Full Alexa capabilities
Integrated camera cover
None that we could find
About the Echo Show 5
Here's a look at the Echo Show 5's main specs:
- Price: $89.99
- Colors: Charcoal and Sandstone
- Connectivity: 2.4GHz and 5GHz dual-band WiFi, Bluetooth
- Smart assistants: Amazon Alexa
- Dimensions: 5.8” H x 3.4” W x 2.9” D
- Screen: 5.5 inches and 960 x 480 resolution
The Echo Show 5 is great for tight spaces like desks, nightstands, and other books of the home. It comes with a front-facing camera so you can video chat with friends and family. The screen is bright and the resolution, while lower than other small smart displays, is pretty sharp given its petite size. Speaking of the screen, it's easy to navigate, and we love being able to stream Alexa-compatible smart cameras right on the screen.
The screen also features a Smart Home control panel, which makes it easy to manage your own smart home with Alexa. However, since Amazon owns Echo devices, that means there's no option for Google Assistant—only Alexa. (While there are differences between the two smart assistants, they are fairly similar in terms of what they can do.)
Aside from smart features, the Echo Show 5 supports music streaming services like Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music, and Pandora. You can also catch up on all those books you've been meaning to read by signing up for an Audible membership.
The small screen isn't ideal for watching lengthy shows or movies, but if you just want to mindlessly stream something while you work (I recommend The Good Place or Brooklyn Nine-Nine on Hulu), you can do so thanks to support for Hulu, Prime Video, Vimeo, and YouTube, though there's no Netflix support at present. In addition, YouTube videos are shown in the Firefox browser, which is a bit tricky to navigate.
What we like
Perfectly-sized for small spaces
The Echo Show 5 is one of the smallest smart displays from Amazon—and that’s part of what makes it so great. It takes up minimal real estate on my desk and would work well in other small areas of the home like an office bookshelf or a bedroom nightstand. I did, however, find it a little difficult to cook with due to the small screen. Between the ingredients, recipe instructions, and photos, there's a lot of information presented on the display and this is one area where a larger screen would make cooking with Alexa so much easier. This isn't a dealbreaker by any means, but it's worth noting if you plan to cook with the Echo Show 5.
Good sound for a small device
The Echo Show 5 comes with a 3.5 mm stereo audio output to use with other speakers and it also functions as a Bluetooth speaker in its own right. I was able to stream Apple Music and listen to Apple podcasts with no problems at all.
The sound quality is pretty good given the size of the 1.65-inch speaker and is comparable to that of an Amazon Echo Dot. Of course, a smart speaker like the Bose Home Speaker 300 is going to put out more powerful sound. But the Echo Show 5 puts out enough quality sound for a small space, and I especially liked using it to catch up on the news and my favorite podcasts during my workday.
Privacy features that make me feel good
One big difference between Amazon’s Echo Show 5 and Google's Nest Hub Max is the camera shutter (and lack thereof respectively). Each smart display has a built-in, front-facing camera. While the camera can be turned on and off for both displays, the Echo Show 5 comes with a physical shutter that covers the camera unlike the Nest Hub Max (similar to covering up a webcam). This gives extra peace of mind knowing the camera can’t see you.
There’s also a separate mic-mute button on the top of the Echo Show 5. When pressed, a red line appears across the bottom of the screen letting you know that Alexa isn’t listening.
Easy smart home control
The Echo Show 5 has a handy smart control panel that appears when swiping left on the screen. It shows you all of your recently used smart devices connected to Alexa (which is handy if you want to do things like turn on the lights without using your voice during a Zoom call). You can also view and control any device groups you've previously created.
What we don’t like
No support for Netflix
While I'm glad popular streaming services like Hulu and Prime Video are available to watch on the Echo Show 5, Netflix support would be nice. This is one area where Google, which recently added Netflix to its line of Nest smart screens, has a leg up on Amazon.
Should you buy it?
If you want a compact smart display, definitely
The Echo Show 5 offers a lot of value for what it is. It can be used as a Bluetooth speaker to stream music and podcasts, check in on your home security cameras, video chat with friends and family, and more. If you’re looking for a new gadget to jazz up your desk, the Echo Show 5 is a great addition.
My only real gripe is that the $90 price tag feels a bit steep for the size. However, Amazon is notorious for marking down its own devices on a fairly frequent basis, so I’d recommend buying the Echo Show 5 on sale.
Otherwise, you may also want to give the Echo Show 8 a look. It retails for $129.99, but you can typically find it on Amazon for around $100. For just a little more money, you get an 8-inch screen with better resolution (1280 x 800 pixels). But if all you need is a small touch screen/smart speaker for your desk or nightstand, the Echo Show 5 is the way to go.
If you’re new to smart home you should know that the only smart assistant compatible with Echo devices is Amazon Alexa. If you’re looking for a similar smart display that works with Google Assistant, check out the Nest Hub. It retails for the same price ($89.99 MSRP) as the Echo Show 5 but has a larger screen (7 inches) and is comparable in functionality.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Meet the tester
Rachel Murphy covers smart home for Reviewed. She holds a journalism degree from the University of Central Florida. Previously, she worked as a freelance writer for several major outlets and as an associate editorial producer for ABC News' Good Morning America.
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