Amazon has been at the forefront of smart devices since the launch of the original Echo back in 2015. Bringing Alexa to the world, the device quickly demonstrated how a voice assistant can integrate into your home, making it indispensable. Now in 2021, Amazon has done that once again with the Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen), making the smart display a new exciting part of your everyday life.
If you have not been following the news surrounding the Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen), the big show stopping feature is the fact the Echo now moves to follow you. A 10 inch screen is fixed to a round base that can move and follow you as you talk to it. If that were not enough, Amazon, and the Echo team have managed to pack every feature a smart home buyer could hope for from a speaker; and somehow made it all feel wondrous—something I did not expect to say about a smart speaker when entering 2021.
The 10.1 inch, 1280×800 touchscreen comes to life with the new brushless motor system that gives the device a full 360-degree range of movement. This may sound like a gimmick, but during the two weeks of testing, I found the ability to walk around my kitchen as the display tracked my movement, infinitely useful. When cooking, or doing general morning chores, it can be hard to find a line of sight with your device; but the Echo’s ability to swivel made the experience feel more natural. Like it was working around my life, not it forcing me to work around the way Amazon thinks life should function.
Amazon managed to make the entire process feel painless and natural. Once you activate your new smart display, the Echo has a little tutorial and calibration to get everything ready to go. The Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) works well for a kitchen or living room like setting, following the general movement well. It did so quietly and smoothly, with only rare occasions it lost my place in the room. At a distance, it was a little more spotty, but once you are around 5-feet from the screen, the device should have no issues tracking movements as you go about your day.
Using the touchscreen display felt solid and responsive, even with the new system. Beyond a bit more give, and movement while adjusting; the full system feels solid. If I have any gripes with the Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen), it would be the fact it needs space to move. If you have any keys or other items in the path of the display, be prepared to see them knocked over. While this is to be expected, it should be something to keep in mind, since this was not an issue with past offerings.
Not only does it move, it is generally not a small device. The Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) feels like a mix between a Fire Tablet, and the much loved Echo Studio; offering a uniquely Amazon screen experience, with a modern mesh and plastic body. While it does not feel truly modern, I am a fan of the concept, even if it does look like a Point-Of-Sale system at times. It works as a centrepiece, and the unique movement will draw attention to it, once we are able to entertain indoors once again.
Touching back on the display, the 10.1 inch screen feels premium and crisp. It offers good viewing angles and manages to be sharper and brighter than it realistically needs to be. The contrast on offer is adequate, but with the overall vibrant look, it is only a minor gripe.
With such a wealth of sensors, the new ability to rotate, and with the new 13 megapixel front camera, it is no wonder Amazon is pushing the security potential of the Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen). If you dive into the settings and turn on Alexa Guard, this smart display will listen for smoke and carbon monoxide sirens, as well as the sound of glass breaking when it’s set to away mode.
But this being Amazon, there has to be an upsell somewhere, and that comes in the form of Alexa Guard Plus, making the little smart display double as a sentry while you are away from your house. Should you opt in to the $4.99 a month service, the Echo will pan the room periodically and notify you of any disturbances or movement.
Thankfully, even if you don’t want to subscribe to the service, you can log on to the Alexa app anytime to check on the camera, and you can even pan the Echo to get a better look at the room. Amazon also has included all the security features you hope from an intrusive smart screen, giving the option to cover the camera and the mics with a simple switch. The Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) also has the ability to notify you that the camera is active, ensuring you are never caught unexpectedly.
Much like when we looked at the Nest Hub Max; the Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen)feels very much like a command centre for all your smart devices. From smart lights, to speaker systems; it all can be accessed from the screen via touch or your voice. The smart future we have seen in film and television finally feels within our grasp, and the Show is a great device to bring it all together.
Thankfully all the features on offer did not take away from the true nature of the device—that of a smart speaker. I would actually argue this is one of the best speaker systems I have seen on a smart display, with a relatively wide margin. Boasting two, one inch tweeters and a three inch woofer; the Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) can easily fill a room with music, or whatever you wish to listen to.
While I don’t know many that would watch full movies on this little 10.1 inch device; if they did, they would find a great sounding experience. The sound on offer felt rich and full, providing plenty of mid and low ranges. The volume this little display can pump out will put any other display to shame, and the clarity of that sound even at higher volumes was impressive. The bass managed to feel impactful without causing distortion or any noticeable loss in overall fidelity. To put it bluntly, the Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) is the best sounding smart speaker on the market, and it puts even good options like the Nest Home Max to shame.
Beyond being a show-stopping, self-moving smart display; the Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) does pack all the Alexa features we have all come to expect. The display will pan to the direction of your voice, so anything you ask for that needs a visual aid will be shown almost immediately. While it does sound like a gimmick, I found this very useful especially when looking up a recipe or just getting ready for my day—asking about the weather or other little details. It feels like an ideal evolution for the Echo line, and something I am excited to see more of as Amazon builds on the concept.
The Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) is a standout device that demonstrates the evolution of what a smart assistant can do. This feels like the most premiere smart display on the market—offering every feature you could imagine, with that list growing daily as Amazon expands on the core technology. While I have some questions about the longevity of the moving parts, the Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) feels like a must own device for anyone longing for a smart home.