Amazon announced a slew of new products at its September 25 press conference, but one of the standout devices was the Echo Show 8, a new step up from the Echo Show 5. Aside from the obvious difference in name, the new Echo Show has a larger, high definition screen. While more concrete details and reviews of its performance won’t be available until the device releases on November 21, early specs look good.
Size does matter — for picture quality and sound
The Echo Show 5 measures in at 5.5 inches on the screen with a 960 x 480 resolution. Meanwhile, the Echo Show 8 has an 8-inch screen with a 1280 x 800 resolution. It also has two slightly larger 2-inch speakers compared to the Echo Show 5’s single 1.7-inch speaker. Because both devices put out 10W per channel, the newer version is likely to have better sound quality.
The Echo Show 8 measures in at 7.9 x 5.4 x 3.9 inches, with a total weight of 36.6 ounces. This puts it closer in size to the original Echo Show than to the Echo Show 5, but without the same chunky bezels around the screen. That extra size in the original Echo Show also housed a Zigbee smart home hub, something that neither of these newer devices offer.
How they look and perform
The Echo Show 8 has the same slim aesthetics as its smaller cousin, along with the same slanted design that allows it to sit upright. Just by looking at photos of the two smart displays resting on an adjustable plastic stand, they look almost identical to the stands Amazon has released for previous iterations of the Echo Show, so it is likely another will join the list of potential accessories.
Boasting the highest resolution screen of any version of the device to date, the larger screen size of the Echo Show 8 makes it perfect for reading off recipes while you’re cooking or as a digital photo album. Video calling will also be much-improved thanks to the HD screen, although the one-megapixel camera remains the same as that of the Echo Show 5.
Both devices come in the same two colors: Sandstone and charcoal. That said, the Echo Show 5 is a device whose smaller size feels more at home on a nightstand or coffee table as a clock/photo frame than the larger silhouette of the Echo Show 8.
Privacy and features
Both the Echo Show 5 and the Echo Show 8 have the same privacy features. You can disconnect the camera and the microphone with the press of a button, and both devices include a plastic shutter that can slide over the camera for an additional layer of security. This is an improvement over the original Echo Show, which allowed users to disconnect the mic and camera, but did not include a slider.
Aside from these basic hardware features, all versions of the Echo Show can serve as a control center for dozens of other smart devices. Control your lights, security system, smart television, and much more with a spoken command. You will also be able to make Alexa kid-friendly by activating Amazon FreeTime. Amazon FreeTime is a subscription-based service ($2.99 per month) that provides access to thousands of Audible books, kid-friendly videos through Amazon Prime Video, and ad-free radio — all while filtering explicit content and staying kid-friendly.
The Echo Show can act as a display for your security system, too. If a compatible smart camera or smart doorbell picks up activity, you can display its view on your Echo Show so that you never have to get out of bed or off the couch to check on what’s happening outside your home.
Which should you buy?
As for pricing, the Echo Show 8 is available for preorder for $129.99, while the Echo Show 5 is now $89.99 on Amazon. However, a combo pack with the new Echo Show and the Echo Show 5 is available for $169.98. Another purchase option includes a Ring Indoor Camera for $159.98. Unlike many deals that include accessories, both of these can save the buyer a decent sum.
The addition of a third Echo Show gives buyers plenty of sizing options, and Amazon’s continued support of earlier versions means that customers don’t need to worry about purchasing a near-obsolete smart device. One size is better suited for a desk or a nightstand, while the others might find their home in the kitchen or on a living room shelf.
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