- Amazon has introduced a new Echo Show 8 with a camera that follows your movements during video calls.
- There’s also an updated Echo Show 5 with an improved camera.
- The speakers ship in June at $84.99 for the Show 5 and $129.99 for the Show 8.
You don’t need to buy Amazon’s pricey Echo Show 10 to get an Alexa smart display that handles video calls with grace. The internet retailer has introduced new versions of the Echo Show 8 (shown above) and Echo Show 5 (below) that promise major upgrades for your remote conversations.
The updated $129.99 Echo Show 8 boasts a 13MP camera that pans and zooms to keep you framed, much like Facebook’s Portal devices or the iPad Pro’s Center Stage feature. You and your family can walk around the room knowing you’ll still be included in the shot. Amazon is also promising that you’ll “soon” get audiovisual reactions (like hearts or confetti) as well as augmented reality effects.
The new Echo Show 8 touts the expected stereo speakers and an adaptive color “HD” display. The biggest changes beyond the camera may instead come through software. The connected display now has a shared home screen and music suggestions based on what you’re currently playing in Amazon Music or Spotify.
The revamped $84.99 Echo Show 5 doesn’t have the auto-following camera of its larger 8 counterpart. You will, however, find an improved camera with double the pixels as well as a new Deep Sea Blue color. Pay $94.99 for the Echo Show 5 Kids and you’ll get a more colorful Chameleon look, a year-long subscription to Amazon Kids Plus content and a two-year warranty that covers accidents.
The Echo Show 8, Echo Show 5 and Echo Show 5 Kids are all available to pre-order now with a release date sometime in June.
Read more: The best smart displays
Whether or not you choose the Echo Show 8 over a rival smart display like Google’s latest Nest Hub is a tough call. Amazon’s device could be the better choice if you regularly hold video chats, but the Nest Hub offers hands-off (if basic) sleep tracking and robust sound. As is often the case, it might come down to your choice of ecosystem. Alexa has the largest selection of third-party smart home devices, but Google Assistant may be better if you’re deeply committed to Android and other Google platforms.