The Amazon Echo Show 10 is not just Amazon’s best smart display but also the most innovative, complex, and best-sounding smart home hub ever. The brushless motor that rotates its 10.1-inch HD display around a 350-degree arc practically silently is the first thing that will catch your eye when you pull it out of the box, but there will be plenty more to get excited about once you start using it to its full potential.
The Echo Show 10 spins its display around its base based on feedback from its integrated 13-megapixel camera and far-field microphones, ensuring that it is constantly facing you. Whether you follow a recipe, make a video call, or watch a Netflix movie, this is a great tool.
The display is mounted in a new, rather large barrel speaker base, and the third-generation Echo Show 10 looks more imposing than its predecessor. It can follow you about — not from room to room, luckily, but as you engage with it, the screen flips to direct its face at you.
The Echo Show 10 should be placed at least 15.5cm away from the wall. Of course, this does not rule out the possibility of putting it in a corner or on a shelf, but doing so would significantly restrict its movement and some of its most important features.
The screen is connected to a lever on the top of the main body, so you can tilt it manually, although you still cannot nod correctly when you speak. The bottom edge of the screen is 6 cm higher than the surface to be installed, and the top edge of the screen can be up to 24 cm, depending on the slope.
The main body of Show 10 is completely free of buttons and is covered in a fabric produced entirely of recyclable materials. A mic on/off button, volume settings, three little mics (one forward-facing, two on each side of the mute button), and a basic camera cover slider that not only hides the camera but also inhibits movement are all located across the top of the screen.
These buttons work fine, but they aren’t clearly labeled and thus end up frequently turning the mic off when attempting to lower the volume. Of course, this isn’t a huge deal: if you accidentally muted your music, you’ll see an orange bar at the bottom of the screen, and you can always say “Alexa, turn the volume down” to change the volume of your music hands-free.
While you can change the brightness of the screen on-screen by swiping down from the top of the touchscreen, you can’t do the same with the volume.
On a strong driver-packed plinth, the Echo Show 10 feels like a large, moving smart tablet. That isn’t always a bad thing. The capacity to track you around is the main feature here.
When there’s another person in the room, the Show 10 can get a bit confused, but the accuracy is nearly uncannily good for the most part. It doesn’t always follow you; after a few moments of inactivity, it returns to a central point and waits patiently for you to engage with it again.
You can even program the screen to silently display the latest football scores, weather forecasts, or headlines, which we found to be far less obtrusive and far more useful than we expected during our testing.
Netflix and Amazon Prime apps are effectively integrated when streaming TV content on Show 10, but there are a few holes in the video offering, including Disney Plus and YouTube. You can tell Alexa to look for YouTube videos. You can even program the screen to silently display the latest football scores, weather forecasts, or headlines, which we found to be far less obtrusive and far more useful than we expected during our testing.
The camera has been upgraded from 5MP to 13MP, and this is where one of the most significant improvements can be found. You can ‘drop in’ visually from the Alexa app on your smartphone by selecting ‘communicate’ and tapping on the Show 10 symbol — and no one on the other end needs to answer. You can, however, go much further. On the Alexa app and the Show 10, tap ‘All devices,’ then ‘camera,’ to get a live view of your house. Swipe your smartphone left or right to manually move the Show 10 around your room in real-time.
You now have a surveillance camera that zooms in and out depending on how close a moving object is to the screen, allowing you to check if the family silver has been stolen, see if a package has come, or simply spy on the cat. It’s an interesting feature.
It’s also a complete home hub, as you’d expect from Amazon’s flagship smart device. It can be used to set up and control Zigbee smart home devices such as lights, doorbells, and thermostats.
Echo Show 10 can be used as a Bluetooth speaker without using WiFi or streaming media. Connect your iPhone and play with a lot of passion and weight across the frequencies, even if it feels a little squeezed.
If you don’t like a bass-heavy presentation, the Alexa app allows you to adjust the Show 10’s bass, midrange, and treble EQ settings. The Echo Show 10 isn’t being marketed as a sound device because the screen partially obscures the drivers, but it’s also not a particularly detailed or expansive listen for its price range. It has a lot of power, but the little over-emphasized bottom muddies the clarity of the voices and the expressive texture of the musical instruments.
But, while we’re naturally focusing on the Echo Show 10’s visual and sound quality for this review, focusing solely on these aspects does the gadget a disservice – it’s about so much more.
The perfect location for the Echo Show 10 is on a kitchen counter, where it can cheerfully swing around displaying the new recipe you’re trying out, playing a podcast to keep you company, and possibly offering a second screen to keep you up to date on the football.
Alexa works smoothly, the sound quality is decent enough for a kitchen dance with your oven gloves on, and while it lacks auditory brilliance, that isn’t its raison d’être. In the end, you’d buy this device for the added convenience and utility that a screen provides.
The Show 10 is practical, instructive, and simple to operate, and it will quickly become a valuable and dependable addition to any household. We weren’t expecting to like it as much as we do. It won’t be your new sound system – at this price, we’d expect more in terms of quality – but it is an excellent smart device.
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