Bottom line: If you're in the market for a budget tablet to surf the web, consume multimedia or to double as an Amazon Echo Show, the new Fire HD 8 is tough to beat for under $80. It's an even better deal when you can find it on sale (Black Friday isn't too far away, right?).

Amazon on Thursday announced the next generation of its Fire HD 8 tablet. The new slate features an 8-inch widescreen display boasting a resolution of 1,280 x 800 pixels that's powered by a quad-core processor clocked at 1.3GHz and 1.5GB of RAM. Those specs mirror last year's model but there are a few new tricks up its sleeve.

Namely, the 2018 Fire HD 8 features hands-free Alexa, a trick it borrows from the larger Fire HD 10. A software update for the previous generation Fire HD 8 also enabled hands-free Alexa but it doesn't work when the screen enters stand-by mode unless the tablet is plugged in.

With the new Fire HD 8, Alexa is always listening and ready to respond, so long as you are connected to Wi-Fi. Using Show Mode, you can essentially turn the Fire HD 8 into an Echo Show.

A new, immersive hands-free experience for Fire tablets with full-screen visuals that complement voice responses from Alexa. Show Mode lets you ask Alexa to see trending news, weather, movies trailers, camera feeds, and more---all glanceable whether you're up close or across the room.

There is a trade-off, however, and it comes in the form of battery life. With hands-free Alexa enabled, you can expect about 10 hours of battery life. Turn it off and you'll get an extra two hours or so of battery life according to an Amazon spokesperson.

The new slate is offered in capacities of 16GB or 32GB with up to 400GB more via microSD card support. There's also a new 2-megapixel front-facing camera for 720p video chats.

Amazon's new Fire HD 8 is offered in black, blue, red and yellow color options. It's available to pre-order today starting at $79.99 (or $94.99 without Amazon's pre-loaded ads). Look for it to ship on October 4.