Amazon launched hardware upgrades for its Echo Show 5 and Echo Show 8 product lineup today; the new versions have higher-resolution cameras, upgraded CPUs, and a new Echo Show 5 Kids. The Echo Show 10 did not get a hardware refresh.
If you aren’t 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, videoconferencing solutions, screens for Amazon Ring doorbells, and more—each Show device is basically an Alexa-controlled Fire HD tablet, with all the capabilities that implies.
Amazon markets the privacy controls of these devices, taking what certainly looks like a swipe at Google’s competing Nest and Home devices:
Designed to protect your family’s privacy—Amazon is not in the business of selling your personal information to others. Built with multiple layers of privacy controls including a mic/camera off button and a built-in camera shutter.
All three of the new Echo Show devices are available for preorder now, with delivery beginning on June 9.
Echo Show 8 (2nd gen)
The upgraded Echo Show 8 features an 8-inch HD display, 13-megapixel camera, new 8-core CPU, and stereo speakers. The upgraded camera automatically pans and zooms to keep the user centered and in focus during video calls.
Amazon also promises that Echo Show 8 users will soon be able to tap on the screen during calls to produce what sound like Snapchat-style reactions—floating hearts, laughs, confetti, and so forth.
The Echo Show 8 can sit on a flat surface directly, or the device can be purchased with a $25 adjustable stand—which is best purchased separately, since the bundle isn’t offering the same $26 discount Amazon is currently applying to the normally $130 Echo Show 8.
Echo Show 8 is available in “charcoal” and “glacier white” chassis.
Echo Show 5 (2nd gen)
Echo Show 5 offers a 5.5″ HD display at a lower price than Echo Show 8 but with significantly decreased camera quality. Although the Echo Show 5’s new 2MP camera is a pale substitute for Echo Show 8’s 13MP, it’s still a significant improvement over the 1MP camera in the 1st-gen Echo Show 5.
The display on the Echo Show 5 is also a noticeable downgrade, sporting 960×480 versus the Echo Show 8’s 1280×800. Amazon appears to be pitching the cheaper, smaller device as a smart replacement for a bedside alarm clock, with most of its product images showing it in that role, and ad copy touting a “Sunrise Routine” which—paired with the appropriate smart home devices—turns lights on gradually, plays the news, and tells you about the weather.
Echo Show 5 is available for $85 (currently on sale at $68) in Charcoal, Glacier White, and a new Deep Sea Blue color. Similar to the Echo Show 8, it has an optional adjustable stand—available in the same three colors—for $19.
Echo Show 5 Kids
Echo Show 5 is getting a Kids version now, much like the Kids version of the Fire HD tablet. Also like the Fire HD Kids tablet, the Echo Show 5 Kids seems to just be an Echo Show 5 with a brightly colored chassis, included one-year subscription to Amazon Kids+, and a two-year frustration-free replacement guarantee.
Amazon Kids+—formerly known as FreeTime Unlimited—is a subscription service that offers a staggering selection of downloadable games, shows, and music, as well as parental control features targeted to three basic age groups. The content itself tends to be more attractive to younger children; it’s typically rather shallow but features well-known and loved branded characters.
After the included one-year Kids+ subscription expires, renewal is $3/mo for Amazon Prime members and $5/mo for everyone else. Family plans are also available on monthly or annual (prepaid) terms.
|Family (up to 4 kids)||$7/mo||$10/mo|
|Family (up to 4 kids)||$70/yr||$100/yr|
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