Amazon Echo Show 10 review: the T3 Awards 2021 winner for Best Smart Speaker

The Amazon Echo Show 10 adds some new tricks to an already impressive smart display

T3 Platinum Award
Amazon Echo Show 10 review
(Image credit: Amazon)
T3 Verdict

The Amazon Echo Show 10 sets a new high bar for Echo devices, with a fantastic screen, intelligent motion controls, and an ever-improving Alexa on board. It comes with a few caveats, but this is clearly one of the most advanced smart displays on the market.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    It follows you around

  • +

    Alexa keeps getting better

  • +

    Excellent sound quality

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Very Amazon-centric

  • -

    Design is a little awkward

  • -

    Needs more video apps

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The Amazon Echo Show 10 is another major upgrade for the Echo that first burst on to the scene in 2014. The smart speaker got a 7-inch display with the Echo Show in 2017 – and now with the latest model we have a 10.1-inch display that rotates to follow you as you move around the room, so you can always see it clearly.

This new Echo Show 10 smart display is available alongside the still-on-sale Echo Show 5 and Echo Show 8 – both with non-moving screens – but this is the one to go for if you're keen to get the full-fat, fully featured, full-on Amazon Echo experience for your home.

You get the biggest screen in the Echo range, the best audio (the Echo Studio apart), and that motion capability that actually turns out to be less gimmicky than you might think. 

It all means that the Echo Show 10 is the best smart speaker overall, as well as the best Alexa speaker when it comes to features. It's so good that it won Best Smart Speaker in the T3 Awards 2021, so let's dig into everything you need to know about the device.

Amazon Echo Show 10 review: Price

Amazon Echo Show 10 review

(Image credit: Amazon)

The all-new 3rd-gen Amazon Echo Show 10 is out now and available direct from Amazon for £239.99 / $249.99. That compares with £119.99 / $129.99 for the Echo Show 8 and £79.99 / $89.99 for the Echo Show 5.

Obviously, it's a big, big price increase over the other models, but when you consider the bigger screen, motorised design and powerful speakers, it feels like a fair increase. We don't know if the Echo Show 10 will receive the usual big discounts that most Echo devices receive, but you'll find the current lowest prices below.

Amazon Echo Show 10 review: Design and setup

Amazon Echo Show 10 review: rear view

(Image credit: Amazon)

The 3rd-gen Echo Show 10 can be yours in either black or white – or as Amazon has it, charcoal or glacier white. Both look suitably smart and classy, and you can pick whichever fits in with your home decor best. The colouring extends all around the device in this case, from the fabric that covers the main speaker unit to the bezels that surround the 10.1-inch display that dominates the Echo Show 10.

This is a piece of hardware that looks very much like what it is: a screen stuck on the side of a speaker. The device feels solid, and well built, and is obviously constructed from some premium materials, but we can't help feeling that the design is a little bit ungainly and awkward. Exactly how we'd improve it we're not quite sure, but we suspect that if there's a 4th generation of the Echo Show 10, it'll look a bit more aesthetically appealing than this 3rd generation model.

It's by no means an ugly-looking smart display though. The screen itself is bright, clear and sharp, and can be tilted up and down as well as being able to swivel (speaker and all) on its base. The power port is around the back of the speaker unit, while on the top of the display you've got two volume control buttons and a button for muting the microphone so you know Alexa is no longer listening. There's also a physical shutter slider for the forward-facing camera used for video calls.

As on previous models, you've got a choice of screensavers to pick from that show when you're not actively using the device. You can put your own photos up on the screen or have Amazon throw up a curated selection for you, and as well as having the display brightness automatically adjust to match the ambient lighting levels, you can have the colour temperature automatically change too – so you're not dazzled late at night.

Setup is as easy as you would expect, considering how long Amazon has been making Echo devices: you can log in right on the device itself, thanks to the touchscreen, and other options can be configured through the Alexa app for Android or iOS. Once you're signed in and Amazon knows who you are, the Echo Show 10 will start showing content related to your interests (calendars, recent playlists and so on).

Amazon Echo Show 10: Features and Alexa

The headline feature on the Echo Show 10 is that rotation, which syncs the movement of screen and speaker together: it can follow you around during video calls or while you're watching videos, it'll turn to face you when you start saying a voice command, and it'll direct music straight in your direction if it senses you moving around. The device is fitted with a brushless motor, so all that movement is perfectly silent.

Some people might find this new feature creepy, but we really appreciated it – having the screen turn towards you when you're speaking to it is better than having to crane your neck or shift your position. Amazon has put some rather smart algorithms into the Echo Show 10 software to make sure it moves when you need it to, and if you don't like the feature, you can turn it off. You can also set it to only move for a selected number of activities, like video calling and video watching.

Through the software on board the Echo Show 10, you're able to configure how wide the range of motion can be, and which way the display should point when it's not doing anything. It feels like the new feature has been well thought through, and it comes across as very well implemented – we'd even say it's a good enough reason on its own to upgrade from the previous Echo Show 10 model.

