Gadgets for humans

Amazon’s Show Mode Charging Dock is a must-have for parents who own Fire HD tablets

Charge and go, or stay and display.

Price $ 39.99 / 54.99 ProductShow Mode Dock by Amazon

Amazon’s recently launched Show Mode Charging Dock is a revelation for Fire HD tablet owners – especially those of us with small children.

The inexpensive dock basically turns a 7th or 8th generation Fire HD 8 or Fire HD 10 into an Echo Show. It serves as a charger, display stand, and visual interface for Alexa.

The Echo Show has the appeal of a futuristic video-screen version of Alexa. It serves as conduit for information such as recipe steps, extended weather forecasts, and videos. But it’s not designed to be tossed into a diaper bag and whipped out in waiting rooms or during long car rides. The Fire HD tablet is — and the Show Mode Dock facilitates that.

As capable as my Fire HD 10 tablet is, it didn’t come with a stand or wireless charging built-in. The Show Mode Dock lets me walk in the door, slap the tablet onto it, and get on with my life. I don’t have to fuss with USB cords – which are hidden out of sight and reach in a baby-proofed house.

Best of all, after tossing the tablet on the dock/charger, I can call upon Alexa to entertain my toddler when screen time is appropriate. I don’t have to change the HDMI input, find a remote, or do anything other than holler “Alexa, watch Rainbow Horse on Prime TV.”

In the looks department, there’s not much to speak of. The Show Mode Dock comes in two parts: A hunk of plastic with a kick-stand that serves as the stationary dock and a case that snaps onto your tablet. This isn’t a sexy gadget you show off. It’s an incredibly useful accessory that’s doing its job if you forget it’s there.

The pieces are well made, sturdy, and require absolutely no know-how to get working. You put your tablet in the case and set it on the dock. If you’ve got a USB charging cord plugged into the dock your device will charge and it’ll automatically put it in Show Mode — an always-on display  that shows the time, weather, news, Alexa tips, and other useful information.

While the Echo Show will set you back 129 bones (and that’s with a current limited-time $100 discount) the dock, for those who already have a compatible tablet, will get you similar functionality for much less. And you won’t have to sacrifice portability if you go with the Show Mode Dock.

The Show Mode Charging Dock comes in two sizes to accommodate the Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 10 tablets. The 8 goes for $39.99, while the 10 costs $54.99.

Published September 11, 2018 — 18:26 UTC

Price $ 39.99 / 54.99 ProductShow Mode Dock by Amazon