to benefit from these adaptive features though, as it is coming to the previous-gen Echo Show 8 and other Echo Show models later this year.
The Echo Show 8 (3rd generation) is a strong step in the right direction for the home hub device and could very well be up there with the best Echos around.
We awarded the previous model 5 stars, and this iteration makes some notable upgrades to the design, sound output and software.