Amazon and Google have both realized that smart home hubs are better off with a display attached to them. The Echo Show 5, which was first introduced in India a few months earlier, is an affordable Echo device with a display (even cheaper than the cute, circular Echo Spot that it supplants. (Amazon Echo SHow 5 Review हिंदी में पढ़िए)
Considering the current (3rd) generation Echo devices, the Echo Show 5 lies in the middle of the display-less Echo Dot and Echo Plus, and it’s significantly cheaper than the larger 10.1-inch Echo Show it precedes.
Exactly how much value does the 5.5-inch screen add to the smart home experience? Is the Amazon Echo Show 5 a good buy? We’ll answer these questions in our Echo Show 5 review.
Amazon Echo Show 5 specs and details
|Device||Amazon Echo Show 5|
|Dimensions||5.8” x 3.4” x 2.9”|
|Display||5.5-inch touch screen, 960 x 480 resolution|
|Audio||1.65” built-in speaker, 4-watt|
|Chipset||MediaTek MT 8163|
|Camera||1MP with a built-in cover|
|Buttons||Camera shutter slider, Volume up, Volume down, Mute|
|Ports||MicroUSB port, Power port, 3.5mm audio jack|
|Connectivity||Dual-band Wi-Fi supports 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi networks.|
|Charger||15W Adapter, 4.9 ft cable|
|Bluetooth||A2DP, AVRCP. (Hands-free control not supported for Mac OS X)|
|Warranty||Limited 1 Year warranty|
Amazon Echo Show 5 Review: Design and Build
The Echo Show 5 is a cute little smart display that’d make perfect sense on your nightstand or your study table, or pretty much any place you’d be viewing it at close quarters. And for such usage, the design is quite good.
When resting on a flat surface, the Echo Show 5 has a tilted 5.5-inch screen on the front and a triangular body balancing it. The rear surface has an inviting fabric exterior and conceals the single and downward-firing 1.65-inch, 4W speaker driver. The fabric might accumulate visible dirt stains over time, so don’t forget to dust it regularly. The Volume controls and microphone & camera mute button are present on the top edge.
Also on the top edge is a physical shutter toggle that can be used to hide the camera and physically block it from peeking through. Since software security backstops may fail, this is a very important measure for safeguarding user privacy. Privacy-conscious users may also delete their voice search history by using “delete everything I said today” voice command.
Google’s Nest Hub, that the Echo Show 5 will be up against, doesn’t need such slider since it’s missing the camera altogether.
Like all smart home speakers, Echo Show 5 also requires constant power input to operate. There’s also a headphone jack that you may use to connect Show 5 to other speakers using an aux cable. There’s a micro USB Port too, but that’s probably for developers.
Amazon Echo Show 5 Review: Display
If you upgraded your phone in the last two years, you most probably have a bigger and sharper screen on your mobile device. The 5.5-inch IPS LCD screen on the Echo Show 5 has 18:9 aspect ratio and a scanty 960 x 480-pixel resolution. However, contrary to what we had anticipated, this didn’t matter with practical usage.
You would mostly be watching the Echo Show 5 screen from a comfortable distance and for such usage, we weren’t really bothered by the display sharpness. If you ask us, the display size works better in the bedroom than the too-small Echo Spot screen and the too-big Echo Show (10.1-inch). The touch isn’t very responsive, but since you’d be mostly interacting using voice, this isn’t much of an annoyance.
The display dims itself depending on the ambient light, which means it isn’t distracting at all when you turn the lights off and turn in. Echo Show is also excellent as a Smart Alarm Clock. Sunlight alarm gradually increases the brightness of the screen in the last 15 minutes untill its time to wake up. You can customize background and clock faces and Amazon has added some pretty cool options to choose from.
The screen adds another dimension to your Alexa interactions and is quite useful. I noticed that I tend to use Smart Assistants a lot more when they have a display attached to them.
The display also makes it easier to control smart home devices. The Echo Show 5 has a Smart Home Dashboard that lets you access connected smart home devices, Alarms, etc. with a single swipe. And this is something we used quite frequently.
Amazon Echo Show 5 Review: Audio, Video, and Content
The 4-watt speaker might not please hardcore audiophiles but it should be apt for most people. The audio output is loud enough to fill a medium-size room. The audio quality is quite decent with crisp vocals and it’s also better than what you’d get on Lenovo Clock or on Google’s Nest Hub.
Considering the display size, we don’t think you’d want to use it for planned multimedia consumption, but just for checking out random stuff, short news clips – mostly tidbits Alexa pushes to the screen that catch your fancy.
Echo Show 5, or for that matter Alexa, can best fetch content from Amazon music and Prime Videos. Video content you get is fairly limited. Music streaming works really well and all popular apps including Hungama, Gaana, and Savan are supported. For videos, you can choose between content on Prime Videos or whatever you can get through Individual Amazon Skills (some of which are quite useful).
In this regard, the Nest Hub has an edge. You can straightaway cast from all popular apps to the Nest Hub display, and you wouldn’t run into as many roadblocks. Google Assistant is still a few generations ahead of Alexa when it comes to understanding Indian accent, Indian content, and even resolving contextual queries.
Besides, if like me you are used to storing your photos on Google cloud, the Photos integration makes Nest hub a far better Photo frame. The option is there on the Echo Show 5 too, but you will have to pick photos from Amazon account or Facebook feed.
I would have also appreciated a better integration with Amazon’s Fire TV Stick, another excellent Amazon product I use a lot. It was easier to get tasks done via Alexa on Fire TV stick than via Alexa on the Echo Show 5.
Amazon Echo Show 5 Review: Better than the Nest Hub?
The Echo Show 5 has been priced right and addresses a void in Amazon’s Echo lineup. It rightly serves the most popular use cases of smart displays and smart Assistant well and should be a very appealing choice for anyone who’s looking for a new Echo or looking for a hub for your smart home.
It’s not a display that I’d keep in my living room but makes perfect sense on the nightstand, where I frequently use it to adjust lighting, for reminders and for alarms. Amazon’s Skill ecosystem is also rapidly evolving, and these relevant Skills (to your specific needs) are what essentially makes Echo products meaningful.
Features like sunlight alarm and Smart Home dashboard cleverly leverage the display and make the Echo Show 5 a lot more useful than the Echo Spot that’s also currently available for a higher price.
One big reason to prefer Echo Show 5 over Google’s Nest Hub is better audio output. Streaming music is a primary use case for such smart assistants, and Echo Show 5 is simply better at it. Echo Show 5, however, isn’t as good for video content or for use as a Photo frame as the Nest Hub.
- Smart Home Dashboard
- Audio quality
- Appealing design
- Built-in camera shutter for privacy
- Great price
- Limited Video content
- Touch navigations aren’t intuitive
Amazon Echo Show 5 Quick Bytes
You can cast music from Prime music. The Echo Show 5 doesn’t support screen mirroring or casting videos to its screen.
Echo Spot is cuter, but Echo Show 5 is a lot better option in practice. Bigger screen, Smart home dashboard, and better audio output make the Echo Show 5 more useful.
That depends on a few things. The Echo Show 5 has a comparatively better audio output, which is a primary use case for such devices. If you fancy watching videos content on these small size smart displays, or if you are heavily invested in Google’s smart home ecosystem (Nest products, Chromecast, etc.) and services, the Nest Hub will be the better choice.
The display resolution feels really scanty on paper, but while using it we felt perfectly at home. The screen felt sharp enough for the content you’d be consuming on it and for the distance you’d be watching it from.