Voice assistant-based smart speakers have finally gained mass acceptance. The sentiment is corroborated by analytics firm Canalys that projects the market to grow beyond 200 million active devices this year. So, it makes sense that tech giants like Amazon and Google have pushed the envelope further too and have added a display to some of their smart speakers.

Previously, Amazon pioneered the segment with Echo Spot and Echo Show, which were later countered by devices like Google Home Hub and Lenovo Smart Display. Amazon later announced its 2nd generation Echo Show (back in October 2018) and the same is now available in India for Rs. 22,999. But is really worth the hefty price? Well, to figure that out, we have been extensively testing it for a few weeks. Let’s find all the answers in our 2nd generation Amazon Echo Show review.

Amazon Echo Show 2018 Specs: What has changed?

Device

Echo Show 2018

Echo Show 2017

India Price

Rs 22,990

Processor

Atom x5-Z8350

Atom x5-Z8350

Memory

2GB

2GB

Storage

8GB 

8GB 

Display

10.1-inch 1280 x 720 touchscreen

7-inch 1024 x 600 touchscreen

Speakers

2 10W speakers, 2-inch neodymium drivers, passive bass radiator, Dolby processing

Dual 2-inch speakers

Cameras

5MP

5MP

Connectivity

2 x 2 WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth BLE & 4.2

2 x 2 WiFi 802.11ac, Bluetooth BLE & 4.2

Dimensions

9.7 x 6.9 x 4.2 inches, 3.8 pounds

7.4 x 7.4 x 3.5 inches, 2.6 pounds

Other features

Camera/mic on/off button

Camera/mic on/off button

Amazon Echo Show Unboxing: What’s in the box?

The Echo show comes in simple box packing that includes Echo Show, its 30W power adapter and a quick start guide.

Amazon Echo Show 2018 Review: Design and Build Quality

  • Black and white
  • fabric finish, plastic built
  • 246 x 174 x 107 mm, 1765g

Do you remember how CRT TVs or monitors used to look back in the day? Well, the Amazon Echo Show 2018 will remind you of those even when it’s comparatively miniature in size. Amazon has made certain aesthetic enhancements this year, which is to say that the new iteration looks better than the last generation Echo Show that never made it to India.

The new Echo Show design is not very flashy. The 10-inch touchscreen display dominates its fascia while all ports and speakers are neatly tucked behind the panel. Around the screen, you will notice wide bezels but they are there for a reason. The top bezel includes a camera sandwiched by two microphones on either side. The Echo Show 2018 has a total of eight microphones,  and the remaining fours are hidden underneath the fabric jacket.

Like the new Echo Plus (review), Amazon once again uses fabric to wrap around the speaker drivers, passive and neodymium radiator. At the top are volume up and down buttons and also a privacy button.

The Echo Show 2nd generation is 6.9 inches high and weighs 1.7 Kg and isn’t meant to be carried around. As of now, the Show is only available in black and white shades. For this review, we got the back color option which gels well with the overall ambiance of my living room. Another advantage of black color is that it will get less dirty over time (as compared to the white color variant).  All in all, the Amazon Echo Show in its new avatar appears elegant, solid and imposing.Amazon-Echo-Show-2018-review-india-with-pros-and-cons-4

Amazon Echo Show 2018 Review: Screen and Video Content

  • 10.1-inch touchscreen
  • LCD panel
  • HD Resolution

Moving on, the screen is one highlight that put Echo Show in a totally separate league than other Echo devices. The 10.1-inch diagonally wide LCD panel has 1,280 x 800 resolution which seems decent enough but lacks Full HD crispness. You won’t mind the resolution if you are watching from a distance, though. It delivers good colors, can go up to 450-nits bright – which is great since it’s only meant to be used indoors.

Amazon has also built-in adaptive brightness feature so that the Show can adjust the screen brightness levels automatically according to the ambient light in the room. Touch sensitivity is strictly mediocre, but that’s not as big a deal since the Echo Show 2 has been designed for voice navigation. 

As far as video content, the primary content provider is Amazon’s Prime Video. Apart from that, it sources video content from NDTV and ESPN for daily briefs. For movie trailers, it depends on Hungama Video. It doesn’t have a native app or skill support for Google’s Youtube or Netflix or Hotstar.

