Top positive review
The Best Compact Echo Video Speaker now with Remote Viewing
Reviewed in Canada on June 16, 2021
This review is broken down into two parts. Part 1 is Short with some detail, while Part Two is more in-depth with more detail.
*** Part 1 ***
I’ve owned the original Gen 1 Echo Show 5 Smart Speaker since May 2019 and it remains my favorite Echo Smart Speaker. The Echo Show 5 is the perfect speaker for the Bedroom, Kitchen and Office. The 1.65”, 4 watt speaker sounds better than the Echo Dot while the 5.5” touch screen adds much more versatility than regular Echo Smart Speakers.
Gen 1 or Gen 2 What’s the Difference?
The Gen 1 and Gen 2 Echo Show 5 Video Speakers are virtually identical with the exception of three features.
1 - Upgraded Camera
The new Gen 2 Echo Show has a 2MP front facing camera instead of a 1MP camera on the Gen 1. The camera is better however if you want to use the Echo Show for Video Calls the New Echo Show 8, Gen 2 has a 13MP camera with auto framing. If the primary use for this speaker is video calls then the Echo Show 8 Gen 2 is the way to go.
2 - Remote Viewing - Security Camera
The second upgrade Amazon Added to the Echo Show 5 Gen 2 is the ability to use the built in camera for home monitoring. The camera on the Show 5 Gen 2 can be used to monitor your home while you’re not at home. This feature is not available on Gen 1 Show Speakers.
3 - Sidewalk
The third feature Amazon added to Gen 2 Echo speakers is something called Amazon Sidewalk. Sidewalk is a low-powered mesh network that is designed to make smart devices work better when you are outside your home. While Sidewalk is a useful idea, I have disabled it due to privacy and security concerns. I Do Not recommend you use this feature.
There are some other minor changes to the new Echo Show 5 Gen 2 but in a nutshell the above three features are the main differences between Gen 1 and Gen 2 Echo Show 5 Speakers.
The new Echo Show 5 Gen 2, looks the same, sounds the same and with the exception of the Remote Viewing Security Camera option, works the same.
If the security camera option is not really important to you then the Echo Show 5 Gen 1 is still and excellent speaker and you can buy it at a substantial discount till stock runs out.
*** Which Echo Speaker Should I Get Show 5 or Show 8? ***
The Echo Show 5 is the Best Smart Speaker to use as an Alarm Clock in the bedroom or compact Display speaker for the Kitchen or Office.
If you want a larger screen, have more room on the kitchen counter or office desk then the Show 8 would be a better choice.
If your primary purpose is going to be Video Calls or Streaming Video then the Echo Show 8 is a better choice.
*** PART 2 ***
The new Second Gen Echo Show 5 looks exactly the same as the previous first generation Echo show and is physically almost identical with a couple slight variations.
*** Looks ***
The layout of the controls on the top of the echo show is the same only the Camera privacy indicator is Square on the New Second Gen Echo Show 5 and was round on the first gen Show 5.
They removed the 3.5mm audio output jack on the Gen 2 Echo Show and added a micro USB port for service on the back. This means you can still output the sound from the Echo Show 5 to a Bluetooth speaker if you wish but the hardwired connection is gone. The micro USB port is used only for service.
The color of the Black Fabric on the back side of the new Gen 2 Echo show is a little darker or more saturated than the previous Gen 1. I would describe the Gen 3 Echo Show as black and the Gen 1 Echo show as charcoal.
••• Video Screen •••
There is no change to the screen resolution between the Echo Show 5 Gen 1 and Gen2.
While the screen resolution is only 960x480 the screen seems bigger, brighter and clearer than you’d think
*** Sound ***
The sound on the Echo Show 5 is decent for its size and fills up a room nicely if you keep the volume under 75%. Once you turn up the volume past the 3/4 mark the treble gets to be too prominent and the speaker gets out of balance.
If you want the Best Sounding Echo Speaker with a video screen I would recommend the Echo Show 8.
••• White Power Cord/Power Supply ??? •••
In 2021 Amazon only includes a white power supply with all their Echo devices regarding of color. This means BLACK, WHITE or Colored Echo devices all come with the same WHITE Colored power supply …. YUK! This is one change I wish Amazon didn’t make. I would prefer a Black coloured power supply and cable with Black devices and White power cord on white devices. The white power cord/transformer is not a deal breaker but If Amazon was going decide on one color for the power supply and cord I wish they would have selected BLACK rather than white. White discolours, gets dirty and yellows over time with UV exposure.
••• Performance •••
Inside the new Gen 2 Echo show uses the same MediaTek MT8163 processor as the Gen 1. The only hardware upgrade is the front facing camera.
*** Camera ***
The camera on the Gen 2 Show 5 has been upgraded from 1MP to 2MP. For Privacy Amazon built in a sliding camera lens cover which is easy to use and colour coded so you will know when the camera lens is open or closed. We keep the camera lens closed all the time unless we're making a video call. The Show 5 Supports Echo to Echo calling and Skype.
IMPORTANT CAMERA TIP: The New Echo Show 8 Gen 2 has a 13MP camera with point, tilt and zoom. If you are planning to use the Echo show 5 primarily for video calling then the Echo Show 8 is a Much Better Choice.
*** Security Camera - Remote Viewing ***
The biggest reason to upgrade to the new Echo Show 5 Gen 2 is the ability to use the device as a security camera. While the camera doesn’t record, it does allow you to look in and monitor your home to help you verify if an alarm in your home is false or real.
The security camera feature can not be activated if the Echo Show 5 is in Do Not Disturb mode or if the camera cover is closed.
When the security camera feature is activated a message appears on the Screen of the Echo Show announcing that “A household member is viewing your camera”. There is a STOP Button on the screen which you can press to stop the security camera feed.
*** Important Camera Note ***
The camera on the Echo Show 5 is a fixed camera and unless you add a tilt stand stand or prop up the back the camera on the Echo Show 5 will point at the ceiling.
*** Other FEATURES ***
The Gen 2 Echo Show five supports all the same features as the previous Gen 1 Show 5 so you can use Alexa voice search and commands to control smart home devices, ask questions, weather, sports scores etc. You can stream music from Amazon, Apple, Audible, SiriusXM and Spotify. You can play video from Amazon Prime and Netflix but not Hulu.
For video calls the Gen 2 Echo 5 supports Amazon Drop from other Echo displays plus the Alexa app and Skype.
*** The Bottom Line - Conclusion ***
Amazon continues to improve and add functionality to all their Echo Show Video Smart Speakers. I heartily recommend both new Echo Show 5 and 8 Gen 2 Speakers.
The New Echo Show 5 Gen 2 is the most affordable Video Smart Speaker and best suited as an alarm clock in the bedroom, kitchen or office.
The Echo Show 8 Gen 2 is Amazon’s Best Overall Smart Video Speaker and perfect for areas where you have more counter space. The camera in the Echo Show 8 Gen is much better and the screen is larger making it the perfect speaker for streaming video and video conference calls.