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In this article, I compare the Amazon Echo Show 2nd Gen vs 1st Gen, two popular Amazon smart speakers with screens. I include a basic comparison chart, a summary infographic, and a detailed specifications table so you can quickly understand the key differences between the two.
Simply want to know the main differences? Here you go:
The 2nd Generation Echo Show includes a 10.1″ LCD touchscreen, an updated design, a Zigbee smart home hub and premium audio with downward-firing speakers and a passive bass radiator. The 1st Generation Echo Show features a smaller 7″ screen, forward-firing speakers, and no bass radiator or hub.
Want more details? Let’s start with a side-by-side comparison chart.
Amazon Echo Show 2nd Generation Vs 1st Generation – Comparison Chart
So what are the differences between the Echo Show 2nd Gen vs 1st Gen? Here’s a handy comparison table so you can see the main differences at a glance.
Smart Speakers With Screens Are All the Rage
MarketWatch recently said that the global smart display market is expected to grow from USD 143.25 billion to USD 340.85 billion by 2023, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.61%. That is some serious growth!
One man’s opinion?
Amazon is getting smarter too. The launch of the 2nd Generation Echo Show last year just brought the device to a whole new level. And the company continues to innovate with each new product launch and has been paying closer attention to consumer concerns about privacy. For example, the new Echo Show 8 and Echo Show 5 include a camera shutter that you can use to cover the camera on the Show.
7 Reasons the 2nd Gen Show Is Better
Next, I’ll explore seven reasons I think the 2nd Gen Show is WAY better than the first.
Reason 1: Bigger Screen, Way Bigger
The new 10″ screen is 40% bigger than the 7″ inch screen on the First Generation Show. While Amazon has since announced a new 8-inch Echo Show, I still favor the even bigger screen on the 2nd Gen Show.
This gives you more real estate to watch videos, make Skype calls, view guided step-by-step recipes, song lyrics, weather updates, stock scores, and more.
You might even call it vibrant. Amazon does, and I can’t help but agree.
Reason 2: Better Audio, Way Better
The 2nd generation show includes two premium side-firing speakers with Dolby Digital Sound with a passive bass radiator.
A speaker on each side of the new Echo Show fires sideways for a stereophonic effect. These are complemented by the bass radiator in the back on the unit.
This is a way-huge improvement over the very mono and tinny sounding 1st Generation Show with its front-firing speaker.
Also, both the new and old Show contains eight (yes that’s right EIGHT), microphones with “far-field” technology, so Alexa hears you well too.
Carline Dunn does a nice job comparing the sound of both devices side by side:
Reason 3: Better Design & Hardware
One of the biggest complaints about the first-generation Echo Show is that the design leaves a lot to be desired. One review I read said it looks and feels like “an expensive plastic toy.” LOL.
This is no longer the case with the new Show. With its solid-state design and fabric accents, the new Show is pretty snazzy looking. It is larger, heavier, and just feels more solid too.
I have a strong preference for the black one. But then again, pretty much everything I buy is black. LOL.
Craig from Craig’s Tech Talk does a nice job evaluating the Echo Show’s design in his well-balanced review here:
Reason 4: Built-in Smart Home Hub
Alexa can already control thousands of compatible smart home devices like security cameras, thermostats, lights, blinds, outlets and plugs, microwave ovens, and so many more.
Some of those devices require an additional “hub” in order for Alexa to talk to them. With the Zigbee smart home hub now built into the Show, some of these extra requirements can now be eliminated, including the ability to control super-popular Philips Hue smart lighting and bulbs. It looks like Amazon’s engineers plan to eventually eliminate the middleman completely so Alexa can talk directly to everything.
You can already easily set up and control many Alexa-compatible smart home devices without the need for a separate hub. However, the Zigbee Hub gives you the capability to control smart bulbs, lighting strips, smart plugs, and more without the need for additional hardware (or hub power source).
Reason 5: Mad Alexa Skills
In addition to Amazon’s design team working hard to upgrade the Show’s design, Amazon’s Alexa software developers have been busy too.
The 2nd Generation Show includes a number of noteworthy software and feature updates including:
And of course, all of your favorites are still available too. The Echo Show is great for:
Reason 6: Video Calling and Drop In
According to Microsoft, Skype calling with Alexa is now available in the US, the UK, Canada, India, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico and Spain.
While you are able to make Skype call on the 1st Gen Echo Show, the calls are just more enjoyable on the larger and more vibrant 10inch HD screen.
Skype calls on the Echo Show are super simple, you just say things like:
“Alexa, pick up my Skype call.”
“Alexa, Skype Dad.”
“Alexa, call 206-555-1212 on Skype.”
Another great feature is drop-in calling. If you have multiple Echo Show devices, you can use drop-in as a pretty Amazon video intercom system. For example, you drop-in on your kiddo’s bedroom to tell them its time to put the video games away and get their homework done.
Reason 7: Makes a Great Baby or Home Security Monitor
A question I get asked a lot is whether it is possible to use Echo Show as a baby monitor. The answer is absolutely yes! You can also use it as a pet cam, nanny cam, front door cam and the like just so long as you pair it with a compatible video camera.
I recently published a post on how to use Echo Show as a Baby Monitor here, and five great video cameras that are compatible with the Echo Show here.
Then you can just say things like:
“Alexa, show me the baby’s room.”
