Amazon launched hardware upgrades for its Echo Show 5 and Echo Show 8 products on Wednesday; the new versions have higher resolution cameras and improved CPUs. There is also a new Echo Show 5 Kids, but the Echo Show 10 has not received a hardware refresh.
If you’re not familiar with the product line, the Echo Show is essentially an Amazon Echo smart speaker with a screen on it. The devices can be used as digital clocks, video conferencing solutions, Amazon Ring doorbell screens and more – each Show device is basically an Alexa-controlled Fire HD tablet, with all the capabilities that come with it.
Amazon points out the privacy controls on these devices and takes what certainly looks like a swipe at Google’s competing Nest and Home devices:
Designed to protect your family’s privacy, Amazon does not sell your personal information to others. Built with multiple layers of privacy controls, including a microphone/camera off button and a built-in camera shutter.
All three new Echo Show devices are now available for pre-order, with delivery starting June 9.
Echo Show 8 (second generation)
The upgraded Echo Show 8 has an 8-inch HD display, a 13-megapixel camera, a new 8-core CPU and stereo speakers. The improved camera automatically rotates and zooms to keep the user centered and focused during video calls.
Amazon also promises that Echo Show 8 users will soon be able to tap the screen during conversations to produce Snapchat-style responses — floating hearts, laughter, confetti, and so on.
The Echo Show 8 can sit directly on a flat surface, or the unit can be purchased with a $25 adjustable stand, which is best purchased separately, as the bundle doesn’t offer the same $26 discount that Amazon currently applies to the Echo Show. normally $130 Echo Tone 8.
The Echo Show 8 is available in a “charcoal” or “glacier white” chassis.
Echo Show 5 (second generation)
The Echo Show 5 offers a 5.5-inch HD display for a lower price than the Echo Show 8, but with a significantly reduced camera quality. While the Echo Show 5’s new 2MP camera is a pale replacement for the Echo Show 8’s 13MP, it’s still a significant improvement over the 1MP camera in the first-generation Echo Show 5.
The screen on the Echo Show 5 is also a noticeable downgrade: 960×480 versus the 1280×800 of the Echo Show 8. Amazon appears to be using the cheaper, smaller device as a replacement for a bedside alarm, with most product images showing the device in that role. see. The company also advertises a “Sunrise Routine,” which — when paired with the right smart home devices — gradually turns the lights on, plays the news, and tells you about the weather.
The Echo Show 5 is available for $85 (currently on sale for $68) in “Charcoal”, “Glacier White” and a new “Deep Sea Blue” color. Like the Echo Show 8, it has an optional adjustable kickstand — available in the same three colors — for $19.
Echo Show 5 Children
The Echo Show 5 will also get a kid version, just like the kids version of the Fire HD tablet. Like the Fire HD Kids tablet, the Echo Show 5 Kids appears to be just an Echo Show 5 with a brightly colored chassis, including an annual subscription to Amazon Kids+ and a two-year frustration-free replacement warranty.
Amazon Kids+, formerly known as FreeTime Unlimited, is a subscription service that offers a dizzying selection of downloadable games, shows, and music, as well as parental controls aimed at three basic age groups. The content is usually more appealing to younger children; it is usually rather superficial, but features well-known and beloved brand characters.
After the included one-year Kids+ subscription expires, the renewal will cost $3 per month for Amazon Prime members and $5 per month for everyone else. Family plans are also available on monthly or annual (prepaid) terms.
|Family (up to 4 children)||$7/mo||$10/month|
|Family (up to 4 children)||$70/year||$100/year|
Echo Show 5 Kids is available in one color scheme — “chameleon” — for $95, or $10 more than the regular Echo Show 5.
Listing image by Amazon