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One of my favorite Alexa devices is the Amazon Echo Show 2nd Generation. Lately, I’ve been thinking about adding a smaller Show 5 to my bedstand, and this got me wondering about the differences between the devices, so I did a bunch of research.
Here’s a summary:
The major differences between Echo Show 5 vs 2nd Gen are Echo Show 2nd Gen has a larger 10.1″ screen vs Show 5’s 5.5″ screen and Show 5 has a lower-resolution camera. The Echo Show 2nd Gen also includes a Zigbee hub where Show 5 does not; however, Show 5 includes a camera privacy shutter lacking on 2nd Gen.
In the rest of this post, I will review these differences in more detail. I will also talk about some key similarities as well as a few things you might not know about privacy, Alexa skills, the Zigbee Hub, and more.
Echo Show 5 vs 2nd Gen: Showdown!
While Amazon’s naming convention for its smallest Echo Show to date has confused some critics, I get it. The “5” matches the smaller five-inch screen size.
One thing’s for sure. Amazon’s new Echo Show line has been making Google grumpy.
The new eight-inch and five-inch models are closer in size to Google’s Nest Hub (7-inch screen), with more features (like a high-def camera and video calls), for a markedly lower price.
I will get into all of the similarities and differences between Echo Show 5 vs 2nd Gen, so let’s start with that. I will then “show” you a detailed comparison table comparing the two. Sound like a plan?
Let’s get into this!
Quick Comparison: Echo Show 5 vs 2nd Gen
I’ll do a quick comparison table next, then I’ll break each of the similarities and differences down in more detail in this post.
Last update on 11/24/2023 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Differences and Similarities
While the smaller Show 5 is similar to Amazon’s 2nd-Gen Show in many ways, here are the key differences between Echo Show 5 vs 2nd Gen:
- #1: Echo Show 2nd Gen Has A Larger 10″ Screen
- #2: Show 5 Has a Lower Resolution Screen (But It Doesn’t Matter)
- #3: Show 5 Has Lower Resolution Camera (It Matters a Little)
- #4: 2nd Gen Includes a Zigbee Hub (It Might Matter)
- #5: Show 5 Has Some Additional Privacy Features (Nice!)
There are also some similarities between the Echo Show 5 vs 2nd Gen, they are:
- #1: You Get Everything Alexa
- #2: Vibrant Crisp Screen
- #3: Cool Camera and Video Calls
- #4: Awesome Sound
- #5: Really Needs a Stand
Note: You can click on any link in the list above to jump down to by write-up for that item.
The first and most obvious item to look at in comparing Echo Show 5 vs 2nd Gen is the screen.
As mentioned earlier, the smaller screen design of the new Show was no doubt intended to take a bite out of Google Nest Hub (talk about branding overkill).
The fight for overall smart speaker market share continues to heat up with Amazon Echo Show outpacing Google’s Nest Hub by almost triple—3.0% vs 1.2% of the total smart speaker market respectively [source VisualCapitalist].
For me, bigger is better and I love the giant 10.1-inch screen on my Echo Show 2nd Generation. But that is because I have it in a prominent spot in my kitchen and it is the Hub of that room.
When considering the new 5.5″ screen on the Echo Show 5, I guess it depends on where you are going to put it and how you are going to use it.
Show 5 would make a really good nightstand companion, I think. And with the latest technology from Amazon, a better screen, and a lower price, I think it would be a nice upgrade to the Echo Spot I currently have on my nightstand.
📚Related: Echo Show vs Spot: Is Bigger Better?
Anyone who doesn’t know better might look at the Echo Show 5’s 960 x 480 resolution as a negative over the Echo Show 2nd Generation’s 1280 x 800 res. This is not the case. These screens deliver a super vibrant and crisp picture that is nearly identical in quality.
The resolution on the Echo Show 5 is actually a little better as the smaller screen gives the appearance of ever-so-slightly better quality. It is smaller, sure. But that’s the point.
The third item to consider when comparing Echo Show 5 vs 2nd Gen is the camera.
So the camera on the Echo Show 5 is 1 MP vs 5 PM on the Echo Show 2nd Generation.
Again, with the smaller screen, when it comes to video, the difference is negligible on the smaller screen. This will also largely depend on the source of your video feed.
If you plan to take photos using the Show 5, the quality will be 1 MP vs 2nd-Gen’s 5 MP (not as nice if you move them to a different device or want to make prints). But they look great on the Echo Show 5′ small screen.
By the way, if you haven’t seen it the photo app for the Show is cool. It has three different camera options, including a sticker mode. Try it the next time you have a party. It’s like your very own personal photo booth!
📚Related: 9 Best Echo Show Cameras
If you have already invested heavily in Zigbee devices that require the Zigbee Hub, the fact that Amazon didn’t include the Hub in the Echo Show 5 will be a bummer. If you’re interested in learning more about Zigbee, there is a nice explanation here [source: The Ambient].
Currently, the built-in Hub is installed in Amazon Echo Plus and the Echo Show 2nd Generation devices. Devices that require a Zigbee Hub [or Zigbee Certified hubs such as those from Samsung SmartThings and Wink] won’t be compatible with the Echo Show 5.
BUT more and more devices are moving away from Hub-based control. Many popular smart lights, like Lifx color bulbs, no longer require a Hub, where that was not the case a few years ago.
One of our favorite devices that do not require a Hub is the Wyze Cam. Amazon has a nice bundle deal that includes the Wyze Cam with the Echo Show 5. Here’s a link to it over at Amazon.
Thanks to ModernDad for the helpful video review of the Echo Show 5.
