Amazon’s Echo Show 10 is an undoubtedly great smart speaker.
It shows its potential in large rooms with lots of open space, where it can twist and turn to become the perfect smart display for wherever you are. That said, people with smaller homes are likely better off with any other smart display.
Beyond its rotating screen, the Echo Show 10 also packs some interesting camera tech, a solid set of speakers, and a Zigbee smart home hub. Amazon made sure the device’s $ 329 premium price is justified by the technology, but it all depends on whether or not you can use it.
Let’s start with the screen
The central premise behind Show 10 is that its screen can rotate to follow you through a room. This means that every time you ask Alexa a question, the screen must be in front of you so you can see the result. In theory this is great, but in practice it only really works if you have the screen on a kitchen island or in a larger room.
Everywhere I tried the Echo Show 10, it moved so minimally that it wasn’t worth it or took up too much table / counter space. However, I’m sure some people with split rooms could use the rotating screen a lot.
When you configure it, you can also select how much you want it to rotate. For example, if you have the Show 10 in a corner near a lamp, you can manually set how much it spins to make sure it doesn’t bump into things or turn and face the wall like a child in timeout.
I will mention that I live in an apartment, so anyone with a larger house may have a slightly different experience. Still, it’s annoying looking at your smart screen only to see that it’s facing the wrong way as it lost track of you. To remedy this, you have to say “Alexa” again to activate it and look at you. This is a great effort just to check the time or return the recipe so that it is in front of you. It’s even worse when you say “Alexa” and she doesn’t even turn to you.
In terms of quality, the display is a large 10-inch panel with a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. It is colorful and well lit, and I have no problems with it. It’s not as sharp as an iPad Pro, for example, but it’s sharp enough to use as a video display if you want.
There are volume up and down buttons, a mute switch, and a slider to cover the webcam on top.
The Echo Show 10 is attached to a cylindrical base that houses many of its main components and the speakers.
The speakers sound good at high volumes, which is strange since this device asks to be placed in a large room. The sound balance degrades at higher volumes (about half) and tries to compensate for it with too strong bass. It’s still a decent speaker and most people will like the way it sounds, but it’s not as clear as a fourth-gen Echo or a more expensive Sonos smart speaker.
It sounds a lot more balanced below half volume, and I usually hear it at that volume, as it’s still quite loud and it sounds fairly balanced, not perfect, but easy to use.
There is also Bluetooth and an excellent brushless motor that is very quiet. While you may not be a big fan of the spinning look of this machine in practice, the motor design and hardware side are sleek and perform as advertised.
What about the other cool features?
There are many other features included in the Echo Show, but they are not things I use daily, weekly, or even never. They’re a bit more niche, which is something to remember if you’re thinking of getting a smart display. Where do you think you will place and interact with it more than a standard Echo speaker?
I found that a large smart screen in my living room mantle to control smart home devices and a small screen in the kitchen to visually see cooking timers is what I enjoy using these types of products. It’s probably different, but it’s worth thinking about before spending more than $ 300 on a smart display like this one.
That said, having the Echo Show 10, in particular, opens up several useful features. You can video chat with it, and since the device can rotate, it follows you around to make sure it’s always in the frame. On top of that, the 13 megapixel webcam can also pan and zoom like Facebook Portal devices. This is a pretty cool feature, but it really only works in large rooms, like a large kitchen or living room, where the device can really follow you.
When testing this feature, I find myself sitting statically, which works just as well on a smartphone. However, if you do a lot of video calling while cooking, the Echo Show 10 is for you.
The front camera also allows the Echo Show 10 to function as a security camera because it can rotate in a room to give you a wide view of your surroundings, but this only works if you have the Echo in a suitable location.
Would you buy this device just for this functionality? Probably not, but maybe if I owned a pet and wanted to control my dogs or birds or something while I’m at work, I could get something out of it. That being said, there are also other standalone devices that do this.
“Sometimes it’s hard to shoehorn bigger, more expensive tech items like this into your life.”
You can also use it to watch content on Netflix, Prime Video, or some other streaming services, but YouTube isn’t natively supported yet, which is the kind of short-form content I like to have when I’m cooking or cleaning. . You can view things through the YouTube site using the built-in web browser, but it is not highly optimized and quite unstable.
Beyond that, Amazon has a collaboration with SideChef and a few other cooking sites and platforms. On the Echo Show 10, this functionality works well and the layout of these recipes is easy to read. Since the Echo follows you, you can see your next step from anywhere, which is a nice touch.
One swing and one miss
When it comes down to it, the Echo Show 10 is a solid, if not fantastic, smart display. You can view content on it, look at photos, and even learn to cook. It’s also a great video chat experience, a decent speaker, and a place to control all of your smart home products.
That said, you really need to think hard if this is something that will make your life easier. Sometimes it’s hard to shoehorn bigger, more expensive tech items like this into your life. If you do a lot of video calling from your kitchen (and you have a large kitchen), the Echo Show 10 will add a lot to your life. Even someone with a large open space kitchen / living room area will probably enjoy it too. If you need a smart device to set timers and ask for quick information, this is not for you and some cheaper smart displays will likely make you just as happy.
I’m also still a huge fan of Google’s smart displays. For example, Google makes it easy to adjust smart lights with the touch. You can raise or lower the brightness on Amazon’s system, but you can’t change the color temperature, which is annoying. If the swivel base isn’t going to add anything to your life, I recommend a smart display from Google.
I get the most out of my smart screens when I put one on top of my mantle in the living room. Something about not having to bend over to use it makes me want to interact with it that much more. In that sense, keeping the Echo Show 10 on a countertop rather than a side table to something out of its natural ways in your home should help you use it more.
You can buy the Echo Show 10 from Amazon in either of the twoCharcoal ‘or’ Glacier White ‘, for $ 329.