Here’s Why The Echo Show 8 Is A No-Brainer At $129.99

Here’s Why The Echo Show 8 Is A No-Brainer At $129.99

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CNN —  

The new Echo Show 8 is here, which keeps the same design and all of the functionality, but packs in a new camera for improved video calls and photography.

The Echo Show 8 is the $129.99 smart display from Amazon. With an 8-inch HD display, you can use it for video calls, get visual responses from Alexa and even watch TV shows or movies. When we first reviewed it in 2019, we felt that it was the smart display for most people – not as large as the then unwieldy Echo Show 10 and not as tiny as the Show 5.

And now, that same great display has slightly more speed and a camera experience that is really delightful. So let’s unpack it all.

Who this is for: Echo Show 8 is a feature-filled smart display ideal for someone in the Alexa ecosystem or looking for a first-time smart device. It also makes sense if you currently have a smart speaker and want to add in visuals.

What you need to know: Not much has changed on the Show 8 2nd Gen; it’s all about the new 13-megapixel camera, which significantly improves video calls and photography. The screen size, design, user interface and audio quality are identical to the predecessor.

How it compares: The Echo Show 8 isn’t as futuristic or technology-forward as the Show 10. That more expensive smart display features a rotating screen, a faster processor and better sound. It’s faster than the Show 5 and a larger screen makes it easier to use. The Nest Hub has a better interface that is easier to interact with, but it’s more ideal for those who prefer the Google Assistant. The Show 8 is an ideal smart display for those in the Alexa or Amazon ecosystem — and it’s priced right.

Jacob Krol/CNN

The biggest change with the new Echo Show 8 is a camera swap — a 1-megapixel lens for a 13-megapixel lens, which delivers a significant improvement for image capture. Our first thoughts on our selfie and video call tests? More details, better lighting and no crazy levels of saturation. It’s simply better overall, and the same lens you’ll find on the Echo Show 10.

When taking a Zoom or Skype call, we immediately noticed a clearer picture on our end, compared to the previous Show 8, and those on the call with us did as well. With a bright LED light above us, the new Show 8 was no longer blowing out the image’s background, but instead kept things balanced. Our saturation levels were close to real-life as well and this all makes for a more natural call. It can also fit more into a single shot since the frame is a wide 110-degrees, which is leagues better than standard lens on the original.

Pushing that further is Amazon’s stay-in-frame tech. On Show 10, the smart display tracks you and physically rotates to keep you in the frame. The execution here is all digital, as the Show 8 is a stationary device and uses computer vision to keep you in the frame. It’s pretty close to the experience with Center Stage on the iPad Pro, but the Show 8 isn’t as quick on its feet. As a result, it can take a few extra seconds to get you in the frame and, for some reason, likes to make many adjustments. It makes video calls much more engaging, and for moments where you have to walk around, it will keep you in the frame. We’d also note that it isn’t as seamless as on the Show 10, you’ll notice the camera slowly zooming in and moving on you.

Jacob Krol/CNN

Jacob Krol/CNN

Amazon’s smart speakers and displays have made some big leaps in sound quality recently. The Show 8 isn’t getting new audio tech but keeps the same speaker tech that won us over in 2019. It features two 2-inch speakers that can each push out 10-watts. While that might seem like a minimal amount of speakers, the Show 8 delivers a rich sound experience that can fill a room.

Both these speakers fire out the back, so it pays to place the Show 8 in a corner; this way, the audio can bounce off and pack a bit more force. The Show 8 is on par with the new Show 10 and the core 4th Gen Echo, and louder than the Show 5 or Echo Dot. With a track like “Good 4 U” by Olivia Rodrigo, the bass and synthetic lower tones don’t crackle or pop. Additionally, the overall mix doesn’t wash out vocals and other instruments on the track. You also get the ability to customize the sound experience with an EQ board on the Show 8’s screen or via the Alexa app for Android or iOS.

The speakers pair quite well with the display, and when you’re using select music services (like Amazon Prime Music), the screen will display lyrics in real-time. And the 8-inch screen on the Show 8 performs just fine as a multi-functional home display. Plus, it’s responsive to multitouch.

This way if Alexa delivers a visual response along with her verbal answer, you’ll be able to interact. The Show 8 also features a pr

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