(Pocket-lint) - Amazon's Echo Show comes in three sizes - 10, 8 and 5 - with the numbers relating to the screen size. But how do these devices compare and which is the best model for you?
The best prices are often available on Amazon sales events like Black Friday, but there are regular discounts through the year.
Let's start by running through the similarities.
What's the same?
The Echo Show range is pretty similar in software capability, but it's in terms of design that the devices have changed over the last year.
The Echo Show 5 (2021) and 8 (2021) are very similar in terms of design and capabilities. The Echo Show 10 (2020) is quite different and is ideal as a main Echo device in a family room or kitchen.
Of course, at the heart of each Echo device is Alexa, Amazon's voice assistant, that can help you with all the basics as well as more complicated stuff via the addition of Alexa Skills and automation via routines.
On-screen, the interface that works alongside the touchscreen display has been improved over older models to make things more dynamic, but the experience is generally similar across all models.
Amazon is also powering up the Show, too, with support for Netflix in addition to the existing Amazon Prime Video and Hulu. In terms of video calling, you'll also now get Zoom support (plus Amazon's own Chime communication service for calling other Show devices) as well as Skype. Group calling is also on the way. Of course, Alexa already supports numerous music services including Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify and Deezer.
Recipe support comes courtesy of Food Network Kitchen in the US and BBC Good Food in the UK.
In terms of design, all three devices now have a physical privacy shutter (with mic/camera off) and physical volume controls, while all are available in white (glacier) and dark grey (charcoal). The main body of each device is covered in fabric.
The devices support support 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5) and A2DP support for streaming audio via Bluetooth.
- Echo Show 10: 251 x 230 x 172mm, 2.6kg
- Echo Show 8: 200 x 136 x 99mm, 1.04kg
- Echo Show 5: 148 x 86 x 73mm, 410g
The Echo Show 10 has always been seen as a more of a room-filling entertainment device, while Show 5 and 8 are more bedside or desk devices. Indeed, Show 5 is more of an alarm or clock radio device.
The Echo Show 5 and 8 are a trapezoid shape on the rear, whereas the new Show 10 looks more like an old iMac, with a 'bulb' or flattened sphere shape holding the screen. There's a reason for that because the screen can rotate up to 175 degrees. If you're on a video call, it'll move as you do in order to keep you in the frame. However, the 'tilt' of the screen is manually operated.
The Echo Show 8 - updated in 2021 - will also track you around the room when on video calls, thanks to the new 13-megapixel camera. This will keep you in the centre of the frame if you move around.
The main disappointment in terms of the design of the Echo Show 10 is that the display itself has relatively large bezels, but it has clearly been designed to hit a price point. That's no different to any other Echo device.
- Echo Show 10: 10.1-inch HD touchscreen (1,280 x 800 resolution)
- Echo Show 8: 8-inch HD touchscreen (1,280 x 800 resolution)
- Echo Show 5: 5.5-inch touchscreen (960 x 480 resolution)
The Echo Show 10 has a 10.1-inch HD touchscreen display which appears to have the same 1,280 x 800 as the old 10-inch Echo Show. The lack of high resolution is a bit disappointing, but Amazon clearly hasn't wanted to make its new Echo line up any more expensive than the predecessor device.
However, the resolution seems a lot more acceptable on the Echo Show 8, with the smaller screen offering the same resolution as the larger model. The Echo Show 5 understandably lags behind a little, but because of its diminutive size, the lower resolution doesn't grate, in fact, it's perfectly cute.
- Echo Show 10: MediaTek 8183 processor, Zigbee smart hub
- Echo Show 8: MediaTek MT 8183 processor
- Echo Show 5: MediaTek MT 8163 processor
The latest Echo Show 10 has a MediaTek 8183 chip, the same as the Echo Show 8 (2021), so they have similar powered hardware. The Echo Show 5 (2021) uses slightly older hardware.
Show 10 has a built-in Zigbee smart hub, so you can now ask Alexa to discover new smart home devices providing they're Zigbee compliant. The Echo 5 and 8 don't have this.
The Echo Show 10 has a 13-megapixel front-facing camera - the same as the Echo Show 8 - although the Show 10 offers that swivel action which makes it unique. The Echo Show 5 has a 2-megapixel camera, so it's quite different to the other two in terms of the hardware specs.
Sound and speakers
- Echo Show 10: two 1-inch tweeters and a 3-inch woofer
- Echo Show 8: dual two-inch drivers (10W)
- Echo Show 5: one 1.65-inch speaker (4W)
Echo Show 10 clearly has better audio than the other two devices - it boasts a 2.1 system: two stereo 1-inch tweeters and a 3-inch woofer.
Show 8 has dual 2-inch drivers that pump out 10W per channel. The audio is actually pretty good, but it isn't room-filling. Show 5 is definitely more of a desk or bedside table speaker and has a single 1.65-inch 4W speaker.
One of the hardest things to talk about with Echo devices is price points because they vary so much due to Amazon's regular sales. Overall, we feel confident to say that Echo Show 8 offers the best value of these devices, sitting in the middle with a more compact size than the Show 10, but all the power.
However, it's not enough for a main household room, so if you want an Echo Show for one of those locations then you need the Echo Show 10. Clearly, that's the most impressive device here, offering that swivel display to keep you in the picture, so it's ideal for big rooms.
Echo Show 5 is generally available at a very appealing price during sales, but it's really only enough for the bedside or desk. However, it's still a very capable device, thanks to Alexa's skills.