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Echo Show 8
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Tech tips

Ask a tech expert: Can you help me choose an Echo device?

I want to get an Amazon Echo Show, but can’t decide between the 8 or 10 or which version. Can you provide your recommendation?

— Rodney in Nevada

Here’s how I like to use mine:

  • Video calls on the fly: Forget typing a text or making a regular call. The Echo Show lets you video chat with friends and family by asking Alexa. It’s face-to-face catch-ups made easy! 
  • Kitchen sous chef: Want to whip up something tasty but need a little guidance? The Echo Show can display step-by-step recipes or even play cooking videos. Now you’ve got a sous chef that won’t talk back.
  • Smart home control center: Lightbulbs, thermostats, doorbells — you name it. If it’s a smart home device, you can likely control it through your Echo Show. Just swipe or ask Alexa, and you’re the master of your home tech universe. OK, that was a stretch, but it sounds good in theory.

Now, which one to get?

Both are totally solid, but I would go with the Echo Show 10. It’s bigger, faster and newer, and just about every spec is upgraded. The Echo Show 8 is certainly more affordable, but this is something you want to buy once and forget about for a few years. This model is already over two years old.

A nice in-between budget-wise is a certified refurbished version of the 10. You can return it if there are any issues, but it’s really in Amazon’s best interest to make sure anything refurbished is tested and ready to go. You can get the Echo Show 10 for around $145 this way.

No unexpected Drop Ins

Now that you have the perfect Echo Show let’s do a little cleanup when it comes to privacy.

Drop In connects you to another Echo speaker or display for an instant conversation. “Alexa, drop in on the kitchen Echo Show.” You can announce things through all your Echo devices at once, too. For example, to get the family to come for dinner, the command is “Alexa, drop in on all devices.”

But remember, the Echo speaker or display goes both ways. It lets someone immediately listen in or watch what’s happening in the room after 10 seconds. With the Echo Show, you don’t necessarily want someone with the ability to pop in and see what you’re up to all the time.

You can set permissions to enable or disable a specific device. Here’s how:

  • Open the Alexa app, then tap Devices.
  • Select Echo & Alexa, and then select your device.
  • Tap the Settings gear in the upper right > Communications.
  • Select Drop In, then select which permissions to enable or disable.
  • Choose On to allow Drop In with permitted contacts only or My Household to Drop In only on devices on your account, or Off, which means nobody can Drop In.

For an easier solution, you can leave Drop In enabled for your Echo Show but keep the camera shutter closed when you’re not using it. That way, if someone tries to Drop In, the camera won’t be available for them to see you live.

❓ Have a question for me? Drop it right here, or leave me a voicemail at 602‑381‑8200 ext. 290.

We may receive a commission when you buy through our links, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

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