The 3rd generation Echo Show 8 from Amazon boasts improved audio and video quality, as well as faster response times from Alexa, making it an even more valuable addition to any smart home.
The device has been updated with a faster processor, a new language model, and generative AI for a more dynamic user experience. The outside also got a slight refresh, with an edge-to-edge screen and a somewhat softer design, and the 13MP camera has been moved to the center of the device.
I’ve been using an Echo Show since the original was launched in 2017 (and the 2nd gen since 2021) and have become used to having a constant kitchen companion. While I don’t make a lot of video calls, I use my Echo Show 8 mainly to catch up on the news or to watch YouTube videos while cooking in the kitchen. I read recipes on the screen, listen to my morning news or “flash briefing,” and use it to control other smart home devices like my Philips Hue lights and Ring Video doorbell. Amazon says the new updates will make it even easier for me to interact with Alexa as well as what’s on the screen. Here are a few of the new features I’m looking forward to trying out.
Using computer vision technology, the Echo Show takes into account your position in the room when it delivers content and adjusts it based on your proximity to the device. For instance, Amazon showed how a weather app provides a detailed view of pertinent information on the screen. But when the user moves farther away from the display, the font becomes larger, showing less info but making it easier to read across the room. I want to try this out with recipes: when I’m in my kitchen grabbing ingredients out of the fridge, which is on the opposite end of the room from the Echo Show, I shouldn’t have to squint and strain my eyes to see everything on the screen. The device will adjust the font as I move farther away from it.
Faster Alexa response
Alexa is already pretty quick to answer when I ask a question, but I notice the response time is slightly delayed when I give a voice command for a smart home device. The new language model used in the Echo Show 8 will speed that response time by 40 percent, according to Amazon. Instead of sending info to the cloud and back again, Alexa will process those smart home requests locally. Right now, with my 2nd gen Echo Show, when I ask Alexa to show me my front door so I can see who’s there, I’ve already passed by the device and am at the door by the time the image is displayed. Processing these requests locally means I should be able to call that image up faster and glance at it as I walk by on my way to answer the door.
Better audio and video experience
The Echo Show 8 promises to look and sound even better. Amazon says moving the camera to the center of the screen will improve the look of video calls, while an upgraded audio pipeline helps minimize background noise, making it easier to hear the conversation. The speakers got a boost as well, with the addition of room adaptation technology and spatial audio processing, providing a more immersive, room-filling listening experience.
I look forward to testing all these new features in my kitchen when it’s available later this month. In the meantime, you can pre-order the Echo Show 8 now for $149.99.
[Image credit: Amazon]