Bigger display, improved sound and Zigbee Bridge – Amazon is neatly drumming the second-generation Echo Show. We have tested it in practice.
The first Echo Show (test report) showed Amazon end of 2017: He extended the audio concept of the Alexa language assistant by a 7-inch display. But next to some praise it hailed above all criticism. Too clumsy, too small, too weak sound, unloving implementation of the visual representation. This has taken Amazon to heart and completely revised the Echo Show for the 2nd Generation. The new model is more beautiful, bigger and louder. Whether he convinces us this time, the test shows.
Optics & design
The most obvious innovation on the new Echo Show is its 10-inch touch display. Amazon calls it "brilliant". However, we see it differently: With a resolution of only 1280 × 800 pixels, it comes to a pixel density of just 151 ppi and is thus brilliantly far away. Fortunately, the low resolution at a distance of 1 m is not noticeable. Brightness, contrast and color of the LCD are good. However, the display reflects so much that you should avoid windows behind the Echo Show. Also the viewing angle stability leaves something to be desired.
The display edges are less dominant than the predecessor, but still too wide for 2018. In the upper edge of the display hide four forward facing microphones and a camera. On the narrow upper edge provide two buttons for volume control. A button turns the device on deaf, so it no longer listens. In addition, four more microphones radiate up there. As with all of our tested echo devices, the combination of the directional microphones works very well.
The entire back covers an optional white or black fabric. It fits visually perfect for the new Amazon Echo Dot 2018 (review) and the Amazon Echo Plus 2018 (review). To make room for the larger display, Amazon broadened the show significantly. Even in the depth he has grown a bit, but shortened the height of Amazon.
The two 50mm neodymium stereo drivers are now no longer radiating forward under the display, but give the sound clearly separated from each other on the left and right slightly backwards. In the middle on the back are passive bass radiators.
If the new Echo Show stands in front of a wall, it reflects the sound and produces a clear stereo effect. In general, the sound quality is much better than its predecessor. Especially the bass is buzzing from the show that the table top just vibrates like that. The bass was too dominant for us. However, Amazon recently has access to the Equalizer: Alexa, less bass – already the problem is solved.
In the test of the 2018 Amazon Echo Plus, we refer to the language assistant as the sonically best echo. We have to put that into perspective at this point. Overall, the Echo Show seems a bit voluminous and powerful, even if it comes in higher volumes, or over its limits and overdrives. Nevertheless, at this point: Although the new Echo Show offers a good sound, "adult" speakers like the Sonos One (review) are much better.
The Echo Show has a large display, camera, very good microphones and speakers – so it is suitable for video calls. But still the phone calls only with other echo devices or the smartphone with installed Alexa app. Amazon wants to change soon and announces a Skype support. At the time of the test, this feature was not available yet. In the test, we called a colleague via the Echo Show. That worked great, especially the audio transmission was almost perfect.
We are a bit disappointed by the 5-megapixel front camera. In brightly lit rooms, it does not attract attention. But in the dim light, the picture growls and gossips the details. Nevertheless, video telephony is a really useful use case – especially for older generations. Once set up, Grandma can very easily see and raise her grandchildren by voice.
The Echo Show also supports wireless security cameras, including the Netgear Arlo system. Users in forums, however, complain that this skill works unreliable. We tried that with the older Arlo and the Arlo Q and did not encounter any problems.
Even with products such as the smart video Ring Ring (test report), the voice assistant with display will soon work better together. When someone rings, Echo Show shows the visitor on demand.
In fact, the Echo Show now works better with smart home devices – at least if they use the widely used Zigbee standard for wireless communication. Compared with the new Amazon Echo Plus 2018 (test report), it integrates a Zigbee bridge from home, via which compatible smart home devices connect directly and without their own bridge to the router. As with the Echo Plus 2018 to integrate a temperature sensor to control the smart heating or the like, waived Amazon.
As usual with other echo devices, the Echo Show also plays its music from Amazon Music Unlimited, Amazon Prime Music or Spotify. The display shows, among other things, the name of the band, the title, the album and the cover image, while Amazon streaming services use the same lyrics as the karaoke. In addition, Amazon integrates its video offering Instant Video. The show navigates through the voice (Alexa, scroll to the right) through menus and selects (Alexa, play number three) the desired video. If that does not work out as intended, the touchscreen will help.
After Google several times removed its video offer Youtube end of 2017 from the old Echo Show 1st generation due to disputes with Amazon, plays the Echo Show 2018 corresponding video again – albeit a bit cumbersome. Because your own Youtube app does not exist. Instead, the show uses the preinstalled Silk or Firefox browser to display the Youtube videos. These browsers can also be opened for classic surfing by voice command. The input of a URL But then done on the touch screen via a virtual keyboard and no longer verbal. The search engine is Microsoft Bing.
The show supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, but does not have a 3.5mm jack plug. It draws its power from a 30-watt power supply with a male connector, right next to it are a micro-USB port and a Kensington lock.
While the rest of the Echo family is set up via the Alexa app, the new Echo Show uses only the touch controls on the large display. The individual steps are well explained, the overall setup is a bit easier, which will be particularly appreciated by the less app-affine target group.
The Amazon Echo Show costs at the time of launch 230 euros. Amazon is launching a dimmable Philips Hue White worth € 17, which, thanks to Zigbee support, connects directly to the Echo Show. The 2017 Echo Show cost at the beginning also 230 euros and has now fallen to 130 euros. We strongly assume that also the 2018 Echo Show will soon be cheaper in various offers. It will not be long before the Cyber Week on November 19, when Amazon's own products usually fall in price.
Echo Show 2 2018 black
Echo Show 2 2018 white
Amazon Echo Show 1 2017 black
Echo Show 2 2018 Black + Philps Hue Lamp
Echo Show 2 2018 White + Philps Hue Lamp
Amazon Echo Dot 3 2018 black
Anyone who plays with the idea to buy a smart speaker with display should grab the Echo Show 2018 – even if the Echo Show 2018 (review) is currently 100 euros cheaper. Too big are the improvements. We especially like the fuller sound and the clearly grown display. In fact, many requests make sense to get additional visual feedback on Alexas verbal responses. Also for video telephony the show is well suited and finally works: Alexa, show me cat videos, Like the Amazon Echo Plus 2018 (review), the show also evolves thanks to the integrated Zigbee bridge to the central control unit for smart home devices.
It's a pity, though, that Amazon does not use a 3.5 mm jack plug again and puts it back on a 5 megapixel camera with weaknesses in dark environments. If you do not need a display or a Zigbee bridge and you can handle a little less sound then you should take a look at the Amazon Echo Dot 2018 (review). For a fraction of the cost, this smart speaker also offers a lot of features.