Smart displays are being more affordable, getting smaller, and more functional as well day by day. Here for you the Amazon Echo Spot has stood as our favorite bedside companion for over a year thanks to it’s price tag compared with the full-size Echo Show and its petite size.
And we have picked something from Amazon that offers another small-screen alternative in the form of the $89.99 Echo Show 5, it’s a 5.5-inch model which lacks the booming stereo speakers of the 10-inch, the original is $229.99, but it offers a terrific selection of Alexa voice assistant with touch-screen features for $40 less than the Echo Spot. Its value, features and functionality easily earn it our Editors’ Choice for small-screen smart displays.
We found that the Amazon Echo Show 5 looks like a very tinier version of the original model.
It’s dominated with angled fabric sides and by a touch screen that tilt the screen slightly upward. You can get it with a dark gray fabric sides and black frame, or with a light gray fabric sides and white frame. No matter the color, with a 5.5-inch, 960-by-480 screen, it’s measurement is 3.3 by 5.8 by 3.2 inches (HWD).
Google Nest Hub is notably bigger than it , which sports a 7-inch, 1,024-by-600 LCD, but noticeably it’s bit larger than the 4-inch, 800-by-480 Lenovo Smart Clock. The Echo Spot is still the smallest of the bunch depending on the amount of space available on your desk or nigh-stand, with a circular, 2.5-inch, 480-by-480 display.
With a camera at the top right corner, the touch screen is surrounded by a flush, 0.4-inch frame. The top edge of the Echo Show 5 features a mechanical switch and along with volume and mic mute buttons, the switch slides a privacy screen in place over the camera.
Between the buttons you will notice that the pinholes for the far-field microphones are also located on this edge. There is a micro USB port for service at the back, a connector for the included power adapter, and a 3.5mm audio output.
The entire device sits very nicely and quite securely on a large rubber foot, so the foot keeps it from shaking across the table. It’s very simple to setting up the Echo Show 5, and really doesn’t require the Alexa app like some other Alexa devices need.
It will ask for your Wi-Fi network when it starts up and prompt you to enter the password with its on-screen keyboard.
After that, the Amazon Echo Show 5 will ask you to sign into Amazon where you can set its location, give the Show a custom name, and check for updates on a regular basis. Once it’s updated and connected properly, you can start using it with the touch screen or voice commands.
The screen always displays the weather and time by default, rotating through news stories, forecasts, and suggestions for Alexa commands.
Swiping down from the top of the screen will show you icons for do not disturb mode, the settings menu, and home, along with a brightness slide.
The touch interface really becomes useful when you Swipe left from the right side of the screen, displaying a panel with buttons for Music, Communicate, Alarms, Routines, Video, and Smart Home. These buttons bring up simplified menus without talking to Alexa to access various features on the Echo Show 5. Alarms is amazingly self-explanatory, and it lets you enable and set alarms on the device.
Routines lets you toggle a series of automated functions on the Show and also activate and with any connected smart home devices.
However, you need to go through the Alexa app on your phone, if you want to make your own routines.
Communicate feature on the Amazon Echo Show 5 offers a series of options like making phone calls or Drop In video calls. Video feature on the Echo Show brings up Prime Video and other Echo Show-compatible video services (to be mentioned) you register through the Alexa app on your phone.
There we found that the Amazon Video showed up and the best part that we were also able to access NBC’s app through the menu. Their own on-screen menus, primarily text are featured by both video apps-based lists that will let you browse content by category and title.
Music only shows the most recent songs you played on the Echo Show. On the Smart Home Section, it displays your most recently used smart home devices, letting you control them with taps.
The Echo Show 5 can use Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant as a first-party Echo device to its full extent.
Functions include asking for general information, controlling smart home devices, setting alarms, and accessing Alexa’s thousands of third-party skills. Just all you need to say “Alexa,” (or “Echo,” “Computer,” or “Amazon,” if you change the wake word by using the Alexa mobile app), and give your customized voice command.
Requiring more precise language when issuing commands, Alexa feels stiffer to work with than Google Assistant. But you can do one thing that you can enable Follow-Up mode to give series of related commands or ask strings of related questions without needing to use the wake word each time.
You can make video or voice calls with the Echo Show 5, either with Amazon’s own Drop In messaging feature (Best Part is, it works with other Echo devices and the Alexa app), or if you link your accounts through the Alexa app, with Skype as well. The Amazon Echo Show 5 can also make direct phone calls to most North American numbers.
Alexa also lets you see your email inbox and calendar on the Echo Show 5, and also will tell you your next appointment when you ask. You can link your Google, Apple, Microsoft Exchange, and Microsoft accounts through the Alexa app, including support for G Suite accounts. Alexa can also open a Silk web browser for you and surf the web. It’s a helpful option that Google Assistant smart displays don’t offer though the 5.5-inch screen isn’t as sharp as most modern smartphones.
Covering all the major brands, Alexa has a massive list of compatible smart home devices. You can control your smart thermostats, smart lights, smart plugs, smart locks, and most other home automation devices or smart home gadgets with voice commands through the Amazon Echo Show 5.
You can see its video feed on the screen If you have a compatible home security camera or video doorbell, and even interact via two-way voice communication with the smart device. However, one thing to mention that unlike the Echo Show, the Echo Show 5 doesn’t have a built-in Zigbee hub, so if you plan to integrate Zigbee devices into your home, you’ll need a separate hub.
Video and Music playback through Alexa is naturally Amazon-centric that all found out, but there, some third-party services are also available. You can access Amazon Prime Music (with an Amazon Prime account) If you want to listen to music on the Echo Show, Amazon Music Unlimited, and Spotify with voice commands.
The full-size, Amazon Echo Show 5 impressed us with the clear and powerful sound its two 10-watt drivers can put out. The single 4-watt driver in the Amazon Echo Show 5 is less compelling though that’s to be expected given the price.
As such, like in our bass test track, it struggles with powerful bass, The Knife’s “Silent Shout.” The kick drum hits distort at maximum volume and the bass synth notes sound hollow, which really doesn’t make very powerful sound to begin with. Like Yes’ “Roundabout,” music with less extreme bass, sounds much better on the Amazon Echo Show 5.
Listening to music streamed over unfortunately Bluetooth sounds much worse. The mix becomes plagued with Bluetooth artifacts and the detail in the string plucks disappear. Make sure it’s available on one of the compatible streaming services If you want to listen to music on the Echo Show.
And the Echo Show 5 sounds far better than the $80 Lenovo Smart Clock, on a positive note. The 5.5-inch display is fine for the video. It’s sharp considering its 480p resolution and reasonably colorful, though it isn’t particularly vivid or bright. The Echo Show 5’s larger of course and the rectangular screen is much easier and comfortable as well to watch video on than the Echo Spot’s circular display, which is very obviously not intended to be much more than a clock and is downright tiny.
The Amazon Echo Show 5 is a fantastic little smart display and with a more useful (though slightly larger) design, it offers loads of features, than the Echo Spot.
Offering handy voice assistant commands, it fills the niche for worthwhile sub-$100 smart displays and a functional touch screen for less than the regular price of a screen-less Echo Plus speaker. Which the Echo Show 5 far outpaces in performance and functionality, Its only real competitor in this category is the disappointing Lenovo Smart Clock.
And even it has a better screen than the Echo Spot and superior audio to the Google Nest Hub, both of them cost over $100. And it can easily fit on any shelf, counter, or desk, knocking the Echo Spot off of its distinguished night-stand since our ideal bedside smart display to earn our Editors’ Choice.
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