The best Amazon Echo smart displays for 2022

A user-friendly smart display can come in handy in various parts of your home, whether it’s the kitchen, bedroom, or home office. Sometimes, you don’t want to struggle through multiple devices, apps, and wireless connections just to control your various smart home devices. Amazon’s Echo Show smart displays bring together smart home controls, news, your ring cameras, and, of course, your music and cooking videos. Some Echo Shows are significantly more powerful, while others are more compact and discreet. Whichever one you need, we’re here to steer you to the best Echo Show for you and your home.

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The Echo Show 10 is more than just a standalone, voice-activated smart home controller. It’s fitted to a motorized base that can rotate 350 degrees and uses an advanced algorithm with the integrated camera to detect who’s watching and follow them around the room. This is especially if, for example, you’re crafting a complicated useful meal that you’ve never made before and want to make sure you can see the recipe or video tutorial no matter where you are in the kitchen.

Since there’s plenty of space for enhanced speakers inside the round base, the Echo Show 10 delivers the best sound quality of Amazon’s smart displays. Its bass output leaves a bit to be desired with some music genres, but overall it sounds surprisingly good despite the moderate size. There’s a host of preloaded apps and more available through Amazon, including the security-conscious Firefox browser, and most apps dovetail perfectly with Alexa voice control. The built-in Zigbee hub also allows it to act as a smart home linchpin. The main drawback of the Echo Show 10 is that it’s quite pricey compared to its smaller relatives. But if you want something that’s both novel and useful on an everyday basis, it’s a great choice.

Specifications

  • Display: 10.1-inch touchscreen at 1280 x 800
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth and Wi-Fi 6
  • Sound: 3-inch subwoofer, two 1-inch tweeters, 30W total
  • Colors: Charcoal or white
  • List price: $250
Pro

  • Crisp and bright screen
  • Good volume and sound quality
  • Advanced motorized tracking
  • Integrated Zigbee smart home hub

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Since Amazon’s first-generation 8-inch smart display was so popular and reliable, the improvements to the second generation are subtle. An upgraded MediaTek processor and advanced motion-sensing camera make for a smoother experience in terms of touchscreen performance and video calling. In fact, video calling is where the 2nd-gen Echo Show 8 really shines, due also to its overall improved camera and auto-framing algorithm that keeps your face centered during chats. The screen is just large enough to see from across the room, and it’s aided by automatic color and white balance adjustment that’s based on ambient lighting conditions.

While the speakers don’t get incredibly loud, they’re passable for casually watching videos or taking in today’s news. Overall, the Echo Show 8 is a very well-balanced device that doesn’t cost a fortune and can streamline most smart homes. In fact, the only real downsides to the Show 8 have more to do with Amazon’s software than the device itself. Certain popular apps, such as YouTube, still refuse to implement voice control, and Amazon’s user interface isn’t particularly friendly to navigation without voice control.

Specifications

  • Display: 8-inch touchscreen at 1280 x 800
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth and Wi-Fi 5
  • Sound: 2-inch stereo speakers, 20W total
  • Colors: Charcoal or white
  • List price: $130
Pro

  • Compact design
  • Increased performance
  • Greatly enhanced camera
  • Reasonable price
Cons

  • Some minor video calling bugs

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If you want access to news, weather, and all your connected smart devices as soon as you wake up, consider putting an Echo Show 5 on your nightstand. It’s essentially a smart alarm clock that delivers the versatility and power of Alexa voice control in a form factor small enough to fit anywhere. Keep in mind that its size means it is pretty limited — for example, you won’t have much success using it to watch movies or video tutorials.

It’s great at what it’s meant to do, though, and relatively little considering its wide range of advanced functions. That said, it’s not perfect, and it’s set back by issues like slightly limited alarm settings and a brightness level that’s often too high in a dark room. Overall, though, it’s a convenient way to add smart home control to your bedroom.

Specifications

  • Display: 5.5-inch touchscreen at 960 x 480
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth and Wi-Fi 5
  • Sound: 1.6-inch full-range speaker, 4W
  • Colors: Charcoal, white, or deep blue
  • List price: $85
Pro

  • Makes a great smart alarm clock
  • High resolution for the size
  • Doesn’t cost much
Cons

  • Too small for many everyday tasks

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The Echo Show 15 is Amazon’s newest and largest smart display, and despite looking like any old digital photo frame, it has a wide range of uses. Its camera can automatically detect who’s standing in front of it and load their personal schedule, chores, shopping list, and other useful information. Its 15.6-inch, 1080p screen is crisper, brighter, and can easily be seen from a distance. To get the most out of the extra real estate, Amazon has implemented a handy supply of widgets that provide the most important information such as weather and top news stories. Plus, it boasts an attractive overall design and makes a perfect digital picture frame when you’re not actively using it.

