New motorized smart screen tracks your movements to face you for media and video calls
Amazon’s latest top-of-the-line Alexa smart display has a trick up its sleeve like no other: it can follow you around a room.
The third generation of Echo Show 10 costs £ 239.99 and is Amazon’s largest smart display, above the smallest £ 100 Echo Show 8 with an 8 inch screen and £ 80 Echo Show 5 with a 5.5 inch screen.
It looks very different to its predecessors, like one of Amazon’s Fire tablets mounted on a rotating Echo speaker, but fundamentally it is like other smart monitors with wi-fi connection powered by Alexa.
The 10.1-inch screen is bright, beautiful and sharp enough for viewing at arm’s length or more. It acts as a digital photo frame, displays timers and alarms, reports the weather, news and what’s on your calendar, controls smart home devices and plays music and videos from services like Prime Video and Netflix or YouTube via built-in web browser.
But its differential is the screen’s ability to rotate 350 degrees around its motorized base. He uses his 13-megapixel camera to track people’s shapes using integrated AI, not face recognition, and then rotates so that the screen is always facing you. This may seem scary, but once you see it and interact with it, you realize that this is a step towards the future of science fiction, where technology comes to you instead of you going to it.
When inactive, it remains stationary. By default, it will follow you as you move around the room when interacting with it in any capacity, but you can also switch to do so only when making video calls, watching videos, reading recipes or other media, or just by request saying: “Alexa, follow me.”
The benefits are obvious. When you’re making a video call, the Show can keep you in the frame as you walk, slowly zooming in and out of you and others in the frame, similar to other high-end video screens and the Google Nest Hub Max
You can also control and view the camera remotely as a security camera, by rotating the screen on command.
If you close the camera shutter or mute the microphones, the movement is turned off or you can tell Alexa to stop following you or press a button in the quick settings.
Alexa, I’m here
You can change the rotation interval and where it returns to when idle. A kitchen island, if you have one, looks like the natural home of the Echo Show. I didn’t, so I leaned him against a wall on the kitchen work surface.
It is very slippery during the day, but things start to take off at night, when the light levels drop. I found that the lights under my kitchen counter weren’t bright enough for the Echo Show, and I needed to turn on my rarely used main spotlights. He used to notify me on the screen that the movement was disabled because of the “dim light” at night and sometimes went into his sleeping state at night, displaying a clock on a black screen.
The rival Nest Hub Max’s camera has no problem performing its facial recognition magic in the same low-light conditions.
Echo Show’s two 1-inch tweeters and single 3-inch woofer are contained in its fabric-covered central hub and rotate with the screen. It looks similar to the third generation Echo. It can be a little noisy at times, requiring an equalizer adjustment in the Alexa app to correct and, despite the stereo speakers, there is no real separation between the left and right channels.
It doesn’t sound as fantastic as the latest fourth-generation Echo, but it compares to most competitive monitors.
Echo Show 10 is generally repairable. It contains 100% post-consumer recycled fabric and aluminum, plus at least 30% recycled plastic resin. Amazon has also pledged to offset the electricity used by Echo devices with renewable energy. The company offers exchange and recycling schemes.
Alexa and Skype are available in the UK for video calls, but Zoom is only available in the USA.
The screen will stop if you hit something and wobble a bit when you are typing using the on-screen keyboard.
The screen used to point slightly to the left of my body, but it didn’t happen that much with other people in my house.
He had setup and display problems with background images from my Amazon Photos library, which the company said was related to a setup issue with my particular account, but I was unable to fix it in the review period.
The third generation of the Echo Show 10 costs £ 239.99 and is available in black or white.
For comparison, Echo Show 5 costs £ 79.99, Echo Show 8 costs £ 99.99 and Echo costs £ 79.99, while Google’s Nest Hub Max costs £ 219 and Nest Hub costs £ 89 , 99.
The third generation Echo Show 10 is the most innovative smart display to date and shows that adding a little bit of movement has enormous potential to change the way smart devices fit into our homes and lives. But in its first attempt, Amazon has only partially fulfilled that promise.
With good lighting, everything works very well. It is new, fun and proves useful, especially when placed somewhere with freedom of rotation. Having a camera that can not only pan and zoom, but also rotate makes video calls significantly more natural. But you can forget to use the tracking features at lower light levels at night, which is a real shame.
Remove the rotation and the smart display will work just like its excellent static predecessor, so if you’re just going to put it in a corner or place where rotation is restricted, Echo Show 8 is a better buy for less than half the cost, unless you need a bigger screen.
Pros: Alexa, good screen, new motorized display, automatic pan and zoom for a good video call, good sound, Netflix, security camera function, attractive design contains recycled materials.
Cons: expensive, the camera does not support lower light levels, speakers not as good as the standard Echo, no Zoom in the UK yet, video and music services are limited to a handful of big ones.