Amazon just announced the all-new Echo Show 8, a second-generation model of the Amazon Echo Show 8 that features a highly improved camera for all your video calls.
Since the first Echo Show 8 launched, we've considered it one of the best Alexa speakers with a display. Unlike the towering Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen), the $129 Show 8's compact build makes it a versatile smart home device.
Better yet, the refreshed Echo Show 8 adopts some of the Echo Show 10's key elements, including a 13-megapixel camera for video chatting and pan-and-zoom for always keeping you in frame.
So what else is new? Here's everything you'll want to know about the new Echo Show 8, from price and availability to how it differs from its predecessor.
New Amazon Echo Show 8 release date
The new Echo Show 8 release date is June 9, 2021 according to the product page on Amazon's website. You can pre-order the smart display now, and it'll likely ship early next month. Of course the ship date is subject to change based on the quantity of pre-orders and Amazon's stock at launch.
Amazon usually announces new smart displays during its annual September event, but it seems the company might've wanted to make the Echo Show 8 available for Amazon Prime Day 2021. Prime day dates haven't been revealed yet, although the two-day sales event typically takes place over the summer.
New Amazon Echo Show 8 price
The new Amazon Echo Show 8 costs $129, which is the same price the first Echo Show 8 started at when it debuted; however, the previous-gen model often went on sale for $99 or less. We're expecting Prime Day to bring of some of the year's best Amazon deals, including discounts on the latest Echo Show 8.
Without sales, the Echo Show 8 is still more affordable than the $249 Echo Show 10, but a bit pricier than the $99 Google Nest Hub (2nd gen) that debuted earlier this year. Not only is Google's newest smart display one of the best smart speakers, it offers neat sleep sensing capabilities, too.
New Amazon Echo Show 8 camera upgrades
It seems the new Amazon Echo Show 8 camera upgrades were designed with the era of video chatting in mind. While the overall look of the smart display is mostly the same, donning a fabric-swathed exterior, the camera arrangement is visibly different.
Replacing the first Echo Show 8's subtle 1 megapixel camera, the new model has a 13 megapixel camera housed in a larger, square component. That's the same quality of the Echo Show 10's camera.
The new Echo Show 8 also adopted the pan-and-zoom abilities of the Show 10. While the display can't rotate to keep you in frame, the new wide-angle lens can center you you like the Google Nest Hub Max and the Facebook Portal can. The new iPad Pro's Center Stage uses a similar tracking technology for video calls.
Amazon's smart displays work with Zoom, Skype and some of the best video chat apps, meaning you can start and answer calls just by asking Alexa. Hands-free video chat is one of the best Alexa skills for keeping in touch with your loved ones. Amazon also added some in-call animations and AR effects to spice up your calls.
New Amazon Echo Show 8 features
There isn't much else new about second-generation Amazon Echo Show 8 compared to the first model. It maintains a 8-inch display with 1280 x 800 resolution, as well as dual two-inch speakers.
We thought the original Show 8 sounded great for its size, so we're expecting similar performance when we test the new version. That said, there are better-sounding smart speakers out there. The Sonos One is our favorite in terms of audio quality, but it costs $199 and doesn't have a display.
When you're not using it to control music, the Echo Show 8 can be used for in-home communications. It can also integrate with the best Alexa compatible devices, providing a visual dashboard for your system of smart home products. You can manage your devices individually or assign them to Alexa routines for advanced home automation.
As for privacy, the Echo Show 8 has a physical camera shutter and microphone mute button. You can also manage your recording history and assistant preferences in your Alexa app.
New Amazon Echo Show 8 outlook
The Amazon Echo Show 8 might not have needed a refresh, but for the same price as the first-gen model, the second-gen's camera upgrades are certainly welcome. Even if we're nearing the end of needing video chat to stay in touch all the time, many still work and learn from home.
We'll need to test this new smart display to see how it feels compared to the original, and whether the improvements make it more attractive than the Google Nest Hub. The Show 8 also seems to steal enough from the Show 10 to make us wonder if the larger option will still have appeal.
Either way, we'd hold off on pre-orders until Prime Day rolls around. That's when the first Amazon Echo Show 8 deals will most likely arrive. We anticipate learning more about when the sales event is taking place soon.