Amazon’s entry-level smart display, the Echo Show 5, was already a solid device that many trusted, so it should perhaps come as no surprise that the tech giant hasn’t done much with this re-launch.
In our multi-week tests, Show 5 delivered the same results across the board. For the price – it’s now a little cheaper at $ 84.99 and has an upgraded (if still lackluster) 2-megapixel camera – it’s an Alexa smart display that’s worth putting on a bedside table to be placed, although we ultimately prefer the $ 109.99 Show 8 as an additional feature. filled option.
For whom is that: For $ 84.99, the Echo Show 5 is an affordable and powerful smart display that is ideal for a bedside table. It gives you full access to Alexa for instant information, smart home control, and a variety of entertainment options.
What you need to know: Like all Echo devices, the Show 5 is deeply integrated into the Amazon ecosystem, offering Alexa functionality and seamless access to the Amazon library of movies, TV shows, and music. In addition to using the device for entertainment, you can also control your smart home, e.g. For example, watch a live stream from a ring surveillance camera or turn off your Philips Hue lights while you go to bed. It also includes satisfactory privacy controls for those who are not 100% comfortable with a microphone and video camera turned on and listening all the time.
So it compares: As an entry-level smart display from Amazon, the Show 5 is less feature-rich than the $ 129.99 Show 8 and the $ 249.99 Echo Show 10. These devices both have more speakers, which provide better sound and have much better cameras. (The Show 10 also has a new trick that allows the camera to follow you around the room, keeping the display front and center, and keeping you in the center of the picture of video calls at all times.) When you are something outside Looking for the Amazon ecosystem, Lenovo’s $ 39 smart clock is comparable to the Echo Show 5, but instead of using Alexa, it’s powered by the Google Assistant. You could also check out the second generation Nest Hub for $ 99.99, but that’s more in line with Show 8 given the screen size.
Jacob Krol / CNN
If you’ve used an Echo device, there’s an instantly recognizable design here. The Echo Show 5 looks like the original Echo Show or a miniature Show 8. It retains the triangular structure that allows it to stand on its own and interact with the 5.5-inch display. The back of the Show 5 is still covered in a reticulated material used on the Echo Show 10, Show 8, Echo Dot and fourth generation Echo.
Your main control buttons – louder, quieter, microphone mute and a camera shutter button – all live on the top. As with Show 8 or 10, flipping the camera switch physically blocks and disconnects the lens. For those concerned with privacy, this is a handy feature and can provide a bit of security, especially since it’s a visual reminder that the camera is off. The camera itself has gotten a slight dent, but that’s no cause for celebration. It’s now a 2 mega-pixel camera that looks a little less blurry but still doesn’t offer a convincing experience.
Our main problem with the camera has to do with the overall design of the Show 5. The actual inclination of the Show 5 makes the touchscreen easier to use, but also allows the camera to point upwards. It might only partially place you in the shot, which is not ideal. Amazon didn’t choose to fix this in the 2021 model, so the solution remains to buy a stand for Show 5 that they can sit on.
The bottom of the Show 5 has a rubber grip that holds the device in place, especially when playing music, while the supplied 15-watt power adapter is plugged into the back of the device.
The star here is the 5.5-inch HD screen, which does pretty well. With a resolution of 960 x 480, it can produce vivid colors and offers a wealth of details. As in the original incarnation of Show 5 in 2019, the 2021 model is highlighted by the built-in tact modes. The Show 5 is probably best placed on a bedside table, where the built-in dials can show their color and depth effects. You can say, “Alexa, customize my watch” to choose from a range of faces in multiple categories. This includes playful, modern, classic, photography and personal photos. It’s a fun feature that will make your personality shine. You can control which clock is displayed via your voice or via touch in the settings. You can view the date or weather and customize the background color.
Those who want the classic Echo Show home screen with trending topics, news notifications, and Amazon order updates can still choose this mode. You can even toggle back and forth in the flow, which makes the Show 5 still a multi-mode device.
