Amazon Echo Show v Echo Show 5: What are the differences?

We help you decide between the two display-packing Echo speakers

Echo Show 5 vs Echo Show
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Amazon now has a veritable tsunami of smart speakers available for you to buy - but perhaps two of the hardest to choose between are the Echo Show and Echo Show 5.

As the names suggest, there's not much to split between these two smart displays, with both sitting in the same sub-family of speakers powered by Alexa. However, there are a few crucial differences to be aware of, if you're interested in picking either one up.

The Ambient's verdict: Echo Show review | Echo Show 5 review

Below, we'll be comparing the two devices in their design, features and price, helping you decide which is better suited to your smart home.

Amazon Echo Show vs Echo Show 5: What are the differences?

Amazon Echo Show v Echo Show 5: Design

While bearing a similar name, the Echo Show 5 actually represents a relatively distinct design departure from its bigger sibling. Not simply a shrunk down version of the regular, second-gen Echo Show, the 5 offers more of a squat, flat build. That said, it does house the same chunky speaker section in the rear.

The newer Show 5 has a screen size that comes in at 5.5-inches, offering a resolution of 960 x 480. In full, the size specs of the Show 5 are 148mm x 80mm x 73mm, with ports for the power, Micro USB cables and a 3.5mm audio jack sitting in the rear. In comparison, the Echo Show offers a much bigger screen, measuring 10.1-inches and pumping out pixels at 1280 x 800. And, naturally, the overall space it takes up is bigger, too, with the full specs resting at 246mm x 174mm x 107mm.

Amazon Echo Show 5
Amazon Echo Show 5

Interestingly, from a privacy perspective, both come with HD cameras built in above the screen, though only the Echo Show 5 comes with a camera shutter - making it an ideal candidate to replace the Echo Spot on your bedside table. However, both devices, in our view, are solid-looking speakers that can be placed pretty much anywhere in the home. They're certainly a big upgrade on the original Echo in the design department, that's for sure.

And even that rear section we mentioned above isn't simply dead weight, adding ample sound quality on both. Naturally, with the regular Echo Show being the bigger of the two, it offers much better sound. Housing dual 2-inch drivers and a passive bass radiator, we've found it to be an experience that's good enough for general music playback in any room - and it's probably just about good enough for most people to make it their main speaker. It's similar with the Echo Show 5, which is a big upgrade over the Spot and surprisingly rich, though it does lack considerably on bass, in comparison. Perfect for a bedroom or worktop, but probably not as your main speaker in the living room.

Amazon Echo Show vs Echo Show 5: What are the differences?

Amazon Echo Show v Echo Show 5: Features

Since both of these smart displays work from the same platform, there's not an overwhelming amount of difference to note.

At the base level, the voice assistant inside both speakers will answer your queries, keep track of reminders and alarms and even show you a live feed from compatible smart cameras and doorbells. Featuring on both are also new ways to delete your voice recordings - saying something like, "Alexa, delete everything I said today" will now see all your recordings wiped.

Amazon Echo Show
Amazon Echo Show

The biggest difference? The Echo Show 5's lack of a Zigbee chip. This means, unlike on the regular Show, you can't use it as a smart hub and connect external devices for your home (such as Philips Hue lightbulbs). It can still link and control them through the power of Alexa, but it doesn't forego the need for additional third-party hubs.

Aside from that, the software on-board is essentially the same, but shrunk. Echo Show Skills still need to improve on both Show devices, but you can access Amazon's own features, such as Prime Video, Alexa calling and Routines, and still tap into third-party services, like Spotify and Apple Music.

Amazon Echo Show vs Echo Show 5: What are the differences?

Amazon Echo Show v Echo Show 5: Price

The Amazon Echo Show 5 is on sale for $89.99, which puts it at a much cheaper price point than the $229.99 Echo Show - and even the older (and now essentially redundant) Echo Spot ($129.99).

It makes the Echo Show 5 the cheapest way to get Alexa on a smart display, and also probably the best for those who want something on their bedside table.

Amazon Echo Show v Echo Show 5: Which is best?

If you're looking for an Alexa speaker with a display, you can't go wrong with either the Echo Show or Echo Show 5. However, they do fit two different kinds of buyer.

For those who want a device to act as their smart home hub, pump out respectable sound and don't mind it taking up a considerable bit of space on the shelf or kitchen counter, the standard Echo Show is the perfect device - providing you can muster the outlay.

The Show 5 ticks some of the same boxes, but ultimately falls into a different category. This isn't a smart home commander or a premium speaker like its bigger sibling, though it can still act as a more affordable alternative and a great way to get the voice assistant in your bedroom. Almost like the Echo Dot experience, but with a screen.

In our full reviews, we recommended both of these devices, but be sure to head over to both in-depth breakdowns to make sure you know exactly what you're getting yourself in for.

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