Man and child looking at Amazon Echo Show
While Amazon typically announces new products in the fall, the smart home space is currently in flux and news broke on a new Amazon Echo Show coming soon. In a break from the norm, the company has just announced the looming arrival of Echo Show 5. This is the third iteration of their smart display. If you’re confused about the number 5 in the name, that refers to the scaled-down size of the display. This brings it in at half the heft of Echo Show 2 and caters to a different market. As always, Amazon keeps things fresh and continues to build out its impressive line of Alexa-enabled devices. You can pre-order the Echo Show 5 now. The new device goes on sale starting June 26. If you move quickly, you can take advantage of several deals. It’s possible to pick up a pair of the incoming smart displays for less than the price of the outgoing second-generation Echo Show. To get going, here’s a glimpse at the primary features, so you have a better idea of what the lightweight newcomer has to offer:

Core Features

  • Display: 5.5-inch (960 x 480)
  • Dimensions: 5.8 x 3.4 x 2.9 inches
  • Weight: 14.5oz
  • Speaker: Single 4-watt driver
  • Camera: 1-megapixel camera
  • Calling: Hands-free video calls with Drop-In
  • Alexa: 80,000 skills
  • Camera: Physical privacy shutter
  • Mic: Disable with button

Echo Show 5: What Does It Look Like?

As usual with Amazon, your color choice is limited to a charcoal and sandstone model. That said, the difference between the models is significant depending on whether you go the light or dark route. In place of the 10-inch touchscreen on Echo Show 2, this third iteration has a 5-inch screen which we’ll explore below. Dimensions have also decreased significantly—roughly half the size all around and weighing under 15oz. Compared to the hefty 62oz big screen model, Echo Show 5 does a better job of blending in, rather than dominating the tabletop. If you prefer your display a bit more angled, you’ll be able to purchase a magnetic stand. How does this new slimline form impact the display, though?

Why the Smaller 5-Inch Display?

You might be wondering why the newest Amazon Echo Show has a reduced screen size? Surely, bigger is better? Not necessarily. Many people are specifically looking for smaller devices, and Amazon always aims to corner every market segment. The breadth of their Echo range is already broader and deeper than anything offered by their competitors. However, the company is still pushing hard to catch up with Google because, for the first time, Google Assistant is outselling Alexa. In our next post, we’ll be looking at the all-new Lenovo smart alarm with a mini display. Plenty of other manufacturers are also vying for a piece of this very lucrative pie. You see, with smart speakers and smart displays, the device itself is often almost a loss leader. This was actually the case over holiday periods when Amazon sold Echo devices at an actual loss amounting to tens of millions of dollars. Why is this? Simply because opting for one digital assistant leads to purchasing more products from the manufacturer. The underlying mission is to lock you into their ecosystem, and it’s a mission that has successfully played out thus far. I'm sure you're wondering if the smaller screen impacts performance, so let's begin to answer that for you.

Screen Specs

Resolution is down from 1280 x 800 HD on Echo Show 2 to 960 x 480. The size has halved to 5-½ inches diagonally. This is certainly less than ideal for a full movie, but with good reason. After all, with this kind of device, you’re more likely to pull up a recipe or watch a quick YouTube clip rather than binge on Netflix. Amazon describes the display as the perfect size for “glanceable entertainment,” which is an accurate statement. With ambient lighting, the screen will automatically adjust itself in line with the conditions. The overall aesthetic is remarkably similar to Google Nest Hub. Amazon has trumped the mighty G by including a camera, even if it's just a single camera rated at 1 megapixel. Amazon’s senior vice president Tom Taylor says the new model is ideal for “a bedside table,” but this opens up a can of worms. And that can of worms, in a word, is privacy. Let’s face it, with Amazon’s recent track record of privacy breaches with Alexa, many consumers are understandably wary. Maybe you’ll be more inclined to invite an always-on device into your room once you know you can turn it off.

The Privacy Issue

If you have even the slightest concerns, we’d advise you not to place a listening-enabled device in your bedroom, especially one with a screen. After all, your bedroom is a place of sanctuary, and if you have an unwavering feeling about someone potentially watching or listening, you might not get the sleep you need. If you have a more open mind about privacy issues, Amazon has gone out of their way to offer consumers just what they’ve been looking for. There’s a physical camera shutter in place on Echo 5. This means you can create a virtual blindfold yourself and don't have to worry about Alexa watching. How about Alexa eavesdropping, though? You can take care of that with a physical button to disable the microphone. An indicator accompanies this so you can be sure nothing is streaming to the cloud.

