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Amazon takes on the Apple HomePod with new Echo Studio

November 21,2021 by Matthew Bell

We can safely say that Amazon has gone overboard with the product launches at this year's autumn hardware event. The online retail giant spent the morning in Seattle, Washington unveiling all manner of Alexa-enabled devices, including a high-end smart speaker, a pair of true wireless earbuds and a do-it-all oven.

As always, front and centre is Amazon's smart speaker range. First out of the gates was the Echo Studio , a premium smart speaker with five drivers, Dolby Atmos support and the ability to serve as a soundbar when connected to an Amazon Fire TV Stick.

The Echo Studio has three mid-range drivers, plus one tweeter and a 5.25in bass driver - that's more impressive than most other high-end smart speakers, especially considering the Studio's low price. The new speaker starts at $199 (£190).

Next up was the Echo Show 8 , a new Echo Show variant with - you guessed it - an 8in HD display. Like the other Echo Show models, the Echo Show 8 serves as a means of video communication as well as a full-blown streaming device, virtual assistant and speaker.

Somewhat confusingly, the Echo Show 8 comes in two other sizes: 5.5in and 10in. It starts at $129 (£120).

Next up, the Echo Flex , a device that condenses Alexa into a single unit that plugs into a wall socket. It's not a smart speaker, exactly, although it will respond to your questions from a small built-in driver. The goal here is, instead, to offer an affordable, convenient option for those who fancy taking Alexa for a spin but don't want to splash out on one of the pricier speakers.

Amazon has also announced a few significant updates to its current range of Echo devices. Chief among these is a much-needed update to the Amazon Echo Dot, in the form of a digital LED clock-face that sits rather attractively on the side of the speaker. The speaker remains otherwise unchanged and costs £60.

The original Echo is also receiving a lick of paint, and will now ship with improved audio and a brand-new fabric housing.

Everything you see here will be available for pre-order soon and will begin shipping in the UK later this year.

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