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I used to be leery of investing in a smart home system -- and now that I have one, I cannot imagine my home without one. If you're seeking to invest in a smart home hub, you can get a two-for-one special right now with the Echo Show 8 and the Echo Show 5 Kids (2nd gen). Originally bundled at $225, you can get both of them for only $70 right now.
I use the Echo Show 8 in my home, and it's by far the handiest device in my kitchen. As I'm prepping my morning coffee, I can get a weather report, a brief rundown of the news, and even add milk to my grocery shopping list -- all with Alexa voice commands. In addition, because I have a smart doorbell, I can ask her to show my doorbell and get a live feed and two-way audio should I have a delivery.
I can even pull up and follow recipes, and I've discovered many a great recipe from the rotating screen displays, offering advice from how to cook pasta in red wine to recipes for stuffed pepper lasagna bowls. I can also play music from the smart home hub when I feel so inclined.
ZDNET expert David Gewirtz reviewed the Echo Show 8 and loved the upgraded camera, saying, "The New Echo Show 8 jumps the camera quality from an embarrassing 1 megapixel all the way up to a respectable 13 megapixels. In our new world of constant video calls, that's a necessary and important jump in quality."
The Echo Show 5 Kids offers everything the Echo Show 8 does, except it's designed specifically for kids. It comes with in-depth parental controls, so when it's lights out at 9 p.m., it can go dark for the evening.
Aside from the parental controls, it can do more activities geared toward kids, including help with homework, play educational videos, and even listen to Audible books at bedtime. The design also comes in a fun chameleon design to make it more fun to display in a kids' room.