Amazon clearly sees a lot of potential in its Echo Show range. Last year it refreshed the main 10-inch Echo Show and earlier this year it launched the Echo Show 5

Now it's announced this model, the Echo Show 8. It's a compromise between the compact Show 5 and the large second-generation Echo Show. That latter device is large for a reason, because of its display, Dolby-enhanced audio and Zigbee smart hub. 

Design

  • Standard Echo buttons on top
  • Privacy shutter for the camera
  • Available in black or white

The Show 8 is more like a larger Show 5 rather than a smaller Echo Show.

That's because the standard Echo Show has over-large bezels and a very chunky design. Although smaller, the Show 5 and 8 refine this, with a more appealing screen-to-body ratio on the front. 

Pocket-lintEcho Show 8 review image 3

There's also a less chunky rear design while the standard Echo button controls are joined by a privacy shutter on top, too. Again that's like the Echo Show 5 rather than the larger Echo Show which doesn't have the physical shutter - although as with every Echo device you can use the mute button to disconnect the camera and microphone. 

Like the Show 5, Show 8 is available in white or black. 

Screen and sound quality

  • 8-inch 1,280 x 800 display
  • Dual 2-inch speakers with passive bass
  • Based on a MediaTek platform

The larger second-generation Echo Show has a 1,280 x 800 resolution and it's this that drips down to the Echo Show 8, even though the display is 2.1-inches smaller. That means the display is actually pretty crisp - we can't say the same about the larger Echo Show which has a poor display.

The audio prowess of the Show 8 is a significant step up from the Show 5, although we could hear only a little difference in the demo area we looked at the Echo Show in. It doesn't quite have the punch of the main Echo Show which has Dolby-enhanced audio, but for $100/£100 less it certainly makes the larger device look poor value. 

Pocket-lintEcho Show 8 review image 2

Both devices offer 10W per channel, while Show 8 has dual 2-inch speakers with passive bass. 

Interestingly, they do run on different chipsets - the larger Echo Show is Intel Atom based, while the Show 8 is based on a MediaTek platform. 

The only other feature of the larger Show that the Show 5 and 8 don't have is a Zigbee smart hub built-in (like Echo Plus). If you don't need that though, then the Show 8 is probably the Echo Show you need. 

Software

  • Again running Fire OS
  • Many Alexa skills not suited for the display
  • Basic Alexa functions work well with a screen

Once again Amazon's own Android fork - Fire OS - is used to power the device. It works fine, especially for basic commands such as checking the weather or pulling up your calendar, but falls apart with more complex Alexa features such as skills. 

Pocket-lintEcho Show 8 review image 4

That's because so many skills are audio-based. Alexa is still - we'd argue - designed to be talked to rather than interacted with on screen. And so there are so many Alexa skills and features that display next-to-nothing or too basic information on the display. They simply aren't ready for visual presentation. 

As we've observed before, there's a constant tension between Alexa as an audio assistant and Alexa for the Echo Show. 

First Impressions

At a significantly cheaper price than the larger Echo Show, the Show 8 has most of its appealing features and is also a significant step up from Echo Show 5.

\Could it be that Amazon will replace the larger Echo Show with a better quality screened-model that will justify the extra expense? Watch this space. 

Echo Show 8 will be released in November, but you can pre-order now.