OK, but can I watch YouTube on Echo Show?

The presence of Silk and Firefox Web browsers made life a tad easier. You can watch Youtube on the Echo Show using either of these two web browsers. Apart from Youtube mobile site, I was able to access Hotstar, TVFPlay and played content from that on the device. The keyboard supports voice input which helps with surfing Youtube on the browser. While I managed to watch most content on platforms like Hotstar on the Echo Show browser, It showed a DRM content objection pop-up while trying to watch last season of Game Of Thrones. Netflix is not compatible even on the browser.

Overall, I mostly enjoyed consuming content on the screen on my kitchen counter. On the downside, my reflection on the display while watching from close quarters tends to bug me.

Amazon Echo Show 2nd Generation Review: Audio

  • Intel Atom x5-Z8350 processor
  • Dual 2 inch neodymium drivers, passive bass radiator
  • Dolby Digital

Although the Echo Show flaunts a screen, the best way to use it by voice command and let Alexa do most of the work for you. It responds every time I call her out, even when the music is thumping hard. Amazon’s assistant works well with its own apps like Prime Videos and Amazon Music.

Amazon-Echo-Show-2018-review-india-with-pros-and-cons-3
Amazon Echo Show 2018 Review

Coming to the Audio quality, it is currently the loudest and best Amazon Echo Speakers in the market. Its audio prowess relies on 2-inch side-firing speakers. Amazon has armed them with neodymium drivers and a passive bass radiator which should please those who enjoys lows more than highs.

Dolby processing further helps. Strictly talking about the audio, the Echo Show 2 favors lows over mids and highs, same as the 3rd generation Echo Plus. Using the equalizer you can adjustments by pulling up Mids and Treble. Overall, it offers crisp and room-filling sounds that should satisfy most of us.

ALSO READ: Samsung Galaxy Buds Review

Amazon Echo Show 2018 review: Smart Hub, Skills and Calling

Another thing that the Echo Show gets from the Echo Plus is Zigbee. The 2nd gen Echo Show has built-in Zigbee hub which allows it to control compatible smart home devices without requiring any external hub. With a simple “Alexa, discover my devices,” command it can find all compatible connected devices which can be set up with ease. Once connected, it lets you manage devices and perform various functions like turning the lights on or off, switching on the TV or AC and more.

Amazon Skills are another important aspect of the Echo Show. There are thousands on offer but I found most of the skills in India store aren’t that useful. Some of the skills that worked perfectly for me includes NDTV news brief, ESPN CircInfo updates, Sanjeev Kapoor Food Food which proved immensely helpful when we tried to cook crips corns at home. Also, with Amazon Skill Blueprint you are allowed to create your own custom skills. 

Amazon Connect is another feature that needs to be mentioned. With the Echo Show 2018, you can call other Amazon Echo devices and Alexa app users directly. The 5MP camera on the front is useful for making video calls.  In my experience, it instantly managed to connect to my colleague Rohit who has Alexa app on his phone. The entire process was handsfree. I just hailed Alexa and asked her to “Call Rohit”. For those new to Echo devices, there is a drop-in feature as well which works as a two-way household intercom.

Amazon Echo Show 2018 review verdict: Should you buy it?

The answer can’t be as straight forward as the question. The idea of a screen on smart speakers is very enticing in theory since this adds another dimension to our interaction with the digital voice assistants, but in practice, we kept running into things that didn’t work as intended. If the idea interests you, the Amazon Echo Show is the only smart display device currently available in India and will surely enjoy first mover advantage. 

The Echo Show 2018 has a lot going in its favor, including fabulous audio output. As always Alexa is obedient and always ready to respond to your commands. The Echo Show responds best with Amazon services be it shopping or watching shows like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Prime Videos it all can be done by just calling out Alexa. Furthermore, a built-in smart home hub adds more value to the Echo Show and means it can be a great new addition for anyone who’s interested in smart homes and is invested in Amazon’s ecosystem. 

On the downside, the lack of support for apps like Netflix and some patchy skills need to be looked at. We are hoping that with more content partnerships down the road, the experience would improve for Indian consumers. 

Pros

  • Colorful display
  • Great Audio output, good bass
  • Alexa always responds
  • Smart home hub

Cons

  • No native YouTube
  • HD resolution screen
  • Tad overpriced 

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here