Amazon introduced the first Echo Show device in 2017 and followed up with a 2nd Gen product in 2018 that changed the design and made some improvements to the speakers. This design language was continued with the introduction of the Echo Show 5 in the spring of 2019, and following the success of that product, it was continued with the Echo Show 8. Now that Amazon has given us a three bears family of smart screen sizes let's see which is our pick to be "just right."
A lot of the features that the Echo Show 8 has were carried over from the Echo Show 5 so that the only significant differentiators are the screen and speaker sizes. Here is how they compare, stat for stat.
|Echo Show 8||Echo Show 5|
|Size||7.9" x 5.4" x 3.9 "||5.8" x 3.4" x 2.9"|
|Weight||36.6 oz||14.5 oz|
|Screen||8.0" with 1280 x 800 resolution||5.5" with 960 x 480 resolution|
|Speakers||2 x 2" @ 10W per channel||1 x 1.7" @ 4W|
|Camera controls||Built-in camera shutter and microphone/camera off button||Built-in camera shutter and microphone/camera off button|
The Echo Show 5 filled a niche left vacant by the lack of an update to the REALLY small screened Echo Spot. It is a really nice device that can be put in smaller spaces and serves as a great monitor for smart cameras or as a glanceable display for quick information. It's not the best experience for viewing video content, though it is serviceable.
If what you want is a good Echo device for your bedside or office desk, you might be better off picking up an Echo Dot with Clock. True the speakers in the Dot are not quite as good as the Show 5, but the LED clock is less "in your face," and there is no camera to worry about (physical switch notwithstanding). Plus, the Dot with Clock is $25 cheaper than the Echo Show 5.
However, if you want a really nice side table or bedside Echo device with the ability to monitor your smart home security, get text responses to the weather and time, and catch a few videos, the Echo Show 5 is a really great device. As we've said in other articles, the Echo Show 5 is priced to where it is almost an impulse buy, and like the Dots, it is often found bundled with other smart home products for even more savings.
We have been calling the Echo Show 8 the Goldilocks of smart screen devices for a reason. Not only does it sit physically between the Echo Show (2nd Gen) and the Echo Show 5, but it seems to have made the right tradeoffs when it comes to its specs between those devices.
It obviously has a larger screen and additional speaker over the Show 5, and it has the physical shutter/mute switch that the larger Show (2nd Gen is lacking). However, neither the Show 8 nor the Show 5 have as good of a camera as the Show (2nd Gen), with both sporting 1MP cameras vs. the 2nd Gen's 5MP shooter.
The speakers on the Show 8 (two 2-inch speakers at 10W per channel) are still pretty good for its size and better than the single 1.7-inch, 4W speaker available on the Show 5. At 1280x800 resolution, the Show 8 also has a significantly better screen resolution than the Show 5 at 960x480, which should translate into sharper images on your videos and photos.
Which small Show should you get?
Look, it is pretty obvious which one we think you should get here - the Echo Show 8. It's not THAT much bigger than the Show 5 or THAT much smaller than the Show 10, but the size difference from its siblings is noticeable and meaningful in real-life usage. We do honestly think that the Show 5 is still a great device, particularly if you get it as a secondary smart screen. We appreciate that both the Show 5 and Show 8 have a physical camera shutter and a mute button for better privacy controls and that both have on-screen access to the Alexa Privacy Hub so that you can take even more control of your digital privacy.
If you are still indecisive, do not worry! Amazon is offering a great bundle with both the Echo Show 8 and Echo Show 5 at a price that is still cheaper than the larger Echo Show (2nd Gen). Now you can try them both and see where they fit best in your home!
Meet me in the middle
Not too big, not too little
The Echo Show comes to a more natural size that's easier to place than the 10-inch Echo Show but still comfy enough to watch recipes and videos on.
Your personalized portal to Alexa
The smaller Echo Show 5 was the first of this latest generation of devices to addresses many of the criticisms of earlier products, adding privacy-focused features, a great screen, and a good speaker — all in a convenient size!
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