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Amazon Echo Show 5 Kids vs. Echo Dot (4th Gen) Kids: Show or tell for your kids?

Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition (4th Gen) sitting on a couch
(Image credit: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

Amazon has two fairly new smart speakers designed for kids. The Amazon Echo Show 5 Kids is the latest, and it features a smart display that adds a 5.5-inch screen to the audio equation. Introduced in late 2020, the Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) Kids offers a better processor and response times than its predecessor, not to mention new super-cute, animal-themed designs.

The Echo Dot (4th Gen) is the best Alexa device that money can buy, catering to all your smart speaker needs. Meanwhile, Amazon has outdone itself with the Echo Show line of super affordable, yet incredibly capable smart displays. But when it comes to the Amazon Echo Show 5 Kids vs. Echo Dot (4th Gen) Kids, which of these two newest-generation smart devices should you choose for a child?

Amazon Echo Show 5 Kids vs. Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) Kids: What's different?

Amazon Echo Show 5 Kids on a children's workstation

(Image credit: Amazon)

The biggest difference between these two smart devices for kids is pretty obvious: The Echo Show 5 Kids has a screen, whereas the Echo Dot (4th Gen) Kids does not. But that's not the only thing that differentiates them. Your choice might depend solely on budget and whether you think your child wants, needs, or would use the screen.

Amazon Echo Show 5 KidsAmazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) Kids
Screen Size5.5 inchesNo Screen
ConnectivityDual-Band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth A2DPDual-Band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth A2DP
SpeakerFull-Range 1.65-Inch1.6-inch Front-Firing Speaker
ColorsChameleon Green FabricTiger, Panda
Comes WithPower Adapter, 4-Foot Cable, Welcome Worksheet for KidsPower Adapter, Quick Start Guide, Alexa Guide for Kids
PrivacyMic On/Off Button, Built-in Camera ShutterMic On/Off Button
Access to Amazon KidsYesYes
Access to Amazon Kids+IncludedIncluded
Dimensions5.8 x 3.4 x 2.9 inches (148 x 86 x 73mm)3.9 x 3.9 x 3.5 inches (100 x 100 x 89mm)
Weight14.5 oz. (410 g)12 oz. (341.3 g)

As noted, the biggest difference between these two units is the absence of a screen on the Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) Kids. Because of this, they also look markedly different from one another. The Echo Show 5 Kids has a rectangular shaped screen that slants upward on a triangular-shaped base for easy viewing and manipulation. It's finished in a fabric wrap, and there's one design option, called Chameleon green, that will appeal to kids both old and young.

Both come with a two-year worry-free guarantee so that should it break by accident, you can return the Echo to Amazon and it'll replace it for free.

The Echo Dot (4th Gen) Kids is much smaller and shaped like a sphere with a flat base. The cover design is made to resemble one of two adorable animals: a tiger, or a panda. The base here has a familiar blue LED light ring around the bottom that illuminates when the child asks Alexa a question or gives her a command. There's no illuminating ring on the Echo Show 5 Kids.

Both come with a two-year, worry-free guarantee so that should it break by accident, you can return the Echo to Amazon and it'll replace it for free. Since both devices are designed to stay in one spot, that might not be a big deal, but any parent knows kids always find a way to knock something over or accidentally spill water on expensive tech gear. This offers nice peace-of-mind for parents.

The screen and the advantages it affords is the biggest differentiator. The entire face of the Echo Show 5 Kids is occupied by a 5.5-inch screen that shows visual results, can display photos, and more, which the Echo Dot (4th Gen) Kids can't do.

Amazon Echo Show 5 Kids vs. Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) Kids: What you can do with both

Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition (4th Gen) on a table next to Echo Glow

(Image credit: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

Both smart devices work alongside the Alexa voice assistant. Kids can ask questions, like for help with homework (how do you spell Tyrannosaurus anyway?), listen to bedtime stories, play music, get weather reports, set a timer or alarm, call approved contacts, and even control compatible smart home devices with voice commands. But with the Echo Show 5 Kids, the addition of a screen means they can also see relevant visual results, like the weather report or security camera footage of who's at the front door (with a compatible smart home camera).

