Amazon’s output is so enormous that it’s not surprising to see it announce new products all year round, but we’ve come to expect a whole load of news around this time, and the house of Alexa didn’t disappoint in 2023.
As well as showing off the next evolution of its now ubiquitous voice assistant, with conversations with Alexa becoming more natural and conversational than ever, the Seattle-based giant also unveiled a range of new devices: some refreshes to existing lines, others totally new products.
There was a lot to get through, so if you want to read about Ring security cameras, Wi-Fi routers and new kid-friendly tablets, as well as all the in-depth AI waffle, be sure to check out the full rundown here.
But we’ve picked out the five gadgety announcements you should know about from Amazon big event...
1. Echo Show 8
Amazon’s smart display range is one of varying shapes and sizes, and the redesigned Echo Show 8 might be the Goldilocks Alexa-toting screen going forward. The new Echo Show 8 has a faster processor and built-in smart home hub, while the audio pipeline is now more effective at blocking out external noise during video calls. A centred camera also keeps you better framed when you’re talking to your parents as you frantically chop the veg for dinner.
It sounds better too, thanks to spatial audio support and room adaptation tech that will adjust audio output according to the acoustics of the room you have the device set up in. Perhaps the coolest feature, though, is an adaptive display that will dynamically shift based on your proximity to it. If you’re on the other side of the room it’ll adjust to something more minimal, displaying a large clock face or news headlines that you can check at a glance. As you get closer you’ll see more detailed information that you can interact with using touch. Very cool.
The new Amazon Echo Show 8 costs £150 and can be pre-ordered now. It’ll be on sale from October 25.
2. Fire TV Soundbar
Amazon’s Fire TV product lineup now includes a 24in Bluetooth-enabled soundbar. As you’d expect, it’s designed primarily to be used in tandem with Amazon’s existing streaming sticks and smart TVs, and is a simple plug-and-play proposition that looks like a good deal at $119, even if that doesn’t get you Dolby Atmos support.
The Fire TV Soundbar is already on sale in the US but no word on a UK rollout yet. If it happens, though, this could be a big seller when the festive season (and the Black Friday that precedes it) rolls around, especially if it sounds half decent.
3. New Fire TV Stick 4K and 4K Max
If you’re looking to turn any old dumb TV into one that’s smart as a button, you can’t go wrong with one of Amazon’s Fire TV Sticks, and the company has refreshed its two 4K offerings for 2023. The 2nd Gen Fire TV Stick 4K now boasts Wi-Fi 6 support, sports an updated processor and is 30% more powerful than the model it replaces. The new 4K TV Stick Max, meanwhile, is the first streaming stick to support the upgraded Wi-Fi 6E standard and doubles its storage to 16GB. Both dynamic dongles support all the major HDR standards and Dolby Atmos audio, as well as pretty much any streaming service you can name.
The new Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K (£60) can be pre-ordered now and will be available to buy from October 18, while the Fire TV Stick 4K Max launches on the same date for an extra £10.
4. Echo Hub
If your home contains more Amazon-branded devices than it does teaspoons you’ll almost certainly want to invest in an Echo Hub (£170) when it arrives later this year. This £170 device is what Amazon is calling a smart home control panel, and is designed to rule over all of your connected smart home devices from one place. The Echo Hub is wall-mountable and features an 8in touch display with a customisable dashboard on which you can group and manage your devices to your liking.
Naturally, you can control it using Alexa voice commands and you’ll be able to quickly jump between security camera feeds, smart lighting settings and your various Routines. When not in use, The Echo Hub effectively becomes an Echo Show, showing you useful information in its idle mode or cycling through your photos.
5. Echo Frames
You’ve got a smartphone, a smartwatch and a smart home, but how smart are those glasses on your nose? If your answer is not smart enough, then Amazon is here to help. Its new third-generation Echo Frames now come in seven different styles, including two designs from Carrera, and offer multiple lens options. They’re slimmer than ever too, which is important if you plan on wearing them for more than an admittedly futuristic-feeling five minutes.
Once you have a style that compliments your mush, you’ll be able to enjoy up to six hours of continuous media playback or talk time, which equates to 40% more listening and 80% more chatting than the previous generation of the Echo Frames afforded wearers. And it’s not just battery life; they sound better too.
You use the glasses much like you do an Amazon Echo at home, only now it lives in your glasses, but if you don’t want to talk to Alexa, the Frames can also be controlled with taps. They can connect to multiple devices at the same time now, too, so you can easily switch between a laptop and your phone. Prices start at $270, with no word on UK release plans just yet.