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Amazon just announced two major updates to its Echo Show line

Amazon has unveiled the latest updates to its Echo Show smart display line for 2021: the new Echo Show 8 and Echo Show 5. 

The two Echos boast improved cameras for crisper Zoom calls, as well as built-in privacy covers for when they’re not in use. The Echo Show 8 also features the ability to pan and zoom, ensuring you stay in frame at all times during calls.

There are plenty of smart Alexa features to be found on the new displays, too. Among the usual voice commands and smart home controls, users can now see music recommendations from Amazon Music and Spotify and even use the display to securely check up on their home when out and about.

Read on to discover everything there is to know about the new Echo Show 8 and Echo Show 5.

For more on the Echo Show and Alexa, make sure to check out our reviews of the previous Echo Show 8 and Echo Show 5, as well as our guides to Alexa, managing your Alexa privacy settings and joining Zoom calls on the Echo Show 10.

The new Echo Show 8 is available in Charcoal and Glacier White colours for £119.99, with pre-orders available now from Amazon, Argos, Currys PC World, John Lewis and Very.co.uk.

Meanwhile, the Echo Show 5 comes in Charcoal, Glacier White and a third Deep Sea Blue shade. The Show 5 is available from all of the above, along with Tesco, for £74.99.

Both smart displays will begin shipping next month.

The Echo Show 8 is the larger of the two smart displays. The device includes an 8-inch HD adaptive colour screen and is powered by a new octa-core processor.

The HD display and dual stereo speakers means the device can be used to watch TV and films from Prime Video and Netflix, and play music from Apple Music, Amazon Music and Spotify, with new recommendations available on the latter two. 

You can use Amazon Photos to transform the display into a digital photo frame when not in use and Alexa to control your smart home. You can even access a live feed on the Echo Show 8 to monitor your home remotely with the Alexa app. 

The Echo Show 8

Amazon has also focussed heavily on the camera this year. The Echo Show 8 has a 13-megapixel wide angle camera with a built-in cover that can automatically pan and zoom during video calls and conferences. 

“Customers love using Echo Show to stay in touch and in the past year have made nearly three times the number of video calls globally than the year prior”, said Vice President of Amazon Devices EU, Eric Saarnio. 

“With these new Echo Show devices, we focused on creating experiences that would add even more value to our customers — bringing a powerful camera and digital pan and zoom capabilities to the new Echo Show 8, upgrading the Echo Show 5 camera, and adding the ability to securely access the built-in camera to check in on home when you’re away.” 

The Echo Show 5

The Echo Show 5, meanwhile, comes with a smaller 5.5-inch display and is available in a new Deep Sea Blue shade. 

The smart display packs an upgraded HD camera (again, with a privacy cover) with twice the pixels of its predecessor for sharper calls. The Show 5 also includes the same live feed feature as the Echo Show 8. 

Amazon continues to add choice and flexibility

Although both of the new models are small upgrades on the originals, and there doesn’t look like much reason for existing owners to upgrade, each product is a step forward. More importantly, the smart displays show Amazon’s commitment to providing a range of Echo speakers for all situations and rooms, while Google has a much small range. A wider range of smart displays is becoming more useful in Amazon’s world: you can view your cameras or answer your Ring doorbell all without reaching for a smartphone, as well as making calls. And, the lower price of the Echo Show 5 makes it a more attractive choice for the bedroom.

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