- The Echo Show 8 has been completely redesigned with a modern curved mesh-covered back and a more seamless, sophisticated look.
- The display quality remains similar to the previous model, but the Echo Show 8 now includes Adaptive Content, which adjusts the content based on your proximity to the device.
- The new Echo Show 8 has improved hardware, including an 8-core chip and enhanced connectivity options, making it a better smart home controller. The sound quality has also been boosted with room adaptation technology and spatial audio.
The Amazon Echo Show has been through a number of iterations, with sizes from the dinky Show 5 up to the huge Show 15 designed for wall mounting. In the middle of the pack are two very different options, the Show 10 which offers a display that can swivel and this, the Echo Show 8.
Compact enough to fit onto most rooms, while still being large enough to have a useful display, the Echo Show 8 has undergone a number of changes making this new Echo Show the most advanced of Amazon’s Show devices. I got to spend some time with as it was announced at Amazon’s Devices and Services event at Amazon HQ2 in Arlington.
Amazon Echo Show 8 (3rd Gen, 2023)
Refreshed and redesigned, the Echo Show 8 has been imbued with new powers to make this the most sophisticated Echo Show experience so far – it also happens to be a great size.
Design and build
There’s been quite the redesign to the Echo Show, now with a curved mesh-covered back that looks a lot more modern. It’s a little deeper round at the back at 106mm with that sculpted mesh giving the internal speakers a little more room to breathe – which is important for boosting the sound quality of this speaker.
The camera now moves front and centre, rather than being offset to one side, while there’s still a pretty big bezel around the edges of that 8-inch screen, but it’s now more seamless, much more like the recent Echo Show 5.
Controls remain on the top of the device, with a privacy slider that you can use to cover the camera with a physical barrier, while there’s a separate mute button so you can stop Alexa listening to you. There are volume buttons as well.
What I like most about the design is that there’s a more seamless sophistication to it. It just looks so much better than the previous Echo Show 8 model, the sort of thing you’ll probably be enthusiastic about having on display in your home.
Display and hardware
There’s an 8-inch display on the front of the Echo Show 8, with a 1280 x 800 pixel resolution. This doesn’t look too different to the previous model of the Echo Show 8 and during the brief time I spent with the new device, I couldn’t see much of a difference in terms of display quality. It’s still very much the same idea, based around larger icons and widgets, with large text so you can read it from across the room.
However, there’s been a slight change in how the Echo Show will use that display. It’s called Adaptive Content, which uses the camera to detect how far you are from the device and then adjust the content accordingly. When you’re further away it will be larger, but when you’re closer the information can be denser because you’re able to read it up close. It will also use visual ID – the same system that’s on Echo Show 15 – to give you a personalised experience.
In terms of hardware, the Echo Show 8 gets a power boost, now with an 8-core chip with the AZ2 Neural Network Engine, this should make everything faster, while moving some of Alexa’s AI functions onto the device will speed up immediate requests, like asking for a light to be turned on for example. Amazon says this will speed-up Amazon’s response for such tasks by up to 40 per cent – that’s a big improvement and will help to make simple requests that much more seamless.
But the Echo Show 8 has also been boosted when it comes to connectivity. It now contains a Zigbee controller on top of Matter, Thread, Bluetooth and Sidewalk support, so the new Show 8 will be a better smart home controller, if that’s what you want it to do. Previously you’d have to set up devices with a dedicated hub – or connect them to something like the Echo 4-gen speaker – to get that direct control, but now the Echo Show 8 can do it all. That’s quite the boost in functionality and a slight repositioning of Amazon’s mid-sized Show device.
A boosted sound experience – and a special Photos Edition
But for many people, the Echo Show is all about movies and music. Naturally, you still have access to all those entertainment services that you expect, from Amazon and other providers, like Spotify or Apple Music.
There’s now a pair of 2-inch drivers in the rear of the Echo Show 8, with a passive radiator that’s designed to elevate the bass. Admittedly I didn’t have much of an opportunity to listen to the sound quality from the new Echo Show at the event in Amazon’s HQ2, but the Show 8 will offer room adaptation technology to produce the best sound quality for the environment you place it in, while it also supports spatial audio, for a more immersive listening experience.
There’s also new noise reduction technology designed to make your video calling clear – with this model once again offering a 13-megapixel camera that will zoom and pan to keep you in the picture when Alexa Calling.
The Echo Show has always been able to show your photos, but Amazon is going to enhance that offering with an Echo Show 8 Photos Edition. This version of the Show 8 is really designed to give you more photo storage, as it comes with 25GB of cloud storage from Amazon Photos. That will mean you can put more into the cloud for the Show 8 to display.
It’s a little more expensive at $160 and you’ll get the PhotosPlus subscription which powers the whole thing free for 6 months – then renewing at $2 a month. You’ll even be able to invite family members to contribute photos to share on your Echo Show.
Amazon Echo Show 8 (3rd Gen, 2023)
My time with the new Echo Show 8 was short, but the new design is certainly striking. There’s a lot more to learn about this device when it comes to how much better the performance is and how the local processing of some of those voice requests will make it a better smart home controller.
But the key thing is going to be the sound quality. That’s the detail I’m going to be most interested in, to see if that sound has that immersive quality that Amazon is promising from that new speaker arrangement. The new Echo Show is available to pre-order now and will be available from 25 October.