Looking for a new a smart digital assistant with a screen? There is now an option for every size, need, budget and task. The newest is Amazon Echo Show 8. How does it compare to the Show 5 or the Show 10? Let’s dig in.
Review: Amazon Echo Show 8
The Echo Show 8 has a 8” HD screen with 1280 x 800 resolution—that’s the same resolution as the 10 but better than the 5, if you’re keeping score. This size is great for a kitchen office, or bedside
This device also adds a privacy switch on the front-facing camera so you’re in control of it at all times. Keep it closed for guaranteed privacy, or open it up and make video calls to friends.
What’s the deal with adding a screen? After all, these devices tout being hands-free, so why add a touchscreen? The screen livens up the device with colourful screensavers, and a Use time and info display, but it also lets you watch videos too from places like Amazon Prime and YouTube. You can also make video calls, check your video doorbell or security cameras and watch Canadian newscasts.
Use Echo Show 8 for video calls while travel is limited
At times like these when we’re all trying to stay connected without being able to meet face to face, it also gives you an easy and convenient way to video chat with other family and friends who also have an Alexa video-enabled device.
If you have two video-enabled Amazon devices, you can make video calls from room to room using Drop In.
By saying, ‘Alexa, drop in Echo Spot’, or Office, or Kitchen, or whatever you’ve called that camera, it will open a video link to the other device. You can also use Echo Show 8 to make calls to other people who have Echo devices, as long as they’ve enabled that on thier own Alexa app.
How does Amazon Echo Show sound?
Amazon Echo Show 8’s speaker, is pretty good sounding. Each of it’s two internal speakers has 10W per channel of power. That’s the same as the Show 10, but without the 10’s Dolby processing. Even so, you’re not really trading off audio power for this smaller size at all. The sound is clear and good and the bass is surprisingly vibrant also.
Starting out with an Amazon Echo show device with video screen is a bit different than a traditional screenless Echo device. You will do the set up right on the device, using the touchscreen. Here’s how:
Let the Show 8 power up, then select your location and language, then connect to your home Wi-Fi network.
You’ll need to enter your Amazon account information on the screen. Follow the step-by-step instructions to complete the rest of the process including choosing your time zone, location (for Amazon deliveries!) then you can also select where in your home the Show 8 will live, and what you want to name your device; like Office, Erin’s Room, Frank, etc.
How to turn off Amazon Echo ads and screen displays
The Echo Show 8 has a bunch of stock content it shows on screen. You can choose your photo, art or screen saver and display options, but you can also now turn off some of the more annoying Amazon features like celebrity birthdays, On this Day and the Alexa tips. To make this happen, touch on the screen when you see one of these, then tap the three little dots that appear beside the title. You can choose ‘Hide this Item’ or otherwise re-set what you’ll be shown.
This is a nice option for owners as a lot of people felt very annoyed by being ‘force-fed’ Amazon content, and pushes they deemed ‘ads’ by Amazon. With the changes, you’re more in control of what you see.
Using Amazon Echo Show 8: what can Alexa do?
What’s it like using Amazon Echo Show? You can use it for a whole lot of handy tasks:
- setting times and alarms
- asking for a daily news briefing
- watching videos on Amazon Prime while cooking
- asking Alexa for smart home control commands, like turning lights on and off
- viewing a Ring video doorbell or camera
While you’ll likely have your own core ways you use it, there’s plenty of other things you can do with the Show 8.
Watch videos on Amazon Prime Video using Show 8
You can ask Alexa to dial up your favourite Prime Video shows, like Bosch or vintage Unsolved Mysteries, by saying ‘Alexa, Open Prime Video.’ This lets you surf using the touch screen to see what’s there. You can also ask for a specific show, and Prime Video will dive right to it.
Check Ring cameras using Echo Show 8
If you’ve got a Ring Video Doorbell or Stick Up cam, you can access the cameras just by asking. If you have it’s as easy as saying, ‘Alexa, show me the front door’. If you need to get this skill connected, go to the Alexa app> Skills> and search Ring. You’ll need to sign into your account to link it, but once that’s done, you’ve got a direct portal to your Ring cameras! To talk, just tap the microphone button which will appear on screen when you ask Alexa to call up the camera.
Use Audible for Audio Books
If you’d rather listen to a book than watch videos, the Show 8 can read audio books from audible.ca. Once you are signed in to your Audible account you can just ask Alexa to play the title of the book and she’ll pick up where you last left off.
Try using daily Routines
You can choose a pre-set routine from inside the Alexa app that will trigger all sorts of other commands, and you only have to ask once. I enabled the ‘start my day routine’, which will give you a news update, weather forecast, share what’s on your calendar, and traffic updates when you say, “Alexa, Start my Day.” Using the “Alexa, Goodnight” routine, Alexa will turn all your smart lights off and say something random, like “hope you had a great day”.
Overall, I’m still really liking the Echo Show experience.
The audio quality on the Show 8 is great, and so is the video quality. If TV and video viewing will be a major use in your house, do yourself a favour and upgrade to the larger 10” Echo Show.
If you’re looking for a smart digital speaker than can do more and one that will fit in smaller spaces than the bigger Show, you’ll probably really like the Amazon Echo Show 8.