The Show 5 (second-gen) is one of several new touchscreen displays from Amazon this year, including the all-new Echo Show 5 (second-gen) Kids edition and the recently-revamped Echo Show 8 (second-gen). This is the first time that Amazon has refreshed the Echo Show 5 since 2019, but the upgrades are minimal between the first and second-gen models. (Even the processor is the same.) However, if you’re on the hunt for a compact Alexa display and don’t already have one, the new Echo Show 5 is worth a look.
About the Amazon Echo Show 5 (second-gen)
- Price: $89.99
- Colors: Charcoal, Deep Sea Blue, Glacier White
- Camera: 2 MP
- Connectivity: 2.4GHz and 5GHz dual-band Wi-Fi, 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 second-gen Show 5 comes with a white power adapter (15W) that spans about five feet in length. Plug the cord into the display, connect it to the internet, and follow the on-screen prompts to complete the setup process. Swipe down from the top of the screen to access your device settings, adjust the screen brightness, and activate do not disturb. Swiping left pulls up the control center for any connected smart home devices. There, you can also set alarms and timers, play videos and music, discover new Alexa features, and access Alexa Communication.
What we like
A front-facing camera with an integrated privacy shutter
The biggest improvement to the Show 5 is the camera’s jump from 1 megapixel to 2 megapixels. I tested the first-gen and second-gen side-by-side during a round of video calls to friends, though the differences between the two displays are hardly noticeable. The second-gen is just ever-so-slightly sharper and clearer than the first-gen, but I had to really look to tell the difference. The minor improvements do make for better video calls using services like Zoom and Skype.
The built-in camera also works as an indoor home security camera with access to the live video feed and audio in the Amazon Alexa app. If another member of your household pulls up the camera’s live stream, a short message will appear on the Show 5’s screen to let you know someone is watching. The mic and camera can be disabled using the integrated camera shutter privacy controls on the top of the device. Alternatively, you can shut off the camera in the Amazon Alexa app.
Great entertainment features
The first-gen Echo Show 5 makes the perfect desk assistant to keep you company during long workdays, and the second-gen is no different. Its compact size means it won’t take up much real estate on your desk, bookshelf, or end table. It’s loaded with music streaming services like Apple Music, Spotify, and Amazon Music. You can also stream shows from the likes of Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, and more. Additionally, the display supports podcasts. All you have to do is ask Alexa to play your song, show, or podcast and it will instantly begin. The tiny display also functions as a digital picture frame, pulling in photos from your connected Facebook or Amazon Photos account. Needless to say, there’s a lot you can do with the new Echo Show 5 to keep yourself entertained, but it’s nothing that the original model can’t do.
Sustainable design with energy-monitoring features
Amazon has refreshed the Echo Show 5 for the first time since 2019. From top to bottom, it's made from post-consumer cycled plastics and fabrics. There's also a new low-power mode to help conserve energy when the device is not in use. You can keep tabs on the energy usage of your Alexa-connected devices, including the new Show 5, in the energy dashboard area of the Amazon Alexa app.
What we don’t like
No native YouTube integration
Trying to watch a YouTube video on the Show 5 is a bit of a frustrating experience. Because there is no YouTube app available for Echo displays, you’re forced into searching and viewing them via the Amazon Silk web browser. Instead of Alexa voice control, you’re limited to scrolling through the list of videos and selecting the one you want to watch. For comparison’s sake, the YouTube experience is much more seamless with a Google smart display like the Nest Hub Max, which supports the YouTube and YouTube TV apps. But the Show 5 does support Twitch. All you need to do is enabled the Twitch Skill for Alexa in the Amazon Alexa app and you're set.
The verdict is still out on Amazon Sidewalk
There’s a lot of buzz around Amazon Sidewalk, the newly-launched neighborhood Wi-Fi sharing network that slices and dices bits of your internet’s bandwidth and shares them with other nearby Echo and Ring devices to create one massive low-bandwidth wireless network. The goal is to extend the range of certain Sidewalk-compatible devices that only work when connected to Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, and it's available on all Echo Show displays including the new second-gen Show 5 and original version.
In theory, it sounds like a potentially useful feature, but, in reality, it’s too soon to tell how secure the network may be. Amazon has attempted to assure users, through a published white paper, that Sidewalk is safe to use. But there are always inherent risks when it comes to connected devices and your privacy, and there’s no harm in waiting to see how Sidewalk plays out in the months to come.
The good news is the feature is optional. During setup, you’ll have the choice to opt-in or opt-out. You can also adjust your Amazon Sidewalk preferences by swiping down from the top of the Show 5 and navigating to the Settings area or in the Amazon Alexa app.
No audio jack
The new Echo Show 5 lacks a 3.5 audio jack, which the original version offers. This isn't a deal-breaking feature for me, but it might be for users who were hoping to directly connect external speakers to the Show 5.
There are always inherent privacy risks when using an internet-connected device at home, especially those with cameras. Like the first-gen Echo Show 5 comes, the second-gen with a physical shutter that covers the camera, giving extra peace of mind knowing the camera can’t see you when it's enabled. There’s also a separate mic-mute button on the top of the device, just like the first iteration. When pressed, a red line appears across the bottom of the screen letting you know that Alexa isn’t listening. The camera can also be disabled remotely in the Amazon Alexa app. Additionally, you can review and delete your Alexa voice recordings at any time.
Should you buy it?
Yes, but only if it goes on sale
The only real reason to buy the new Echo Show 5 is if you fancy one of the new color schemes or want access to a (marginally) better built-in camera. The camera could be a worthy upgrade if you’re in and out of video calls all day long, but we didn’t notice a huge difference in the overall quality. If you need an Echo display with fantastic video quality, check out the 13-megapixel Echo Show 10. We also like the Show’s sustainable design and energy-efficient features, but that’s certainly no reason to rush out and buy one, especially if you already have a first-gen Echo Show 5 at home.
Considering the camera is the only noteworthy upgrade on the new version, we’d recommend sticking with the original model if you need a compact Alexa smart display. Let’s not forget that the first-gen also has an audio jack, something you won’t find on the second-gen model. Amazon typically phases out old devices when a new model becomes available. Part of that process usually includes discounts on the previous generation. The tech giant has already dropped the price on the Echo Show 5 (first-gen), offering a lot of value for anyone who doesn’t mind a slightly lower-quality camera.
But if you’re all in on buying the second-gen Echo Show 5 and checking it out for yourself, you can save some money by taking advantage of Amazon's Echo device trade-in program, where you can earn an Amazon gift card and 25% off a new qualifying Echo (like the second-gen Show 5).
Otherwise, we’d recommend sticking with the first-gen Echo Show 5 until the newer version goes on sale.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Meet the tester
Senior Staff Writer@rachel_murphy
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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