“Alexa, who’s the front door.”
“Alexa, show me the playroom.”
While this will all work with either version of the Show, the overall experience on the 2nd Gen Show is just better.
Show 2nd Gen vs 1st Gen: Comparison Infographic
Here’s a shareable infographic that summaries the top five ways Echo Show 2nd Generation is better than the 1st Gen Echo Show.
Feel free to download and use this infographic in your site [just please include a link back to this page].
Video Comparison and Amazon’s Echo Show Ad Spot
While there have been a ton of YouTube reviews comparing the two devices, Room and Goods does a super thorough job in my opinion.
And here is Amazon’s Video Intro of 2nd Generation Echo Show:
Echo Show 2nd Gen vs 1st Gen: Full Specs Comparison
For those of you who are more technically inclined, I also put together the following detailed specifications table.
💡 Tip: You can use the Search field to filter the table by a specific feature. For example, selecting “camera” will limit the table to those rows with the word camera in them. Try it – it’s fun! 🙂
|Echo Show 2nd Gen||Echo Show 1st Gen|
|LCD Touchscreen Size||10.1 inches (256.54mm)||7 inches (177.8mm)|
|Design||Solid state plastic with fabric wrapper and rubber non-slip bottom||Plastic|
|Color Choices||Charcoal, Sandstone||Black, White|
|High Definition [HD] Screen||Yes||Yes|
|Audio||Premium Sound||Standard Sound|
|Supports All Alexa Audio and Video Skills||Yes||Yes|
|Plays Music, Videos, Movies, and More||Yes||Yes|
|Displays Video Camera Feed [Compatible devices]||Yes||Yes|
|Built-in Zigbee hub for smart home connectivity [control Zigbee smart lighting, security cameras, outlets, thermostats, locks, and more without a hub]||Yes||No|
|Picture Frame Mode||Yes||Yes|
|Buttons||Volume Up/Down, Mics/Camera on and off||Volume Up/Down, Mics/Camera On/Off|
|Front Facing Camera||5 Megapixel [MP]||5 Megapixel [MP]|
|Speakers||Dual 2” sterio speakers, plus 3.5 mm stereo audio output for use with external speakers (audio cable not included)||Dual 2” stereo speakers.|
|Number of Microphones for Listening||8||8|
|Passive Bass Radiator||Yes||No|
|Wi-Fi Connectivity||Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi (MIMO) for faster streaming and fewer dropped connections than standard Wi-Fi. Supports 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi networks*||Dual-band Wi-Fi supports 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 and 5 GHz) networks.*|
|Bluetooth Connectivity||Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) support - stream from your mobile device to Echo Show or from Echo Show to your Bluetooth speaker.||Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) support - stream from your mobile device to Echo Show or from Echo Show to your Bluetooth speaker.|
|Accessibility||Captioning, closed captioning, screen magnification, color inversion, color corrections, VoiceView screen reader||Captioning, closed captioning, screen magnification, color inversion, color corrections, VoiceView screen reader|
|Setup||Amazon Wi-Fi simple setup||Amazon Wi-Fi simple setup|
|Dimensions||9.7” x 6.9” x 4.2” (246 mm x 174 mm x 107 mm)||7.4” x 7.4” x 3.5” 187 mm x 187 mm x 90 mm)|
|Weight||62.2 oz. (1765 grams)||41.0 oz. (1170 grams)|
|Warranty||1 Year Limited Warranty [with options to extend]||1 Year Limited Warranty [with options to extend]|
|What’s In the Box||Echo Show, power adapter (30W) /cable (6 ft.), and quick start guide.||Echo Show, power adapter/cable (6 ft.), Things to Try card, and quick start guide|
My Pick: The All-New 2nd-Generation Echo Show
Put simply, the 2nd-Gen Show is just a better all-around product than it’s predecessor.
On A Budget: Check Out the New Echo Show 8
With the launch of the new Echo Show 8, I can no longer in good faith recommend the Echo Show 1st Generation, even as a budget option. I suggest you check out the new Echo Show 8 instead.
Echo Show 2nd Gen vs 1st Gen – Your Turn
I hope you found my Amazon Echo Show 2nd Gen vs 1st Gen review & comparison guide helpful.
Do you plan on buying the 1st or 2nd Generation Show? Or how about the newer Show 5 or 8 models? Do you like the bigger screen and improved design of the new Shows? How about the premium audio upgrades? Is the Zigbee Hub a concern? Which is your favorite and why?
Please leave a comment below, and let me know.
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- Echo Studio vs Echo Plus: Which Premium Alexa Speaker Is Better?
- Show 5 vs Echo Show 2nd Gen
- Amazon Echo Show Stands: 11 Best Stands to Elevate & Swivel Alexa in 2019
About the Author
Tim Brennan, Technical Writer & Blogger
Tim Brennan [a.k.a. "Tec Timmy"] is a senior technical writer with over 20 years of experience writing for companies and organizations in and around Greater Boston, including GE and MIT. In addition to actively writing for this smart home blog, Tim is also a regular contributor over at UniversalRemoteReviews.com. Tim holds a BA in Journalism from Northeastern University. Brennan is a father to two sons, an active blogger, a Star Wars nut, and loves a good taco🌮. There is a strong chance he is developing a crush on Amazon Alexa. You can learn more about Tim here.