Jacob Krol / CNN
If you’re looking for an Echo Show that is ideal for video calling, we’d check out Show 8 or the rotating Show 10. The Show 5 doesn’t do that well in this area as its 2 mega-pixel camera lens doesn’t always have the right lighting, it can provide a blurry, pixelated image, and it tends to distort colors. (Some test shots are embedded below.) Yes, it’s an improvement over the previous 1 mega-pixel lens, but it’s still not enough for something like a professional zoom call, so we don’t recommend anyone upgrading just for camera enhancement .
The Echo Show 5 houses the same single 4 watt speaker that pushes out the back. It produces a tin-free sound that is pretty balanced. It’s certainly shy of what would be called a boom, but the Show 5 offers a broad soundstage with a focus on clarity and fullness.
You can get music from almost anywhere including Amazon Music, Spotify, Apple Music, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, Pandora, and many others. You can also connect from an iPhone, Android, tablet, or computer to stream music via Bluetooth. You can even pair the Echo Show 5 with other Echoes or Bluetooth speakers for a multiroom experience.
At its core, the Echo Show 5 is an intelligent loudspeaker that can help power or control a smart home. There’s a growing list of smart home devices that support Alexa, and it doesn’t look like it’s slowing down. Philips Hue, Ring, Vocolinc, Schlage and Wemo are just a few of the companies that support control with Alexa.
You can achieve a lot with your voice. For example, say, “Alexa, show me the front door” and it will connect to your Ring Video Doorbell 4 or ask Alexa to lock the house to activate all of your smart locks and make sure you are up for the night. If you swipe left to right, you can access the Smart Home tab, where you can control the smart home devices with one touch and view the groups of devices that work together. It’s kind of a nervous system for the house.
It’s also of great help in cooking. Although the screen can be hard to see at times, it does a good job of not throwing too much on the screen. And since Alexa is talking to you, you can still easily follow the instructions and ask them to repeat if necessary.
There are a ton of other skills to choose from. You can get daily briefings from news organizations like CNN or NPR, or enjoy jokes from late-night TV. There are also skills for surf cams, travel information and much more.
Jason Cipriani / CNN
Amazon took the same updated Echo Show 5 and made a version of the small smart display specifically for kids. The $ 94.99 Show 5 Kids Edition has a chameleon design and a version of Alexa that has kid-friendly answers. For example, if your curious child asks if Santa Claus is real, Alexa will respond with a whimsical answer instead of spilling the beans.
The Kids Edition costs $ 10 more than the regular Echo Show 5, but you get a year of Amazon Kids + – the company’s parental control platform, which also includes kid-friendly games, videos, audiobooks, and music. You can even set time limits for your child. You also receive a two-year worry-free guarantee. Think of it like accident insurance where Amazon promises to replace the Echo Show 5 should your child break it.
Children can ask Alexa and the Echo Show 5 to read them a book before bed or ask for help with homework if both of you are at a loss. As the parent, you have complete control over what your child can do on the Echo Show 5. That means you can use the Show 5’s built-in camera to create a friends list that your child can use to make video calls.
Of course, you and your child can still use the Kids Edition Show 5 to control smart home devices throughout the house, for example switching off the light before going to bed.
We enjoyed how easy and fun it is for our kids to interact with Show 5, from asking for a joke or a new story to listening to their favorite music.
For $ 84.99, the Show 5 is a device for Alexa users with specific needs. It’s not that robust in terms of features compared to Show 8 and Show 10. But we tested it on a bedside table and found that it really is an adorable connected alarm clock that costs a few dollars less than these premium models .
Amazon could have provided a big upgrade here, but the brand ultimately sticks with what works. However, we wish there had been a major upgrade to the camera. If you want a really impressive smart display that is suitable for high quality video calls, we’d say go for the Echo Show 8 (or even the Nest Hub if you want a Google Assistant device). But if it’s an Echo with a smaller screen and a low price point, the Show 5 is for you.
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