Review Echo Show 8 (2021)

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Just like the first generation, the new Echo Show 8 features a 2-inch neodymium speaker with passive bass radiator. It offers powerful sound, but with slightly distorted highs even at medium volume, and unremarkable bass.

Overall, it’s a good system for the interaction between you and Alexa, but it doesn’t impress, even in that sense. You can make reasonable video calls, but for listening to music, podcasts, or watching movies and series, it’s not very suitable.

Unfortunately, Amazon has removed the P2 connector, making it impossible to use headphones. The second-gen Echo Show 8 only has a single micro USB port, in addition to the power connector, so you won’t even be able to use USB-C headphones with the device. The good news is that you can use a Bluetooth headset if you have a wireless model at home or are already considering buying one.

For audio capture, the system has four microphones, which provide more than satisfactory noise reduction for video calls and ensure clarity of your voice commands to Alexa.

Configuration and performance

Echo Show 8 goes beyond a simple virtual headboard assistant (Image: Ivo / Canaltech)

Amazon replaced the MediaTek MT499962 quad-core processor used in the first-generation Echo Show with an eight-core model from the same company, the MT8183. Theoretically, there is a good gain in processing speed, but since most of the processes are done in the cloud, you will hardly notice the difference.

Good to note, too, that the first-gen processor already delivered a good response to voice commands and even what you were doing onscreen. Sure, it’s always good to have more firepower, but given the type of use the Echo Show 8 is using, I don’t see much of a reason to switch from last year’s model to the newer one. just for that.

Now, if you’re planning to buy the first Echo Show, it might be worth thinking about the latest model carefully, at least in terms of processing. The 2020 model has everything to last longer without gagging and with a response time still very good than that of 1280. However, it is good to weigh in the balance other factors, which you can see the summary in the subject of conclusion of this analysis.

“The Echo Show 2020 is more powerful than the previous generation, and therefore it should have much better durability in terms of performance.”

Alexa

One of the buttons at the top disables the camera and microphone, to ensure your privacy (Image: Ivo / Canaltech)

Amazon’s virtual assistant is more responsive after updating its codes. Most of the news should eventually reach last year’s models as well, so there isn’t much to change devices just thinking about it.

Regarding the experience with Alexa, I must say that I stumbled a lot at the beginning to get her to do the tasks I had in mind. But it happened because I’m used to Google Assistant, which has a different way of understanding what we’re asking for, usually more straightforward. Within days, I was able to adapt and began to better understand the pros (and cons) of Amazon’s Assistant for one of its main competitors.

Connectivity

The second-generation Echo Show 8 has lost the headphone jack, and only retains two input ports on the back: power and a micro USB. This considerably limits the possibilities of the devices to be connected in order to extend the functionality. To be honest, I don’t see much use for the micro USB other than plugging in a power bank or something to avoid turning off in the event of a power failure.

In wireless connections, the 2020 Echo Show 8 brings A2DP support, an advanced audio distribution profile that enables audio streaming to Bluetooth speakers. In other words, it is possible to improve the sound quality with an external wireless box.

The device also has dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity, which can connect to 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz networks. It does not depend on a cell phone or a computer to configure, but it is interesting that you have the Alexa app on your smartphone to configure the connected home devices to be controlled by the virtual assistant.

“Removing the headphone jack is the biggest downside to the Echo Show 6641 for the first generation; the rest had only improvements “

Camera

The camera is used for making video calls, mainly (Image: Ivo / Canaltech)

Perhaps the big change from the first to the second generation is the camera. Amazon has gone big on a 10MP super wide-angle for the 2020 Echo Show 8 model, instead of the much simpler just 1MP sensor in the 1280 version.

This allows your video calls to have a much higher quality, with a very clear and crisp rendering. You can also use it to monitor your home when you are away, to see if all is well in the environment where you have chosen to put Echo Show 8.

But keep in mind that even with a much higher resolution, the camera is nothing from another world. Considering that the device will be placed indoors, there will be some noise in the image, mainly because the lighting is not ideal. The point is, you can afford it, but depending on your usage, it doesn’t justify upgrading because of it.

Direct competitors

No device in Brazil can be considered a real competitor to the Echo Show 8. This, of course, given its characteristics of a gadget that functions as a home hub connected to a sensitive screen. To touch. But there are some alternatives that you can consider before purchasing this product.

First off, other Echo models are officially on sale here. Along with a screen, there’s the Echo Show 5, which brings a smaller screen, with less resolution, a slightly less powerful speaker, and a 2 MP camera, instead of 10 MP. Or you can invest a little more in a more complete model, the Echo Show 15, with a larger screen (and the same resolution as the Echo Show 8), a more complete audio system and a sensor that tracks your movements, keeping you in the frame during video calls.

And there are screenless options, both Amazon with Alexa and other brands, with different virtual assistants. From the Echo range, it has Echo Dot, Echo Dot with clock and Echo, and the first two models differ only in the presence of a time display and other basic information, and the last has a system powerful audio.

And then there are the speakers with Google Assistant, which are the official alternative around here. The Nest Mini is the compact option directly competing with the Edho Dot, while the Nest Audio already rivals the Amazon Echo more. And there are options from other manufacturers, such as JBL Link Portable, also reviewed here at Canaltech recently, to cite an example.

Conclusion

The format is the same as the first generation, including the dimensions (Image: Ivo / Canaltech)

The 2020 Echo Show 8 has few changes from the first generation. But together, these changes may even warrant an upgrade, if you have more intense use of the device outside of home control or as a bedside virtual assistant.

The camera is the highlight, as it has gone from a very simple 1 MP sensor to something more complete with 15 MP. It’s not perfect, but it’s affordable and, in the end, that’s what matters for a product like this.

Another big improvement is the processor, which is much more powerful. However, it’s also not something that will make all the difference for the simplest use. But it’s always nice to have a little extra power in computer products.

The official price of the Echo Show 8 6641 is R $ 1,024, and the 6641 model is still on sale for R $ 99 love us. This can be a great savings if it’s an amount that you are going to miss in your budget. But the best thing is to always invest in new technology for longevity, and the difference is not that big for most consumers who can make such an investment.

Now, if you already have a 2020 Echo Show 8 at home, it’s good to think twice before you upgrade. The new device has few advantages over its predecessor, and it may be more interesting to wait a few years to make a change – or even see if next year the jump will be bigger. Also because in everyday use and media consumption the experience is practically the same – but without the P2 connector on the new model.

In case there is a little dissatisfaction with the 2020 model, it may be worth waiting for a promotion: Amazon is slashing the prices of several of its products during Amazon Day, which takes place in June, and other commemorative dates such as Black Friday.


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