Amazon Echo Show 8 (2nd gen) review: The best smart display for Alexa smart homes

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  • The Echo Show 8 is Amazon’s mid-range smart display.
  • It is a nice compromise between the tiny Echo Show 5 and the pricier Echo Show 10.
  • The 8-inch display is great for watching all kinds of video content and browsing through recipes.

With its 8-inch screen and decent sound, the Echo Show 8 is the best Alexa-enabled smart display for those who are invested in the company’s smart home devices. Ever since it first released in 2021, it’s been one of our top picks for the best smart display

In terms of the Echo Show lineup, the 8 offers the best balance of price and features. It has a bigger screen, better camera, and better sound than the miniature Echo Show 5. And while it lacks the swivel feature of the Echo Show 10, it also costs a lot less.

Even though Alexa’s “smarts” sometimes miss the mark, you do get a lot of value for the price of the Echo Show 8. Simply put: It’s useful. You get control of your smart devices and a decent amount of streaming and entertainment options, plus a vibrant screen and solid speakers. If you’re in the market for an Alexa smart display, the Echo Show 8 should be your first buy.

Amazon Echo Show 8

Amazon’s mid-range and mid-size Echo Show 8 is the best smart display in its current lineup. It’s a good balance of size and features, and great for watching video, making video calls, and controlling your smart home.

Almost everything you need for entertainment 

The Amazon Echo Show 8 sits on a kitchen counter and displays the Hulu page for the show Abbott Elementary.

You can watch Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and YouTube on Echo Show 8’s 8-inch screen.

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The Echo Show 8’s 1280 x 800 screen and dual 2-inch speakers should be enough to satisfy those who want to use the device for streaming video. Colors look vibrant, and the screen size and resolution are adequate for people who like to watch shows while working in the kitchen. 

Of course, the 8-inch display isn’t a substitute for a full-size TV, but you’ll still catch most details. While the Echo Show 8 allows access to streaming services, it’s essentially limited to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and YouTube. That means you’re not able to watch Disney Plus, HBO Max, Paramount Plus, and other popular services. 

When it comes to sound quality, the Echo Show 8’s duo of speakers are robust enough to fill a room and fuel a dance party. Podcasts, news briefings, and audiobooks also come through loud and clear. Spotify, iHeartRadio, Pandora, Apple Music, and more are all available skills you can enable through the Alexa app. 

A standout camera for video chatting 

The Amazon Echo Show 8 sits on a green table and displays a video chat and icons along the bottom and says “Effect could not be applied.”

The camera is nice and crisp, but I found the fun “effects” feature stopped working eventually.

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The Echo Show 8 houses a highly capable 13-megapixel camera, which makes video calls look bright and crisp. The quality is especially noticeable when compared to the diminutive Echo Show 5, which has a two-megapixel camera. With a wide angle and auto-framing feature, the Echo Show 8’s camera makes small movements to subtly keep you in frame.

However, the device’s wedge design means the camera films subjects from below, which is never the most flattering angle. You can purchase an adjustable stand separately if you want a few more positioning options. 

I did notice a slight lag with the enhanced effects feature that turns your head into an animal or adds emoji to your call. When I stuck my tongue out, it took a second for the fox superimposed over my face to follow suit. Eventually, I couldn’t get the effects to work at all on any of the Echo Show devices I was testing. 

You can disable the camera and microphone for more privacy

The Amazon Echo Show 8 shown from the top with its camera shutter toggle in place and the microphone mute button on and glowing orange.

You can tell from a quick glance when the Amazon Echo Show 8’s camera and microphones are off.

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No matter where you plan on putting your smart display, there will likely be times when you want the camera and microphone off. The Echo Show 8 has a physical shutter for the camera that looks orange when it’s engaged. When the microphone is muted, the button glows to let you know Alexa can’t hear you. The microphone was powerful enough to pick up my voice when I was in another room, about 20 feet away. 

Beyond that, most of the privacy settings are buried fairly deep in the app. You can access and erase your whole query history, though the app warns it will degrade the experience of using Alexa. The same warning pops up if you choose to have Alexa not save any voice recordings. 

If you don’t mind Alexa keeping your recordings, you can always ask the device to forget what you just said. 

During setup, you can opt out of Amazon’s Sidewalk network, which links Alexa and Ring devices, even those owned by your neighbors, to strengthen connectivity. It’s a program that worries some security experts because your data, while encrypted, could potentially run through strangers’ devices. 

Your smart home on a screen

The Amazon Echo Show 8 sits on a green table displaying a light bulb icon above the word off and a slider with the brightness set to 50%.

Alexa can control an impressive amount of smart-home devices, but sometimes the display isn’t as useful as voice commands.

