For Echo fans – the Echo Show 8 is a no brainer

I was an early adopter of the original Amazon Echo. I recall connecting that ugly cylinder to my wi-fi and being in awe of the capabilities of the device. My love for the Echo grew when I learned I could start connecting my entire house without necessarily upgrading all of my devices. 

At one point, my ceiling fans, lights, fireplace, and Christmas tree were all controlled with my voice. The best part? Amazon just keeps adding features and supporting all of their devices years later. I still have that Echo. I still use it, and it does everything the newest models do.

This led me to be a bit reluctant about upgrading, but I also heard the Echo Show is handy to have. Amazon recently sent me an Echo Show 8 to test out. I never thought I would have much use for it – until now.

First, you should know I protect my counter space with ferocity, and thankfully the Show is designed to sit on a desk, shelf, or counter without being too intrusive. The “8” represents the size of the screen (in inches) for the model, and I personally don’t feel anything larger would fit my space well. The device itself is a “D” shape with a flat front due to the HD screen. I have the charcoal version, but you can also get the device in “glacier white”. It has a built-in camera to easily connect with others via video. You can also use it for other needs – but more on that later. 

There really isn’t much to say about the setup because Amazon almost always makes it to get started with a new product. I plug in the device and a voice and on-screen guided setup makes this a no fuss device for anyone with an Amazon account. The features are what truly make the show great. Below is a short list of my favorites:

Video Calls

This is a feature that I have come to appreciate more with time. Sure, we can live chat on phones, facebook, and a host of other social media programs, but there is something freeing about not holding a device while I chat with a loved one while making dinner. The kids can gather around and easily see too, making this a great tool for connecting with family. 

I am grateful Amazon included a physical camera blocking option in the device as well – security has always been a concern with these types of products. Don’t feel like you would use it to contact others? You can also use it as a baby monitor or even check your Ring Doorbell if you have one. 

Home Cards

The Echo Show allows for more personalization than ever. The home screen is capable of providing me with information that is relevant to my life. I can view my calendar, local weather at a glance, and even see breaking news without ever having to ask for it.

I love using the photo feature option. Everyday I can see past photos I have taken on that day in years past. These photos change every so often so I get the entire slideshow throughout the day. Reminders are also now visual and audible. I can’t tell you how many times I could breathe a sigh of relief because the trash reminder is set. No more scrambling to get the trash to the curb at 6am in sub-zero weather – ahhh. 

Movies and Recipes

Okay, these don’t exactly go together well, but hear me out. Sometimes it gets a little boring making things in the kitchen. If I’m not checking out a podcast or listening to music, I can now watch movies or shows on Prime while prepping. I also look up recipes and see them on the Show as well. Meal prep and recipes go together like – the Echo and your Kitchen – I tried. 

While the list above is not comprehensive, the features are wonderful additions to the home. The Show is now a familiar tool that has a permanent place on my kitchen counter. It isn’t perfect however. I have noticed it doesn’t seem to respond as well as the cylindrical echos. Why? I’m not sure, but if I had to guess I think the original echos have a better microphone design around the entire outside of the round device. I also wish the home cards were a bit more customizable. It would be nice to see news that is relevant to my tastes and scores that I care about. I’m sure Amazon is listening (no pun intended?) and will continue to perfect an already great device. 

If you are still on the fence about a Show, I understand. I’ve been there. That being said, the prices only continue to become more reasonable. My friend was recently able to pick one up for $60 around the Holidays. Wait for a sale if you must, in the meantime I’ll keep enjoying what I waited too long to get in the first place.