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Amazon Echo Show 10’s swivel display turns to face you as you move, making it unique but sometimes frustrating

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Amazon Echo Show 10The Amazon Echo Show 10 offers a unique rotating screen, but the extra price may not be worth it for everyone.

Amazon

The Echo Show 10 is Amazon’s first smart-home display to include a motor in its base. Along with the device’s computer vision and audio localization technologies, it allows the screen to follow you as you move about your home. 

The Echo Show 10’s screen can now turn to face you while watching TV or viewing recipes, which can be helpful in the kitchen. The device can also keep your face perfectly in frame during video calls. And lastly, it allows you to pan the camera when using the Echo Show 10 as a security camera.

But the technology isn’t perfect. There were a few times during testing when the Echo Show 10’s screen remained fixed in the wrong direction. If you want something more reliable, check out our guide to the best smart displays

What works

  • Swivel screen can be useful 

  • Solid audio quality

  • High-resolution camera for video calls

  • Built-in smart home hub


What needs work

  • Screen doesn’t always face the right direction

  • Motion-based routines can feel random

  • Limited streaming service options

A display that can move is useful but takes getting used to

Amazon Echo Show GIFThe rotating screen of the Amazon Echo Show 10 takes some getting used to.

Lisa Eadicicco/Insider

The Echo Show 10’s tablet-sized display pivots to face you under two circumstances: when you ask it to or say the “wake word” and during an activity like a video call or watching Netflix. In other words, it won’t turn to follow you every time you walk past it. 

Seeing the Echo Show’s screen turn to follow me once Alexa was activated did feel a little “Black Mirror”-like at first, and definitely took some getting used to. Thankfully, the motor inside the device is silent, which helps diminish any potential creepy vibes you might get from using a gadget that automatically swivels to face you. 

I have my Echo Show 10 situated in the kitchen so that I can watch TV while cooking, meal prepping, and washing dishes. During the setup process, you can set the Echo Show 10’s range of motion so that the screen is visible from wherever you are in the room. 

I set mine to pan all the way from the left to the right at about a 180-degree angle so that I can see the screen whether I am standing over the stove or the sink. A slider on the tablet’s screen lets you adjust the device’s rotation range during the setup process, and after quite a bit of fiddling and experimenting, I was able to get it just right.

Overall, the Echo Show 10 is pretty good at following me as I move across the kitchen while cooking on a Sunday afternoon. On a few occasions, though, the Echo Show 10 would follow me in one direction and stay fixed in that position once I moved instead of following me. But this wasn’t significant enough to prompt me to readjust the device’s range of motion.

The device also has some trouble following me when there are multiple people in the room. With two other people standing and talking nearby, I had to call Alexa about two times to get it to recognize my location and follow me appropriately. If you want the screen to stay in its current position, you can also turn the motion off completely either by tapping a button on the Echo Show’s screen or asking Alexa. 

You can program the Echo Show 10 to perform an action when it picks up that a person is nearby, which is known as an occupancy-triggered routine. That means you can make it so that the Echo Show 10 can read the news, play music, recite the weather, or perform another task if a person is detected near the Echo Show. 

I set up a routine in which Alexa would read a piece of good news every time it detected a person nearby. But the routine was seemingly triggered at random moments. Sometimes I’d walk by and nothing would happen, and other times my husband would change his position on the couch without even getting up and the routine would go off. Alexa also read the same news story every single time. 

I also wish it was a bit easier and quicker to set the range of motion when moving the device to different locations. After briefly moving the device to my living room and then bringing it back to the kitchen, I had a hard time replicating the perfect range of motion I had set when initially setting up the device. 

Video calls that keep you in frame

Amazon Echo Show 10The Echo Show 10 can follow you during video calls.

Amazon

In addition to the rotating screen, the Echo Show 10’s 13-megapixel camera can also help keep you in frame during video calls via the Alexa app, Skype, Zoom, and with other Echo Show owners. You can also call up to seven people on a group call on the Echo Show 10. It doesn’t support apps like Google Meet. 

If the person you’re calling has the Alexa app or an Echo Show device, video chatting with the Echo Show 10 is pretty comfortable and useful. I used it for a half-hour call with my sister, whom I’ve been calling on FaceTime nearly every day during the pandemic, and it was nice to be able to sit back on the couch without having to worry about staying in frame. If I happened to shift left or right, the screen would move with me. 

