New Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet moonlights as an Echo Show, thanks to its smart dock

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Amazon has taken its wrappers off its latest tablet - the new Amazon Fire HD 8 (2018), which comes equipped with Alexa smarts and optional smart docking system. 

The new Fire HD 8 is now Alexa hands free, which means that you can get access to Alexa without having to wake up the tablet first. 

This was a feature that was first introduced on the Amazon Fire HD 10 and Amazon shifting it to the Amazon Fire HD 8 proves it's popularity. 

Specs-wise, there is not much change from the Amazon Fire HD 8 (2017) edition. The screen resolution is the same 1280 x 800 (a snip above 720p), the chips are the same. On board is a quad-core 1.3 GHz processor and 1.5GB of RAM.  

Battery life has actually been slightly reduced to 10 hours (there is a reason for this that we will get on to) and storage is 16/32GB. You can now expand that storage to 400GB, through the microSD card slot.

Cameras are an upgraded HD 720p front-facing camera and 2MP rear-facing camera. It has the same design and Dolby Atmos is back on board a well. 

What's new? 

There are some interesting additions. While we would have liked to have seen the screen upgraded to 1080p (as what's on the Amazon Fire HD 10), the biggest changes here are to do with the software and the latest accessory to come to the UK, the Show Mode Charging Dock.

Alexa hands free has come to the new Amazon Fire HD 8 which can be accessed (by saying "Alexa") even when the tablet's screen isn't on. While it's great to see Alexa get deeper integration into the tablet, it comes at a battery cost - which is why the battery has been shorn two hours, when compared to the 2017 model. 

There's also a new Show Mode. This is similar to how the Amazon Echo Show operated, where you get full-screen visuals to go alongside your voice requests. So if you ask for the weather, then you will get some nice clouds and additional information. 

It's a mode that makes sense on the tablet but makes even more sense when you pair it with the Show Mode Charging Dock. This is a dock that will automatically switch your tablet into Show Mode for a more immersive Alexa experience and charges the device as well. 

To use the dock, you have to put the tablet in a compatible case, which has the charging points that connect to the dock.

Pricing for the new Amazon Fire HD 8 (2018) is the same as last year - £79.99/$79.99. But you can now by it bundled with the dock in the UK. This will set you back £109.98. The dock is already available in the US.

You can pre-order this bundle now and you'll get the device when it's shipped on October 4.

If you fancy just buying the dock for your existing tablets then it will be available on its own for this gen Fire HD 8 and the previous gen for £39.99/$39.99 and for the current Fire HD 10 for £49.99/$54.99. Again, this is already available in the US.