By now you probably know all about Alexa, so we won't waste time with a full in-depth guide here. Amazon's smart digital assistant can now answer just about any question you can think of, covering everything from weather reports to sports scores to reminders about your daily to do list. The display makes this a substantial upgrade over the audio-only Echo speakers, not just for video apps but for getting information like recipes and schedules on screen, and for giving visual feedback to your questions and commands.

Don't forget the host of smart home devices that work with Alexa these days either, which means you can control your connected gadgets with voice commands or taps on the screen of the Echo Show 10. The smart display includes an integrated Zigbee hub, so you may not need a separate hub for Zigbee-compatible gear (such as Philips Hue bulbs or Samsung SmartThings devices), and it can also double up as a security camera – letting you view what's happening through the 13-megapixel forward-facing camera via the Alexa app when you're away from home.

Amazon Echo Show 10 review: Audio and video

The dual front-firing tweeters and woofer built into the Amazon Echo Show 10 can produce sound of an impressive quality at an impressive level of volume. This audio fidelity might be another reason that you consider spending the extra money to get this rather than the compact Echo Dot, and to our ears the sound is more or less on a par with the standard Amazon Echo (4th gen) speaker.

You definitely get audio that's crisp and clear enough to fill a room easily, and it's perfect for listening to tunes while cooking or working, for example. Supported services include Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music and of course Amazon Music, and you can also listen to podcasts through Apple Podcasts and audiobooks through Audible.

On the video side, the 10.1-inch display is fine for a bit of video watching. Amazon Prime Video and Netflix are the big names here, and you can get at YouTube too – though it only opens up in a web browser, which is a shame. You can't get services like Disney+, Plex or Apple TV+ up on the Echo Show at the moment, which may limit its appeal as a video player, depending on what you like to use.

One advantage Google Nest Hub Max has is that it doubles up as Chromecast device, so you can stream audio and video to them from just about any app on your phone – podcast players, music players, video players and so on. The Echo Show 10 isn't quite so versatile, but if you spend all your time inside Prime Video and Netflix then this isn't really going to matter.

As on previous Echo Shows, video calling is straightforward and a great way to keep in touch with friends and family who also have Echo devices (or the Alexa app on their phones). You can even do group calls with up to seven people, and don't forget that motion tracking – the Echo Show 10 lets you stay in view even if you shift your position.

Amazon Echo Show 10: App and extras

Alexa app

(Image credit: Future)

The Alexa app used to be something of a weak link for Echo speakers, but not any longer: the app that's available today for Android and iOS is slick, intuitive and packed with features. You can get all your smart home devices connected, link all your music and video services, connect up calendars and contacts, and plenty more besides.

Having a screen on the Echo Show 10 reduces its reliance on the Echo app on your phone, because you can access a lot of the device's settings right on the smart display itself. However, the app still comes in handy for changing certain settings (including the motion features), as well as accessing reminders, lists and notes you've created.

A lot of us still use our smart speakers and displays for basic alarms and timers, and these can be managed through the Alexa app as well as from the Echo Show 10 itself. We should also mention the Routines that Alexa now supports, groups of actions (such as turning on the lights and the heating together) that can be launched with a single Alexa command.

The app and Alexa aren't exclusive to the Echo Show 10 of course, but if you're thinking about dipping your toes into the Echo ecosystem for the first time then you'll want to know what to expect. The app also gives you access to thousands of third-party skills for Alexa too, from games to white noise apps.

If you already have one or more Echos set up at home then the app does a decent job of letting you manage them – grouping them together in specific rooms, and so on. As a hub for everything Alexa and everything Amazon Echo in your smart home, the app has you covered, and you can run Alexa voice commands through it as well.

Amazon Echo Show 10 review: Verdict

Amazon Echo Show 10

(Image credit: Amazon)

For us, the high price of this smart screen is well worth it – it enables you to make video calls, it lets you play content from Netflix and Prime Video, and it's handy for some Alexa responses such as weather reports and calendar schedules. It also gives you touchscreen control for your connected smart home devices as well. The Echo Show 10 offers substantially more than most Echo devices.

We're not completely sold on the design, but we can live with it – and we are hugely impressed by everything the Echo Show 10 can do. Alexa is getting better all the time, and the new intelligent motion capabilities that Amazon has added to this model improve the experience more than you might think, particularly if you're trying to use the device hands-free or from a distance.

Of course you're giving even more data up to Amazon. The company promises to protect your privacy (as do Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and all the others), and there are some welcome privacy controls here – but each new Amazon device you add inevitably digs you deeper into Amazon's apps, services, and overall ecosystem. That's a trade-off you're going to have to be willing to make.

You do have other smart speaker option, but the Echo Show 10 stands alone at the moment in terms of the size of its screen and the way it can move around. It's undoubtedly the best Echo yet, the peak of Echo evolution since 2014 – and if your budget can stretch to it and you're happy in Amazon's world, then we can fully recommend it.

David Nield

Dave has over 20 years' experience in the tech journalism industry, covering hardware and software across mobile, computing, smart home, home entertainment, wearables, gaming and the web – you can find his writing online, in print, and even in the occasional scientific paper, across major tech titles like T3, TechRadar, Gizmodo and Wired. Outside of work, he enjoys long walks in the countryside, skiing down mountains, watching football matches (as long as his team is winning) and keeping up with the latest movies.