Yes, it’s a bit large to just set on the counter, though there is an optional desktop stand. Instead, you’ll want to hang it on the wall, but the speakers aren’t that loud when it’s mounted. Finally, it’s pretty expensive for a smart display, so make sure it has what you need before you make the investment.

Specifications

  • Display: 1920 x 1080 touchscreen
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth and Wi-Fi 6
  • Sound: 1.6-inch stereo speakers, 8W total
  • Colors: Black with white bezel
  • List price: $250
Pro

  • Extremely versatile
  • Large, high-resolution display
  • Visual face ID
Cons

  • Mediocre sound quality
  • Costs quite a bit

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Tech-savvy youngsters will appreciate the wide range of fun and educational opportunities the Amazon Echo Show 5 Kids provides. It lets them watch their favorite videos and experience a wide variety of kid-friendly apps. Whether they’re just having fun or need help with their homework, interacting with Alexa visually offers a much more engaging experience than her just being a voice on a speaker.

The Echo Show 5 Kids also comes with one year of Amazon Kids+, a curated subscription of family-friendly content, from apps and Alexa Skills to music, radio, and videos. You can use it on more than just the Echo Show 5 Kids, as it has apps for Android and iOS phones and tablets. A year of Kids+ for the family is $70, so even when the Echo Show 5 Kids isn’t on sale — and it almost perpetually is — this bundle saves you at least $60

Specifications

  • Display: 5.5-inch touchscreen at 960 x 480
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth and Wi-Fi 5
  • Sound: 1.6-inch full-range speaker, 4W
  • Colors: Chameleon
  • List price: $95
Pro

  • Effective parental controls
  • Durable and affordable
  • Two-year worry-free warranty
Cons

  • Battery power would be nice

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A direct competitor to Amazon’s Echo Show family, the Facebook Portal makes it easy to tap into social media with a few quick voice commands. It provides easy access to chat platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger and can display Facebook photos straight from your account. The Portal’s most worthwhile feature, though, is definitely its video calling capabilities. The interface is quick and responsive and the camera does an excellent job of adjusting focus, white balance, color, and brightness to match the conditions you’re calling from. It even has an auto-framing function that digitally keeps you in the center of the frame, so whomever you’re calling can see your beautiful face clearly.

Aside from video calling, the Portal, unfortunately, falls somewhat short of the Amazon Echo 8 and 10 in most categories. That’s not to say it doesn’t perform well for things like pulling up calendars and to-do lists, but it just doesn’t offer the same in-depth functions such as smart home control. One big thing it’s got going for it, however, is the price; It’s considerably more affordable than Amazon’s 10-inch model.

Specifications

  • Display: 10.1 inches at 1200 x 800
  • Sound: 2.1 stereo speakers with woofer, 10W total
  • Colors: Black or white
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth and Wi-Fi 5
  • List price: $179
Pro

  • Excellent video call quality
  • Makes sharing easy on social media
  • Works great as a digital picture frame
  • Costs relatively little
Cons

  • Limited smart home controls

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Most people find the Echo Show 8 to be the most versatile for everyday use. It’s large enough to see easily even from across the room and sports the performance needed for a frustration-free experience. It’s also not terribly expensive. That said, if you’re willing to make a significantly larger investment, the Echo Show 10 boasts a significantly bigger speaker and a rotating monitor that can follow you around the room while you’re on a video call with the grandparents. The Echo Show 10 is essentially three devices in one: a quality smart speaker, a miniature TV, and a smart camera that you and rotate remotely to see if the dogs have wrecked the couch cushions again.

The Echo Show 5 and 15 are slightly less versatile but still very useful in the right settings. The Echo Show 5 is less of a smart display and more of a smart alarm clock that gives you access to a reasonable amount of smart home controls from the moment you wake. For example, if you know you want coffee as soon as you wake up, but you don’t know what time that will be and don’t want to get up and make it yourself (and, really, who does?), you can give the Echo Show 5 a voice command for your smart coffee maker to start brewing. The Echo Show 15 is a bit of a different beast, as it’s a family photo frame that doubles as a family planner and smart home control panel, but it doesn’t take up any counter space and you can mount it up high away from small children that just love to put their sticky mitts on everything.


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