Enhanced Ease of Deleting Commands

Another critical improvement concerns the way you delete recordings. You’ll no longer need to laboriously delete these by hand. Simply ask your virtual butler to do the dirty work. Tech Radar reported instances of Amazons workers listening in to private conversations, which has left consumer antennae raised. In response, the company has hit back with an effective way to clear your tracks. You are able to command Alexa to delete all your commands for the day. You can also choose to simply delete the most recent instructions. On top of this, you’ll also have the ability to limit the data you share with Alexa skills. You can opt out of sharing voice data for any forthcoming features, too. All of this combines to give you a far greater feeling of control and security. We’re still waiting to see what Amazon comes up with in regards to their promise of being more transparent about how they're using your data. Watch this space for an update. And if you do choose to invite Alexa into the bedroom, you will have the luxury of a built-in alarm. The display will begin to brighten and you’ll wake up to an animated sunrise. This might be enough to wake you up, but if it's not, a traditional alarm kicks in to get you up for work. Once you’re up, you’ll be able to use Echo Show 5, as with all Echo devices, for robust control of other devices in your connected home.

Take Charge of Your Smart Devices Hands-Free

For most people, smart home control is the primary reason for purchasing either a smart display or a smart speaker. These mini devices do come up short in some areas, with underwhelming audio and mediocre screens on all but the highest-priced models— however, the excel in allowing you to control other compatible devices hands-free. Although smart home control is enhanced, you won’t get the integrated Zigbee hub featured on the previous version of the Amazon Echo Show. That said, if you’re planning to fully automate your home, a hub is an essential rather than a luxury. If you’re looking for advice on the best third-party hubs, we took a detailed look at that right here. Echo Show 5 packs the new dashboard that’s now coming to all Echo smart displays. This gives you the chance to use the touchscreen as well as voice commands for smart home control. If you’ve got older family members or anyone in the house not comfortable speaking to a device, this extra layer of control is a valuable add-on. As you’d expect, interoperability with other smart devices across most of the major brands is impressive. If you don’t have much in terms of a smart home kit, and you’re looking to get started economically, you can pick up an Amazon Echo Show 5 along with the Ring Video Doorbell Pro.

What Else Rates a Mention?

Audio is acceptable and lives up to Amazon’s claim of “crisp full sound.” It’s not likely to be used as a primary listening device for a house party and the bass has a little less punch than the low-end heavy Echo Show 2, but the soundscape is more than adequate. The single full-range driver is rated at 4 watts so, if you keep your expectations reasonable, this smart display makes an excellent streaming device. When you’re not using Echo Show 5, you can turn it into an impromptu digital frame by displaying your favorite photos. You can link the device to Facebook, too. This enables you to create a vivid slideshow. You’ll be free to make video calls to anyone with an Echo Show or Echo Spot. You’ll also be able to place calls to anyone with the Alexa app and you can use Skype, too. The trademark Drop-In feature gives you instant access to trusted contacts, whether it be friends or family.

Amazon Echo Show 5: Key Benefits

  • A space-saving design ideal for use in the bedroom or slipping onto a crowded shelf in the living room
  • 5 ½-inch display adds a welcome visual layer and works well for quick video clips
  • Use 2.4GHz or 5GHz WiFi so perfect for homes with dual-band networks
  • Thorough hands-free control of other compatible smart devices along with the option of touchscreen control for further flexibility
  • Hands-free video calling between Echo smart displays or using the app
  • Skype functionality to further broaden your scope of comms
  • Privacy overhauled so you can benefit from a shutter for the camera and a physical button to disable the mic

Final Word

Amazon Echo Show 5 makes a reliable choice if you’re looking for a secondary smart display or you want something compact enough to slot onto your bedside table without dominating the space. We’ll report back once we’ve had chance to put this all-new smart display through its paces, but today we just wanted to give you a sneak preview so you can treat yourself to something new for summer. If you fancy grabbing yourself an even better bargain, why not sign up for our email newsletter? As a new customer, you’ll qualify for a 20% discount off your first order so why not do that in time for June 26? Come back soon for more of the latest smart home news. We update our blog daily with the latest smart home updates and more!
Voice assistants

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