Amazon is back with an update to its popular Echo Show line of smart speakers. This isn’t a big makeover before you get too excited, and on the outside things look similar to before. That means you get the same uncluttered design with one screen that displays a wide variety of information and even your family photo albums. However, under the hood of the new Echo Show 5 and Echo Show 8, there are a few key updates, including a new built-in camera that can now act as a surveillance camera as you head off for the day.
If you’re worried about what’s going on at home, you can now securely access the built-in snapper through the Alexa app to check in and make sure things are the way they should be. It’s a very similar feature that was introduced in the new Premium Echo Show 10 that brings this update to Amazon’s cheaper range of all-screen speakers. And don’t worry if family members think they are being spied on while a message appears on the display that the camera has been activated.
Along with this security update, Show 8’s new 13-megapixel camera also gets a wide-angle view that allows you to follow your video calls as they move around the room. The updated camera automatically pans and zooms as you make video calls so everyone stays centered in the picture.
The 8 inch screen has also been optimized to have an adaptive color that changes depending on the conditions in the room.
A new and more powerful octa-core processor is said to help keep the graphics silky smooth, and there are two stereo speakers for clear, balanced sound.
So that’s the new Echo Show 8, but Amazon is also upgrading the cheaper and smaller Show 5 with an updated HD camera that gets twice as many pixels and more colorful designs to choose from when you add them to your online shopping cart .
Of course, both devices still come with Alexa, so you can ask a variety of questions and get a reasonable answer. The screen can also be used to display content. You can view timers, view the day’s news, and even use the display as a karaoke machine.
Like all Echoes, the new show devices can turn on the lights, turn up the heating, and remind you of events simply by asking Alexa.
“Customers love to keep in touch with Echo Show and have made nearly three times as many video calls globally in the past year than last year,” said Eric Saarnio, vice president of Amazon Devices EU. “With these new Echo Show devices, we’ve focused on creating experiences that add even more value to our customers. We’ve added a powerful camera and digital pan and zoom to the new Echo Show 8, updated the Echo Show 5 camera, and added the ability to securely access the built-in camera to check in at home when you’re not there. “
The Echo Show 8 costs £ 119.99 while the Echo Show 5 starts at a cheaper price of £ 74.99.
According to Amazon, pre-orders begin today at Amazon.de as well as at Argos, Currys PC World, John Lewis and Very.de. Echo Show 5 is also available from Tesco. The devices will be shipped next month.