Amazon’s latest event included a newly-announced standard model for its Echo Show line — and we’re pretty excited about it. If you’re interested in a smart display, Echo Shows are some of the best picks out there, with screens in a variety of sizes for many purposes around the home, from sitting at your bedside to commandeering your kitchen.
However, the latest standard 10-inch Echo Show, now in its third generation, and (confusingly) now called the Echo Show 10, completely revamps the Show’s design with a daring new look and features. To help show the difference, we’re going over the big differences between the Echo Show (second-gen) and the third-generation with a look at their specs.
Pricing and availability
The Echo Show (second-gen) has been available directly from Amazon for some time and sells for $230. You can get it right now by following our links.
The Echo Show 10 (third-gen), meanwhile, is not yet released but is coming soon, no doubt before the 2020 holidays hit so people will be able to purchase them as gifts. When available, it will sell for $250, a $20 increase explained by the added features we’ll go through below. There’s no word yet if Amazon is planning on any Black Friday discounts or similar deals, but we’ll let you know if anything turns up.
Wow, do these Echo Shows look different! The Echo Show (second-gen) conforms to a more traditional smart display design with a slight angle, outward-facing screen and camera, and an inverted-pyramid base that houses the speakers used for playing music and audio. It’s a simple, effective design that makes it easy to position the Show nearly anywhere you want.
The Echo Show 10 (third-gen) throws all of that away and creates a round base that both serves as a 360-degree speaker and mounts the smart display on top. This allows the display to use face and body recognition to automatically swivel the display back and forth to track a person moving around while in video chats and other activities (a feature from the Facebook Portal). That new approach makes the Echo Show 10 more suitable for larger spaces like kitchens and living rooms where people are moving around frequently. It also has a somewhat odd look, certainly not as stylish as the Echo Show (second-gen) and focusing more on usability than appearance.
Speaker and sound
The Echo Show (second-gen) had good sound, but we’ve seen smart speakers do better, including the original Echo line’s latest speaker improvements and Google’s Nest Home with its powerful bass.
The redesigned Echo Show 10 now has a different speaker system, moving from two 2.2-inch tweeters to two 1-inch tweets and a 3-inch woofer. This move drastically increases the bass potential for the speaker. Software will attempt to adapt directional sound in the space that the Echo Show 10 is set up as well.
Display and video
The actual screens in the two Echo Shows have no easily-discernible differences. Both displays are 10.1 inches with a 1280 x 800 resolution. One of them is just mounted in a very different way than the other.
The camera holds a similar place directly above the screen in both models, but it does receive a significant upgrade in the new Echo Show 10. While the Echo Show (second-gen) has a 5-megapixel camera, the Echo Show 10 (third-gen) bumps that all the way up to a 13MP camera. This results in an immense improvement to video chat image quality.
However, keep in mind that since the Echo Show 10 can swivel, it has more usability than a stationary screen despite the similarities. This can add a lot more value to your video chats if you enjoy using that service. There’s also some great synergy with Alexa Guard, Amazon’s security service. Guard listens for suspicious sounds — like breaking glass or humans moving around — when the home is supposed to be empty and sends you an alert. You can open the Alexa app to get a live view directly out of an Echo Show’s camera, and this feature is greatly improved when the Show 10 allows you to pan the camera around and get a much broader look at the living space to see what’s happening.
Smart features and Alexa
Alexa and her various skills are the same across any Echo device, and since the touchscreen functions the same way for both these Shows, there’s really no voice assistant difference to speak of. Everything Alexa can do — from answering questions and making reminders to controlling other smart devices in the house — she can do on both models. Video platforms and streaming channels, including upcoming compatibility with the Zoom app, apply to both Shows equally.
However, there is one extra feature that the Echo Show 10 has, which the Echo Show (second-gen) didn’t get: A low-power mode that will help save on electricity during downtime.
Privacy is always an important topic when it comes to smart displays. There’s no worry about the Echo Show spying on you, no matter which model you choose. The Echo Show (second-gen) has a physical switch on the device that turns off the microphone and camera so they can’t be activated. The Echo Show 10 has this button as well but adds a camera shutter so you can shut off the camera no matter what for extra peace of mind.
The bold new design of the Echo Show 10 is specifically geared toward better video chatting and easier surveillance of your home while you’re away, while also providing more potential for stronger sound (and maybe fixing the somewhat tinny audio of previous Shows).
If you like the idea of using your Show for more social activities, the Show 10 probably wins out with its far superior camera and moving screen. It’s also worth noting that the Show 10 is only $20 more than the Echo Show (second-gen), which is a great price for all the upgrades the new device gets.
However, the Echo Show 10 is really designed for a central spot in an open space, where it has freedom of movement and the speaker base can do its best work. If your intention is to keep the smart display in a tight corner or as a desktop accessory, the second-generation model may be a better pick for you. It also has a more compact, minimalist design compared to the bold new model, which some buyers may prefer.
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