Amazon Echo Show 5 (3rd Gen) vs. (2nd Gen): Should you upgrade?

Over the past few months, we’ve been seeing Amazon introduce upgrades and new products into its vast array of devices. This includes the Echo Show, with the Echo Show 5 (3rd Gen) introducing a few welcome changes when compared to the Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen). But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to toss your “old” Echo Show in the bin.

Amazon Echo Show 5 (3rd Gen) vs. (2nd Gen): Subtle design differences

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Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen) held in one hand, showing the camera off-switch

(Image credit: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)

Unless you put the Echo Show 5 (3rd Gen) vs. (2nd Gen) side-by-side, there’s a good chance you won’t notice any differences. That’s simply because the design is pretty much the same, including the various buttons on the top in addition to the privacy switch for the camera.

Both of these smart displays sport a 5.5-inch LCD display with a 960 x 480 resolution. Amazon also brought back the same 2MP camera found in the top right corner, which is fine for video calls, but the Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen)’s 13MP camera still vastly outperforms the Echo Show 5.

The overall design of the new Echo Show 5 has also been tweaked, as the fabric covering blends into the display. With the last iteration, there was a plastic ring around the edges which housed the hardware buttons and mute switch. But that plastic ring is now gone, and the buttons have also been redesigned and appear to be more like touch-targets as opposed to physical buttons.

Amazon Echo Show 5 (3rd Gen) vs. (2nd Gen): Under-the-hood improvements

Amazon Echo Show 5 3rd gen on bedside table

(Image credit: Amazon)

The biggest design change that you’ll find is in the dimensions, as the Echo Show 5 (3rd Gen) is both taller and wider than its predecessor. This was done to accommodate the larger 1.7-inch speaker, offering a slight upgrade over the 1.65-inch speaker found in the Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen). According to Amazon, the speaker will deliver “clearer vocals and deeper bass,” while the microphone array has been shifted to improve voice detection.

As for what’s actually powering the Echo Show 5 (3rd Gen), Amazon has upgraded the processor and is now using the MediaTek MT 8169B compared to the MT 8163 found in the 2nd Gen model. This alone will give you a little bit of a performance boost, but the real difference in power comes via the integration of Amazon’s AZ2 Neural Edge processor.

The AZ2 was first introduced in the Amazon Echo Show 15 and is now found in the Echo Pop and the latest Echo Show 5. As explained by Jerry Hildenbrand, the Amazon AZ2 chip provides improved machine learning and speech detection. Paired with the updated microphone array, you really shouldn’t run into too many issues when it comes to getting the Echo Show 5 (3rd Gen) to recognize your requests.

Amazon Echo Show 5 (3rd Gen) vs. (2nd Gen): Do you need to upgrade?

Amazon Echo Show 5 3rd gen camera switch

(Image credit: Amazon)

If you’re comparing the Amazon Echo Show 5 (3rd Gen) vs. (2nd Gen) and trying to decide whether you should upgrade, we would recommend waiting for Prime Day or Black Friday before doing so. This is simply because that’s when the biggest discounts are going to come, in some instances saving you 50% off the retail price.

We also think that Amazon has made enough changes to warrant upgrading from the Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen) to the Echo Show 5 (3rd Gen). The larger speaker alone could be enough to sway you to upgrade, but faster performance and more reliable voice recognition also plays a big role, in our opinion. Plus, it’s not like you won’t be able to still use the Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen), as you could always relegate it to another room in your home if you don’t already have one of the best smart displays in there.

Andrew Myrick
Senior Editor - Chromebooks, tablets, and wearables

Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.