Amazon has been steadily building upon their Alexa ecosystem with products ranging from a donut sized speakers to a much more hefty unit. Now we have a new member in the family, called the Echo Show 5 which seems like an Echo dot slapped with a display. This is a relatively smaller version of the Echo Show which launched a while back.

The new Echo Show 5 is aimed at people who were skeptical of the larger model with the hefty price but still want to invest in the ecosystem. We have been using the Echo Show 5 for a week now, and here’s our full review.

Box Contents

  • Amazon Echo Show 5
  • Wall adapter
  • Documentation

Design

Design-wise the new Echo Show 5 is similar to its older sibling, with the same aesthetics and material choices. The front houses the 5.5-inch display with the single speaker unit placed on the back. While construction is done in high-quality plastic while the back is covered in a really plush fabric. Just like the other Echo device, this one is also available in two color choices and goes well with the decor.

The screen has an 18:9 aspect ratio and a resolution of 960×480 pixels, which is a lot smaller and more compact. The smaller size makes the Echo Show 5 work as a bedside clock with off-course smart features. It is good for displaying the weather and providing visual cues such as track name and album art when listening to music. Moving on, you get three buttons at the top — one to activate or disable the microphones, and two to control the volume.

There is a 1-megapixel camera on the top corner of the display with a dedicated slider switch to tackle the privacy concerns. Now, this physical switch vanishes the possibility of Echo show 5 recording something it shouldn’t. There are two microphones at the top of the Echo Show 5. The back houses the round power socket, a 3.5mm audio-out jack, and a Micro-USB port.

Performance

Echo Show 5 brings all the jazz of the Alexa ecosystem and more. Now you not only can listen to stuff but visually interact as well. The menu is laid out nicely with some clock faces in order to blend this with the decor. As with the bigger sibling, the Amazon Echo Show 5 lets you make video calls, can play videos using the built-in browser, and watch TV shows and movies on Amazon Prime Video. There is also the Prime Music app that displays lyrics of tracks currently being played which is nifty.

As previously mentioned, you can choose from various clock faces for the Echo Show 5 but the device will randomly show Alexa tips and news flashes randomly when in standby mode, perhaps Amazon might give you the ability to add photos onto here in the future updates.

Coming to the sound quality, the Echo Show 5 comes equipped with a single 1.65-inch speaker which is similar in size to the Gen 3 Echo Dot. The speaker gets pretty loud and can easily fill a mid-sized room. Since its a downward-facing speaker, there is some halo effect going on, so for the best sound experience, we would recommend you sit in front of the speaker. The speaker is good for casual listening sessions but don’t expect some high-level audio coming out of it.

There is an equalizer in the Alexa app using which you can tweak the sound signature but in our tests we found out that the bass was a little too boomy, while the mid and high frequencies were clear enough that you could easily enjoy podcasts, listening to radio stations and chatting up with Alexa.

You don’t get the Zigbee smart home interface as on the larger Echo Show, this means you miss out on the smart home hub and its ability to add/control multiple IoT products. But you still can control IOT products that do not need a hub like the Yeelight Smart bulb which worked quite well in our case.

Verdict – Should you buy it?

If you are looking to invest in an affordable smart display, then Amazon Echo Show 5 is the best option you’ve got right now. It packs all the basic features that you would like with a decent speaker. Though in order to keep the cost low, there have been some corner cut like the bass-heavy speaker, no hub integration.

There are simply not any similar products especially in this price segment, but if you are looking for a richer sound and other add-on feature, there is always the older Echo Show available in the market.