Skip to main content

I tried the Amazon Echo Show 8, a smart display that transforms when you get close

The third-generation Amazon Echo Show 8.
Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

If you’ve ever used the last Amazon Echo Show 8, you mostly have a pretty good idea of what you’re going to get with this updated model: a decent screen with which to see things, a surprisingly good speaker.

And that’s still true going into this new iteration, one of several new Echo devices announced today. Even in our crowded, noisy demo area after Amazon’s fall devices event at its new HQ2 building in Arlington, Virginia, you could hear music (the sort your kids love) just fine. The speaker on this thing is still surprisingly good.

The real upgrades are going to require a more intimate setting to really get a handle on, though they’re easy enough to understand.

First is that the Echo Show 8 has a very conspicuous 13-megapixel camera centered along the top bezel — so you’re inspired to make calls and the like. It’s also redesigned — always a fun thing — and is faster. Those are all the good incremental upgrades you expect for $150.

Then there’s all the smart home smarts you could want in a modern product like this. Zigbee, Sidewalk, Thread, Bluetooth, and Matter — all baked in. Cool.

But it’s the new Adaptive Content that’s really going to make this a better experience. The Echo Show 8 can tell when you’re close to it, or when you’re farther away, but still able to see it, and it’s going to adjust what’s on the screen accordingly. If you’ve ever used a Nest Hub Max, you already know how cool a feature that is — to see the device recognize where you are and change things up as you get right up on it.

It’s maybe not a game changer, but it’s still very cool. And kudos to Amazon for ensuring that it’ll hit the second-generation Echo Show 8 (and other Echo devices) in early 2024.

My biggest question at this point? Whether to go all-in on an Echo Hub for smart home control, or to make do — as if that’s a bad thing here — with an Echo Show 8.

You almost can’t go wrong either way.

Editors' Recommendations

Phil Nickinson
Section Editor, Audio/Video
Phil spent the 2000s making newspapers with the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, the 2010s with Android Central and then the…
Which Amazon Echo should you buy on Prime Day?
Amazon Echo on a table.

Amazon’s prized Echo line covers an assortment of product categories, with the majority of them being smart displays and smart speakers. These gadgets help us to keep connected with our smart homes, as well as giving us some form of entertainment in the form of music, videos, and other consumable content. With Prime Day deals looming on the horizon, you’ll need to know what Amazon Echo devices you should buy. We’ll break down exactly what they are, along with all the juicy reasons! Just remember to keep your eyes on the lookout because we have some Prime Day Amazon Echo deals you don’t want to miss out on.
Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen)

When it comes to the cream of the crop, the Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) sits at the top of the heap within the lineup. That’s because it excels at both the functions of a smart speaker and a smart display. With the former, it’s just as good at playing tunes as its smart speaker peers by boasting strong volumes, heart-thumping bass, and room-filling sound to cover big spaces in the home. What truly sets it apart, though, is the rotating base that enables the display to follow you wherever you go -- so that it’s always in line of sight. And finally, it provides home security peace of mind with its camera, which effectively turns it into a security camera.

Read more
Amazon’s smaller Echo Show smart displays finally get the upgrade treatment
amazon smaller echo show 5 finally gets upgrade 8 glacier white kitchen

In the calm before the Google I/O '21 storm, Amazon has made a preemptive strike and announced upgrades to the Echo Show 8, the Echo Show 5, and unveiled an all-new Echo Show 5 Kids.

The Echo Show 8 has long been one of the fan favorites, but this new model brings to the table a 13-megapixel wide-angle camera that keeps you centered in the frame, even if you move around. The 8-inch, high-definition adaptive color display makes it easier to see everything from family members to recipes.

Read more
7 things you didn’t know your Amazon Alexa smart display could do
Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) side.

Everyone knows the Echo Show can walk you through recipes, drop-in to chat with relatives, and let you control your smart home with just a few taps of a button. But did you know that it has a lot of lesser-known features, too?

While these aren't exactly hidden features, they aren't as well-known as many of the mainstream features the Echo Show is capable of. You might find that your Amazon Alexa smart display is can do much more than you thought.
Alexa can make restaurant reservations
You don't have to navigate complicated audio menus or wade through incomprehensible websites to secure a table for date night. Thanks to the OpenTable Skill with Alexa, you can make restaurant reservations straight from your Echo Show.

Read more