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Amazon’s entire Echo Show lineup works with a wide variety of smart-home devices. You’ll have to enable skills and link accounts, so it’s not quite as seamless as connecting devices with HomeKit. 

It’s possible to do some smart-home setup on the device itself, but you may prefer to use the app anyway. During setup, the screen timed out when I was in the middle of assigning lights to different rooms on the device and went back to the home screen. I had to finish the process in the app. 

Using voice control to shut off lights is a huge bonus for me. I have a ton of Philips Hue bulbs in my living room, so I prefer to ask Alexa to turn them all off instead of physically snapping each one off individually. For lights, the Hue skill doesn’t offer much benefit on the device. You can’t change the color via the screen, though you can with voice commands.  

Amazon has its own smart-home devices, like Ring doorbells and Blink cameras. An Echo Show is especially helpful because it can show you the feed without you having to pull out your phone and open an app. 

Everyone in your home will likely use a smart display a little differently. The Echo Show 8 gives you a bit of personalization through widgets, which you can access by scrolling right on the screen. Unfortunately, there are only about 40 options for widgets. Most are from Amazon, and there aren’t widgets for Spotify, Hulu, or other frequently used services. 

One area where the Echo Show 8 falls flat next to the smaller Echo Show 5 is in its clock display. The Echo Show 5 has options for customizing the clock with several options. You’re stuck with the default on the Echo Show 8, which switches from a large font for the time to a smaller one. Unfortunately, the small font may not be big enough for some to see across the room. 

Alexa’s questionable smarts 

The Amazon Echo Show 8 sits on a brown table displaying an answer to the question

Asking Alexa questions resulted in a mixed bag of answers from crowd-sourcing, blogs, and news sites.

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If you’re considering this as your first Alexa device, it’s worth noting that the AI assistant doesn’t get every question or request right. For example, when I asked why the sky is blue, the unsourced answer mentioned that when you look away from the sun, more blue is “knocked off course into your eyes.” It didn’t explain that blue light scatters more because it travels “as shorter, smaller waves,” like in NASA’s answer

In addition, Alexa relies on crowd-sourced answers for some of its content. These answers were often correct but brief. When I asked for the rainiest place on Earth, I got three different answers from three different sources: Mount Waiʻaleʻale in Kauai; the Amazon rainforest; and Mawsynram, India. (For the record, the internet mostly gives the title to Mawsynram.)  

Alexa also sometimes got my commands wrong. When I asked for puppy videos, the Echo Show 8 showed me video game content (“Portal,” perhaps?) and the other time it pulled up an unrelated news video. 

Once, I tried to click on the alarm icon from the home menu. It wouldn’t open. I had to use a voice command. Afterward, I tried the icon again, and it worked. That’s just one instance of a few little buggy moments I experienced when testing the device.

The Amazon Echo Show 8 sits on a green table in front of chocolate chip cookies on an orange plate and is displaying three options for cookie recipes.

Depending on which recipe you choose, the Echo Show can either be a useful cooking assistant or more trouble than it’s worth.

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In the kitchen, recipes are hit or miss. Alexa is supposed to read each step and then wait for you to prompt for the next one. The AllRecipes option lumped together several steps into one, so Alexa sounded breathless after going from mixing the butter and sugar all the way through stirring in chocolate chips.

One place I expected Alexa to excel was offering food substitutions. But when I asked for an alternative for heavy cream, it cited a movie website. Requesting cumin substitutes resulted in the device showing me the following list on the screen: chili powder, seed, and caraway seed. An internet search suggests caraway seeds are one of the best alternatives, along with coriander.

Amazon Echo Show 8 specs at a glance


Amazon Echo Show 8


7.9 (L) x 3.9 (W) x 5.4 (H) inches

Screen size

8 inches (measured diagonally)


1280×800 LCD touchscreen




Dual 2-inch speakers, dual microphones


MediaTek MT 8183


Bluetooth, WiFi (2.4 GHz, 5 GHz)

Should you buy it?

The Amazon Echo Show 8 sits on a green table next to the Amazon Echo Show 8.

The Amazon Echo Show 8 is larger than the Echo Show 5, making watching videos a more enjoyable experience.

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If you’re mainly using the Echo Show 8 for entertainment, it has about everything you could ask for, from Netflix to Hulu to Spotify to Amazon Prime. The 8-inch screen and speakers work well enough for cooking videos and chatting hands-free. Those all-in on Amazon smart-home devices will definitely appreciate the integration with the Echo Show 8. 

It’s an especially convenient way to check in on connected cameras without having to pull out your phone. The smart display also works great with third-party devices like Philips Hue and Lifx light bulbs. Overall, it’s a big step up in screen and sound quality from the Echo Show 5 for not much more, and sometimes Amazon even puts it on sale for less than the smaller device.