The latest iteration of the Echo Show 5 packs a serious punch in a tiny package. It’s a low-key, functional addition to your home that can fit in nearly anywhere but is particularly at home on nightstands and in-home offices. But, it’s not quite as feature-packed as the revamped Echo Show 8.
For the avid Alexa user, though, it’s still a no-brainer smart device to add to your home.
Higher quality camera: The 1st gen’s 1 MP camera has been replaced by a 2 MP camera — so improved photos and video calls are here.
Fresh look: In addition to the charcoal and white color options, the new Echo Show 5 is also available in deep sea blue, which looks really sharp. This updated iteration also dropped the audio jack.
Kids edition: Joining the fray is also the Echo 5 Kids edition, which is a 2nd gen Echo Show 5 with a pretty cool chameleon look, two years of access to Amazon Kids, and some souped-up parental controls.
Security camera feature: These devices, along with the new Echo Show 8, can also act as indoor security cameras. As long as you’ve got a WiFi connection, you can easily access the camera view from the Alexa app to see what’s going on back at home, making it easy to discreetly check in on the pets, kids, babysitter, or houseplants.
Motion-activation: This model and the concurrently released 2nd gen Echo Show 8 also introduce motion-activated routines, which means no talking required to get your routine going. For example, you could set a routine for Alexa to start your coffee pot and turn on the lights when it detects you getting out of bed in the morning, or to turn off all the smart lights in the house when you go to bed.
Solid screen size: The Echo Show 5 is the perfect size for your nightstand with a 5.5-inch screen and a footprint of just 6 inches x 3 inches.
Security features: As with any smart device, security features are important. Amazon allows you to delete your voice recordings and switch off the camera shutter. You can read more about steps they take to protect your privacy here.
This iteration makes setting alarms a breeze, and I tested several because alarm reliability is huge for me. With every phone I’ve ever owned, the alarms have never been 100 percent reliable. Sometimes they just don’t go off. And sometimes I’m not reliable and I accidentally set the alarm for PM, or turn it off on certain days unintentionally, or forget to hit “save” after entering my alarm details.
Not so with Alexa. Just say, “Alexa, set my alarm for 6:00 am” and it’s all taken care of.
Alexa also makes it easy to check the weather, the news, and your calendar before getting out of bed, so you can decide if it’s even worth it or if you should just roll back over.
I currently have an Echo Show 5 set up on my desk. It’s small enough that it’s not a distraction from my dual monitors, and it’s so nice to have the hands-free help right there. I have small children so my “home office” is a corner of the living room where I can keep my eyes on them while I’m working. Thankfully, the Echo Show 5 makes it that much easier to multitask — for example, at one point I was rocking a fussy baby in her rocker with my foot, typing away at my computer, and still able to easily get some music going to help calm her down just by saying, “Alexa, play some piano music.” (Meanwhile, the older one was entertaining himself with the Echo Show 5 Kids.)
It’s also helpful to be able to quickly look up information while working using my voice, rather than opening yet another tab or grabbing my phone to do it. It makes for a very streamlined experience, allowing me to grab what I need without having to stop what I’m doing.
These 2nd gen Echo Shows are fantastic for staying connected with friends and family inside and outside of your household.
A few of the connection features include:
Drop-ins: Quickly and easily start a video call with other Alexa devices in your household.
Intercom: Send a message to every Alexa-connected device in your home. (“Dinner’s ready!”)
Video call: Place video calls to anyone who’s added to your contact list on Alexa.
Now, the obvious drawback of the Echo Show 5 is that, while the camera did receive an upgrade, the screen is still tiny and not really suitable for video chats featuring the whole household. For the absolute top video chat experience, you’re going to want to go with the revamped Echo Show 8.
On that note, if you like the size and Alexa capabilities of the Echo Show 5, and you’re not planning to use it for video calls or home monitoring, you may want to opt for the 1st gen model. It has many of the same features for a much smaller price.
The Echo Show 5 (2nd generation) is a solid addition to the Amazon lineup, with the key differences from the 1st gen model including the beefed up camera, new color option, and additional Alexa functions like motion-activated routines and home monitoring.
However, it’s kind of an in-betweener. If you’re going to use your Echo Show to video chat regularly, you may want to shell out the extra $40 or so for the video call-optimized Echo Show 8 (2nd generation). And if you don’t need it for video calls or any of the latest and greatest Alexa features, you’ll want to save some cash and go with the 1st gen Echo Show 5. But the 2nd gen Echo Show 5 is perfect for you if you want all the big features in a compact package.
Topics Amazon Echo Reviews