Amazon’s Echo Show and Echo Spot have garnered mixed reviews, from people not sure if they want to put an all-knowing camera in their home to those who absolutely loved it because it gave them their beloved Echo with a built-in display. The Echo Show, however, is somewhat limited (and normally expensive).
Until now, the Echo Show or Spot have been the only way to get Alexa on a screen (besides using Fire TV). However, Amazon recently released the Show Mode Charging Dock for Fire HD 10 and Fire HD 8 and it offers one of the best ways to experience Alexa on the big screen, in my opinion.
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Now don’t get me wrong, the Echo Show is fantastic. The audio quality is great, room-filling even. The screen is crisp, and the design is awesome. But, it still carries an MSRP of over $200 and it is a one-use-wonder. You can only use it as an Echo, and there’s nothing you can do about that.
The Echo Show is great for looking up recipes in the kitchen, listening to music, or maybe watching the latest movie trailer while cooking dinner. Setting a timer, viewing cameras, and controlling smart home accessories are other things you can do, but really, the Echo Show shops there.
That’s where the Show Mode Charging Dock for Fire HD comes in. If you compare it to the normal cost of an Echo Show, it is about the same price if you don’t already have a Fire HD 10 or 8. If you do, the setup with a Show Mode Charging Dock is considerably cheaper.
This dock consists of a case that has pogo pins on the bottom with a microUSB port at the top to power the Fire HD, and a dedicated dock where it rests. Once in the dock, your Fire HD will automatically enable Show Mode once on the latest firmware and turn itself into an Echo Show.
That’s it. Now your Fire HD is acting as an Echo Show in all aspects, though the speakers are a little worse in the Fire than the actual Show. Besides that, they function identically. You can even pull down from your notification shade and disable the camera and mics for Alexa, should you want to do so.
Video calling, movie trailers, recipes, everything works as you’d expect, and when you’re no longer using it as an Echo Show, you just pick it up and away you go with a fully functional tablet.
This dock will remain a staple on my desk either until Google’s own display-driven Home devices come out or Apple releases a HomePod with a screen. I’ll be asking my Fire HD on its Show Mode Charging Dock all kinds of questions, from weather to recipes for the foreseeable future.
The Show Mode Charging Dock runs $49.99 for the Fire HD 10 and $34.99 for the Fire HD 8 and is available at both Amazon and Best Buy as of now.