While a smart speaker is perfectly adequate in controlling your smart home devices, a smart display is simply better because, well, it comes with a display. Aside from asking Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant to do things for you through voice command, a screen lets you access a whole lot more information, watch videos, and make video calls. Three of the best smart displays right now, the Echo Show (2nd Gen), Echo Show 5, and Echo Show 8, are all on sale at Amazon for as low as $60. Read on to find out which Echo Show best suits your needs and budget.
The smallest member of Amazon’s smart display lineup, the Amazon Echo Show 5 is the best budget smart display that you can buy. Even though its 5.5-inch screen is pretty small (some phones are actually bigger), it still has a lot to offer for such a tiny package. It does what any large-screened smart display is capable of doing but for a fraction of the cost. With the Echo Show 5, you’d be able to make video calls, control your smart home devices, watch videos, and ask the assistant questions.
However, since this is a budget smart display — it’s currently on sale at Amazon for just $60 instead of the usual $90 — it comes with a few expected compromises, aside from the super small screen. Its 1-megapixel integrated camera will make you appear like you’re made out of pixels in video calls, and its 4-watt speaker is tiny and feeble sounding. You also won’t find dedicated YouTube or Google Photos apps on board (you do get Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Prime Video, and more, which are more than adequate alternatives). It also lacks the built-in Zigbee Hub that you’d get with the Echo Show 2.
If you need an Alexa-powered device with a decent display screen but don’t want to spend too much money, the Echo Show 5 would be perfect for you. Get it for just $60 at Amazon today.
The Amazon Echo Show 8 is not too small like the Echo Show 5, nor too big like the Echo Show (2nd Gen). Its 8-inch HD display is, in our opinion, just right, the perfect size for a bedside smart display. It functions exactly the same as the Echo Show 5 and Echo Show (2nd Gen). You get smart home controls, including the ability to set up routines for your connected smart devices; the larger screen size is great as a digital photo album (you can link it to your Amazon Photos connection); and it’s compatible with baby monitor cams or security cams to see what’s happening in other areas of your home.
While asking Alexa to do anything Amazon-related is pretty easy (Prime Video is just a tap away, and commanding all smart home gadgets remotely that’s been set up through the Alexa app is a breeze), playing a YouTube video is anything but. The app isn’t on board and she’ll simply inform you that she can’t do it. You can, however, access the YouTube mobile site using a browser.
This smart display is outfitted with a camera and a microphone so you can call friends and family or connect to other Echo Shows in your house. For those concerned about privacy (and rightfully so since this device is being marketed for bedroom use), don’t fret. There’s a switch that will let you electronically shut down the camera and microphones, and you can take an extra step of shuttering the camera for more protection if you want. The Echo Show 8’s size makes it the ideal smart display for your bedroom. Get it for just $90 instead of $130 at Amazon today.
The second generation of the Amazon Echo Show is the Alexa-powered mini-TV you need. A marked improvement over the original version, it now sports a bigger screen and improved acoustics. Featuring a 10.1-inch crystal-clear touch display (the previous one was 7 inches), the bigger screen is easier to navigate and see from across the room. The picture quality has also improved tremendously, so much so that you don’t need a second TV if you already have this in your den or kitchen.
Amazon has ditched the old version’s blocky and retro look in favor of a more streamlined form, with a sandstone or charcoal fabric backing. On top of the Echo Show are three buttons: One to mute and un-mute the microphone, and two volume control buttons. Finally, there’s a 5-megapixel camera on top for calling other Alexa devices (including those found in your home) or to call someone’s phone using the Alexa app. Soon the Echo Show will be able to support Skype calls as well.
The audio quality is excellent. The older version’s stereo speakers have been upgraded to dual premium drivers and a passive bass radiator, and the improvement can definitely be heard. You’ll be able to feel the bass reverberate when you play any beat-heavy song. And unlike the Echo 5 and 8, this works as a smart hub, so you can control Zigbee-compatible smart home devices through Alexa. Get the Echo Show (2nd Gen), our choice for the best Amazon Echo smart display, at Amazon today for $180 instead of $230.
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