Kids can also watch videos on Echo Show 5 Kids from compatible streaming services, like Amazon Prime Video, look at YouTube Videos, and even display a slideshow of images. Depending on the music source, they might also be able to see album titles or at least song name and artist while music is playing. Video calls are also an option, so they can call grandma and grandpa to show them their drawing.

Both Echo devices work well alongside Alexa, but the Echo Show 5 Kids has a screen so children can also see relevant visual results.

Both work with a variety of parental controls. Parents and caregivers can set daily time limits for time spent on the device, filter explicit songs from streaming services, and review their child's activity in the Parent Dashboard. They can also view, hear, and delete voice recordings.

For privacy, both devices have a button for turning the mic off when you don't want it listening for the wake word. Because it has a screen, the Echo Show 5 Kids also has a built-in camera shutter to block the camera when desired.

Both connect via dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and have similar built-in speakers for favorable audio. You can, however, connect external speakers to the Echo Dot (4th Gen) Kids via the 3.5mm line out, an option not available for the Echo Show 5 Kids (beyond wireless connection, of course).

Amazon Echo Show 5 Kids vs. Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) Kids: Amazon Kids

Amazon Echo Show 5 Kids on a children's workstation

(Image credit: Amazon)

Amazon Kids, available on both devices (and most Amazon smart speakers, tablets, and other similar mobile devices) includes the aforementioned parental controls that help parents monitor their child's usage. The app also ensures they aren't accessing inappropriate content, or ordering items by accident (or on purpose) from your Amazon account that will put a serious dent in your credit card.

Both devices also include a one-year subscription to Amazon Kids+, which unlocks tons of curated content for kids. There might be a bit more value with the Echo Show 5 Kids since it includes videos, games, and educational materials that leverage the screen as well as audio. Amazon Kids+ still has value with the Echo Dot (4th Gen) Kids, however, since it also includes access to thousands of audiobooks, kid-friendly music stations, and Audible books. Note that Amazon Kids+ content is ideal for kids aged 4-6, so if you have an older child, you might not really have any use for it anyway.

With both, because you have to sign on to cash in the free year to Amazon Kids+, you will be automatically charged each month thereafter unless you cancel. But canceling is simple and can be done by contacting the Amazon customer service team, or even just using the Amazon Parent Dashboard.

Amazon Echo Show 5 Kids vs. Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) Kids: Which do you choose?

Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) Kids on an open booklet

(Image credit: Android Central)

It really does come down to two main questions when trying to decide between the Amazon Echo Show 5 Kids vs. Echo Dot (4th Gen) Kids: Do you need a screen? And which design do you like better? The adorable cute animal styles for the Echo Dot (4th Gen) Kids make it ideal for younger kids, but a teen or tween might be just as excited to get a new tiger or panda friend as a grade one child would. Similarly, the Chameleon fabric of the Echo Show 5 Kids screams "child" but older kids might be just as into it.

The Echo Show 5 Kids' screen has its advantages for kids in that they can use it to play games, watch videos, and see visuals, including when making calls. You'll also get more out of the free Amazon Kids+ subscription with access to those curated videos, games, and more. If you want it for the bedside table so your child can be woken up for school and see the time, the Echo Show 5 Kids is the better option.

But if the idea is to use the speaker as a desktop device for playing music, helping with simple homework questions, telling the odd joke, and controlling the lights in the room, or even communicating with other Echo devices in the home, the Echo Dot (4th gen) will do just fine. At almost half the price of the Echo Show 5 Kids, you can't go wrong.

Christine Persaud is a freelance writer for Android Central who has been writing about tech since long before the smartphone was even a "thing." When she isn't writing, she's probably working on her latest fitness program, binging a new (or old) TV series, tinkering with tech gadgets, or spending time with her school-aged son. A self-professed TV nerd, lover of red wine, and passionate home cook, she's immersed in tech in every facet of her life. Follow her at @christineTechCA.