The Echo Show 10 comes with a 10.1-inch 1,280-by-800 resolution display that’s crisp and bright enough for comfortably watching TV or viewing recipes. While the Echo Show is capable of supporting Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, it doesn’t have apps for Disney Plus, Paramount Plus, or HBO Max.

The new Echo Show has a 3-inch woofer and two 1-inch tweeters, resulting in sound quality that’s similar to the standard Echo but slightly better. When comparing it to the fourth-generation Echo, which also has a 3-inch woofer but smaller 0.8-inch tweeters,  the Echo Show sounds slightly deeper and more full. 

Overall, it’s a solid speaker for casually listening to music and watching TV around the house, but it’s no replacement for a dedicated home entertainment speaker. 

A display that doubles as a smart-home hub

Amazon Echo Show 10 2The Amazon Echo Show 10 has a built-in Zigbee hub, which is a nice bonus for smart-home fans.

Lisa Eadicicco/Insider

The new Echo Show 10 comes with improved smart-home functionality. There’s a built-in Zigbee hub for connecting the Echo Show 10 to other smart devices so that you can control them with your voice, just like the fourth-generation Echo

That means you don’t need any external hubs or bridges for connected home products that run on the Zigbee protocol, which includes Philips Hue light bulbs, Schlage deadbolts, and Ecobee thermostats among other products. 

You can view a feed of your Ring video doorbell on the Echo Show 10 or use the new Echo Show as an indoor home security camera so that you can keep an eye on whichever room it’s located in when you’re not present. 

This feature isn’t turned on by default and must be enabled in the Settings menu on the Echo Show. Once it’s set up, all you have to do is open the Alexa app, tap “Devices,” and tap the “Camera” category. From there, you should see your Echo Show 10 listed as an option. You can pan the camera from left to right using your phone’s touch screen.

Getting your Echo Show to work as a home security camera is simple, but it is a little laggy when panning from left to right. And since you can’t move the camera up or down remotely through your phone, it’s difficult to get a good view of my living room via the Alexa app. 

Plenty of privacy options, but you need to go looking for them

The Amazon Echo Show 10 smart display with its camera button turned off and showing orange.The camera button closes a physical shutter for when you want some privacy.

Amazon

The idea of having an electronic device follow you in your home can be a bit unsettling, and thankfully the Echo Show 10 offers a few ways to cut off Alexa’s ability to follow or listen to you. 

You can simply say, “Alexa, turn off motion,” to shut down the device’s motion controls and customize under what conditions the Echo Show 10 should detect motion. Options include leaving motion on during all activities, during some activities, only when you explicitly ask, or turning it off entirely.

All of the processing that occurs when the Echo Show 10 detects your motion also happens on the device itself, and none of the information is sent to the cloud. The technology works by extracting features from the images it sees, such as shape, size, and colors, to detect if a person is nearby. 

The Echo Show 10 also has the same safety features available on other Alexa devices, such as the ability to review privacy settings and delete voice recordings by asking Alexa. There are also buttons for turning off the microphone and camera and a shutter for covering the camera located on the device.

Still, it’s worth remembering that Amazon uses your voice recordings to improve Alexa by default unless you tell it not to, and it also associates requests with your Amazon account to improve results. Apple and Google are a bit tighter with their policies around how they store and use customer data.  

Amazon Echo Show 10 specs at a glance

Spec Amazon Echo Show 10
Dimensions
9.9 (L) x 6.7 (W) x 9 (H) inches
Screen size 10.1 inches (measured diagonally)
Display 1,280×800 LCD touchscreen
Camera 13-megapixel
Audio 3-inch woofer, two 1-inch tweeters
Processor MediaTek 8183 with Amazon’s AZ1 Neural Edge
Connectivity Bluetooth, WiFi (2.4 GHz, 5 GHz)

The bottom line

The Amazon Echo Show 10 sits on a kitchen counter displaying the time as 10:04.Some may prefer the smaller, simpler Amazon Echo Show 8 to the rotating Echo Show 10.

Amazon

The Echo Show 10’s ability to follow you may be worth it for those who spend a lot of time in the kitchen and want a screen they can see from almost any angle in the room. But most people will probably be better off saving some money and opting for the smaller and more affordable $130 Echo Show 8, which is more than $100 cheaper and still offers a screen that’s big enough for watching shows and making video calls. 

Amazon’s Echo Show 10 proves there is value in having a device that can move with you, making the screen visible no matter where you are in the room. But the tech doesn’t always work the way it should, and the convenience it brings when it works properly may not justify the higher price for most people. 

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