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Amazon Echo Show 10 Review: Always a Follower

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Amazon announced its motorized Echo Show 10 back in the fall of 2020 at the company’s hardware event. Starting today, Amazon Canada says the Echo Show 10 smart speaker is now delivering in Canada.

We recently got our hands on the Echo Show 10 from Amazon to check out—so here’s our quick review of this new smart speaker with a brushless motor-powered display, and Amazon’s Alexa assistant.

Unboxing the Echo Show 10

Amazon ships the Echo Show 10 box within another cardboard box and it’s a tight fit. There’s a thing cardboard handle to let you lift the speaker’s retail box out of the shipping box. Once that’s done, you peel away the sticker enclosure and open the lid to find the AC adapter, some paper instructions and the Echo Show 10 itself sitting snugly inside:

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Upon first inspection, the Echo Show 10 almost has an original iMac vibe, with its 10.1-inch display sticking out of a cylindrical body. The design is simple and it can blend easily into your surroundings. Smooth, rounded edges are everywhere. Here’s the view from the back:

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The Echo Show 10 from the side—the display’s viewing angle can be tilted manually up and down:

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On the top of the Echo Show 10, we have a mic mute button, volume buttons and a physical privacy shutter for the 13MP camera:

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The bottom of the Echo Show 10 is where the AC cord is plugged into the centre, allowing the cable to exit the back of the speaker for a cleaner look:

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Here is the manual tilt of the Echo Show 10. It can go from here…

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…to here. This is helpful depending on where you place the speaker down in your home.

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Setting Up the Echo Show 10

It was fairly straightforward to set up the Echo Show 10, but there are some steps involved. You need to connect to your Wi-Fi, login to Amazon (pray you have an easy password to type in), select your language, enter your address, choose a room for the device, name it, pick a wallpaper (it can be from your Amazon Photos) and then install system updates, which took about 7 minutes and a couple of restarts.

Once that was out of the way, the Echo Show 10 was ready to be used.

Echo Show 10 Feels Like Any Other Echo Speaker—but the Moving Display is Trippy

The Echo Show 10 has the same 10.1 HD display as its predecessor, but now it can move and follow you when you’re on a video call, watching a video, or just in the room. The brushless motor silently moves both the speaker and display, pivoting automatically up to 175 degrees. It’s really weird the first time seeing how the screen is following you around.

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You’ll want to place the Echo Show 10 in a spot that will have ample room for it to move around. If it bumps into something, it’ll let you know and the feature can turn off. I had to toggle the camera shutter to re-enable it at times.

With two 1-inch tweeters and a 3-inch woofer located below the screen, audio will always follow you as well. Comparing the sound of the Echo Show 10, it’s not bad at medium volume, but on the max end, it gets distorted. Bass not as good as a Sonos One, Apple HomePod, or Echo Studio. It’s enough for a small room but for a larger living room with vaulted ceiling, you’ll want more power.

The Echo Show 10 costs $329.99 on Amazon.ca, and is the most expensive Echo speaker out there, aside from the Echo Studio.

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Echo Show 10 versus Nest Hub Max

Compared to Google’s Nest Hub Max, we have to give the better audio score to the Echo Show 10. Here’s how the Echo Show 10 (left) looks like next to the Nest Hub Max (right); you’ll notice how much thicker the bezel is on the Echo Show 10:

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The Echo Show 10 also has a built-in Zigbee smart home hub like the second-gen Echo Show to control your compatible smart home devices. The display resolution remains the same, but there’s now WiFi 6 for better connectivity.

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Echo Show 10 also lets you check in on the camera using the Alexa app, similar to Nest camera on the Nest Hub Max. However, the Echo Show 10 can let you look around the room, panning left and right. We couldn’t get the panning to work in our brief test, but we’ll need to revisit this again:

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Conclusion: Cool Tech But is This Something We Need?

At the end of the day, who is the Echo Show 10 for? It’s for those that are committed to the Alexa smart assistant and a family of devices from Amazon. It’s also going to be one hell of a party trick to show off, when we can see humans face-to-face again in our homes.

For myself, since I use Google Photos, the Nest Hub Max ($299 MSRP; on sale for $259) works better as a digital picture frame, versus the Echo Show 10. I also favour Google Assistant over Alexa, plus Google’s Home and Nest apps feel more polished than the Alexa mobile app. But sound-wise, the Echo Studio 10 edges out the Nest Hub Max in our brief tests.

If you like to follow recipes in your kitchen, and need to keep an eye on your cats, the Echo Studio 10’s cool (and kinda creepy) pivoting display may be just the friend you’re looking for during COVID-19. But the speaker can be a hefty investment at the price of $329 CAD. The display following technology is pretty neat and feels like a preview of our AI future; it’ll be interesting to see what’s coming next from Amazon.

Click here to check out the Echo Studio 10 on Amazon—it’s available in Glacier White and Charcoal.

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