And yeah, ModernDad we were wondering about the fate of the Echo Spot too. It is still “cuter” than the Echo Shows, IMHO.
Echo Show 5 vs 2nd Gen: Privacy Features
When comparing Echo Show 5 vs 2nd Gen privacy features, Show 5 is the winner.
Amazon’s press release announcing the Echo 5 emphasizes the Show’s new privacy features.
- A new button to turn off its microphone and camera
- A visual indicator that shows when audio or video is streaming to the cloud
- A shutter that can cover the camera’s lens without disabling the ability to speak to its Alexa digital assistant
Note: This is not built into the 2nd-Generation Show but you can get a camera cover for it on Amazon.
- Easier ways to delete voice recordings [on all Echo devices]
From Amazon’s press release:
Echo devices are built with multiple layers of privacy protection. As with all Echo Show devices, the new Echo Show 5 includes a microphone/camera off button that electronically disconnects both the microphone and camera and a clear visual indicator that shows when audio or video is streaming to the cloud.
Plus, Echo Show 5 has a built-in camera shutter so you can easily cover the camera while still being able to talk to Alexa.
Amazon is also introducing new, even easier ways to delete your voice recordings on all Alexa-enabled devices—say, “Alexa, delete everything I said today” and the respective recordings will be deleted.
Coming soon, customers will also be able to delete their last request by saying, “Alexa, delete what I just said.” The new Alexa Privacy Hub also offers a single source of information on how Echo devices are designed and the controls you have over your Alexa experience.
Amazon is at last really starting to address customer concerns about privacy in an innovative way. This will be an interesting area to continue to watch for sure.
📚Related: How To Delete What Alexa Records
Everything Alexa that you get with Echo Show 2nd Generation you get with the Echo Show 5. This includes all the regular Alexa skills you know and love like weather, multi-room music, news, sports, games, reminders, alarms, and to-dos, PLUS you get a ton of cool video-based skills like:
- On-screen weather displays
- Guided recipes
- Video calling and Skype
- Ability to monitor indoor and outdoor cameras with two-way audio
- Displaying photos
- Seeing the real-time status of car services like Uber and Lyft
- On-screen lyrics for your favorite songs
- Ability to play Prime video and other video services like Hulu
LCD Touchscreen Display
As mentioned in Difference #2 above, the difference in resolution doesn’t really matter. Both Echo Shows deliver an awesomely crisp display. Whether you are watching videos, looking at cool weather infographics, or displaying photos or recipes, the screen just rocks.
Next, in my comparison of Echo Show 5 vs 2nd Gen-Generation is what is quite possibly the Show’s killer app: the ability not just to take photos using the device but to display high-quality video.
You can use the Show to broadcast video from your front door or any room in the house, such as a baby’s room or playroom. And with two-way audio, having a couple of Shows makes for a really cool high-tech intercom.
You can also make calls using Skype, a feature that the Google Nest Hub does not have.
The Echo Show 2nd-Generation sounds awesome. While I am waiting to do the actual comparison with the Echo Show 5, the initial scuttlebutt from critics says it sounds great too. I love cranking up my Echo Show and other Echo devices using multi-room music.
Here’s a nice video overview of the Echo Show 2nd Generation from This is Tech Today.
Yeah, it still pretty much blows me away too.
📚 Related: Echo Show 8 2021 vs 2019
Needs A Stand
This will seem like a sales pitch (and maybe it is a little), but both of these devices look and sound better in a stand.
Plus, depending on where you put your Show, a stand can help to protect it from the elements. What most people don’t realize is the sound is vastly better with these devices elevated. Can’t vouch for the new Show 10 or 15 just yet, but both my Echo Show 2nd Gen and Echo Show 8 sound waaaay better on the stand than right on my counter or bedstand. Prices have fallen on these too.
For the Echo Show 2nd Generation, I have like this YoFew Stand.
Check out my post on 13 Best Amazon Echo Show Stands. I review only the coolest stands for Echo Show 2nd Gen, Echo Show 5, and the new Echo Show 8.
Full Tech Specifications Comparison
Following is a side-by-side comparison of the technical specifications of the Echo Show 5 vs Echo Show 2nd Gen.
Last update on 11/24/2023 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Echo Show 5 vs 2nd Gen: What Do You Think?
So, what do you think about our comparison of the Echo Show 5 vs 2nd Gen Echo Show?
Do you like the smaller size on the Echo Show 5 or prefer the larger screen and slightly better sound of the Echo Show 2nd Generation?
Is a Zigbee Hub an important factor in your decision? How about the 5MP camera versus the 1MP?
Do you already own an Amazon Echo device? I just realized that I have five! Yikes.
Do you think baby elephants are cute like me?
We would love to hear your thoughts on the Echo Show [and baby elephants too]! Please let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.
If you enjoyed this post comparing the Echo Show 5 vs 2nd Gen, you might also like some of my other posts about Amazon Echo devices and Alexa. Here are a few of the most recent:
- Echo Show 10 vs 2nd Gen [Review & Comparison]
- Amazon Echo Show Stands: 11 Best Stands to Elevate Alexa
- Echo Show vs Facebook Portal vs Portal Plus vs Nest Hub Max
- Amazon Echo Show vs. Google Home Hub: Which Is Smarter?
- What Are the Best Amazon Echo Show Compatible Cameras?
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Tim Brennan, a tech blogger and host of the @TecTimmy YouTube channel, writes about smart homes at oneSmartcrib, home theaters at UniversalRemoteReviews, and AI in writing at Writeinteractive. He holds a Journalism degree from Northeastern University and has covered technology for three decades. He lives on the ocean in Nahant, Massachusetts.
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