Amazon has already offered a truly hands-free Alexa on the Fire HD 10 tablet, but not on the 8-inch version. On that version you’ve had to wake it up first, which stinks when you’re across the room. The company is correcting this today with an updated Fire HD 8.
This new model has always-on Alexa that lets you vocally issue commands even when the device is asleep. Yes, it is basically an Echo speaker. This is at the cost of some battery life though, which drops from 12 hours to 10 hours. However, you can turn off the always-available feature if you want the extra running time.
There is also a newer 2-megapixel front camera for 720p video chats. You can also install apps to microSD cards if the built-in 16GB or 32GB of storage isn’t enough. Other specs include a 1,280 x 800 screen, 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 1.5GB of RAM and 2-megapixel rear cam.
The refreshed Fire HD 8 will ship on October 4th and starts at $80 for a 16GB version with lock screen ads. If you want it ad-free, it is $95. The 32GB edition is $110 with ads and $125 without. So you have a lot to choose from if you are looking for a new budget tablet.