In this post, we’ll take a close look at Amazon’s new Echo Show 5 vs Echo Show 2nd Gen. We’ll explore some key similarities and differences between these cool smart speakers with screens.
One of my favorite smart devices is the Amazon Echo Show (2nd Generation). With its vibrant 10.1” inch screen and room-filling high-fidelity sound, this is the best of Alexa on a nice big screen. This week, Amazon announced a smaller version of the Show, the Echo Show 5 (available for pre-order now).
While the naming convention has confused some critics, I get it. The “5” matches the smaller five-inch screen size.
One thing’s for sure. The new Show is going to make Google grumpy. It is 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.
While the smaller Show is similar to Amazon’s larger Show in many ways, there are some interesting similarities and differences. Here they are:
- Difference #1: Small vs Big Screen
- Difference #2: Lower Resolution Screen (But It Doesn’t Matter)
- Difference #3: Lower Resolution Camera (It Matters a Little)
- Difference #4: No Zigbee Hub (It Might Matter)
- Difference #5: Additional Privacy Features (Nice!)
- Similarity # 1: You Get Everything Alexa
- Similarity #2: Vibrant Crisp Screen
- Similarity #3: Cool Camera and Video Calls
- Similarity #4: Awesome Sound
- Similarity #5: Really Needs a Stand
We’ll do a quick comparison table next, then I’ll break each of the similarities and differences down in more detail in this post.
Echo Show 5 vs Show 2nd Gen: Key Differences
Difference #1: Smaller vs Big 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, 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 Echo Spot: Is Bigger Better? ]
Difference #2: Lower Resolution Screen (But It Doesn’t Matter).
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 simply not the case. Both of these screens deliver a super vibrant and crisp picture 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.
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 depend in large part on the source of your video feed.
If you plan to take photos using the Show 5, then 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 👉 What Are the Best Amazon Echo Show Compatible Cameras? ]
Difference #4: No Zigbee Hub (It Might Matter)
If you have already invested heavily in Zigbee devices that require the Zigbee Hub, the fact the Amazon didn’t include the Hub in the Echo Show 5 is going to 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 does not require a Hub is the Wyze Cam. Amazon has a nice bundle deal that includes the Wyze Cam with the Echo Show 2nd Generation. We’ll include a link to it below.
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.
Difference #5: More Privacy Features (Nice!)
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 protections. 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—simply 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 and in an innovative way. This will be an interesting area to continue to watch for sure.[Related 👉 How To Find & Delete What Alexa Records On Your Echo ]
Echo Show 5 vs Show 2nd Gen: Similarities
Similarity # 1: You Get Everything Alexa
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
Similarity #2: Vibrant Crisp Screen
As mentioned in Difference #2 above, the difference in resolution doesn’t really matter. Both Echo Show’s deliver an awesomely crisp display whether you are watching videos, looking at cool weather infographics, or displaying photos or recipes, the screen just rocks.
Similarity #3: Cool Camera and Video Calls
Next, in our comparison of Echo Show 5 vs Show 2nd-Generation is what is quite possibly the Show’s killer app: the ability to not just 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 Show’s 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.
Similarity #4: Awesome Sound
The Echo Show 2nd-Generation just 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 along with my 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.
Similarity #5: Really Needs a Stand
This is going to 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 voice for the new Show just yet, but both my Echo Show and Echo Spot sound waaaay better in the stand than right on my counter or bedstand. Prices have fallen on these too.
For the Echo Show 2nd Generation, we like the YoFew Stand. It looks like this:
Check out our post on Amazon Echo Show Stands: 11 Best Stands to Elevate & Swivel Alexa in 2019 for the coolest stands around. We will update this to include some Echo Show 5 stands like the one below very soon.
Technical Specifications Comparison
Following is a side-by-side comparison of the technical specifications of the Echo Show 5 vs Echo Show 2nd Gen.
Tip: Click the Next button at the bottom of the table to cycle through the features. You can also search for a specification such as “Camera” to limit the table display to just rows that contain that word. Neat, right?
Echo Show 5 vs Show 2nd Gen: What Do You Think?
So, what do you think about our comparison of Echo Show 5 vs Echo Show 2?
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.
This post may contain affiliate links. See our disclosure policy in the sidebar for more details.
If you enjoyed this post, you might also like some of our other posts about Amazon Echo devices and Alexa. Here are a few of the most recent:
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About the Author
Tim Brennan, Technical Writer & Smart Home Blogger
Tim Brennan is Founder and CEO of Writeinteractive, Inc., a technical writing consulting agency. He is also an owner of smart home technology site and blog Onesmartcrib.com Tim became obsessed with smart home tech after purchasing Amazon Alexa. “One of my biggest pet peeves in life is that so much tech just doesn’t work the way it should. Alexa is the clear exception and hopefully a sign of things to come. From the minute you turn it on, Alexa just works consistently, and she is always there when I need her,” he said. When he’s not crushing on Alexa, Brennan is a father to two sons, and he manages the day-to-day operations of Writeinteractive. He is also an active blogger, obsessive Star Wars fan, and loves a good taco. Tim has worked for more than two decades as a technical writer in the Greater Boston area for organizations that have included General Electric and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.