Amazon Echo Show 5 vs. 8: Which should you buy?

Amazon unveiled the Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen) and Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen) side-by-side in 2021, and they're still the most popular Amazon smart displays available that don't have a premium price tag (like the 10- and 15-inch models). Both have the same smarts built-in and a similar design (aside from the size difference), but it's a very different user experience depending on which you choose. Let us take a look at the Amazon Echo Show 8 vs. 5 and see which display is the better fit for your home.

Amazon Echo Show 5 vs. 8: Small display showdown

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Echo Show 5 2nd Gen Top

The travel-sized Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen) (Image credit: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)

The Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen) and Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen) share a lot of common software features, so you technically get the same experience whichever you buy. But if you look at their differences beyond size, you'll notice that the screen, speaker sizes, and camera resolution also differ. And under the hood, the Echo Show 8 has a faster processor. Here is how they compare, stat for stat.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen)Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen)
Size7.9 x 5.4 x 3.9 inches5.8 x 3.4 x 2.9 inches
Weight36.6 oz14.5 oz
Screen8.0-inch with 1280x800 resolution5.5-inch with 960x480 resolution
Speakers2 x 2 inches1 x 1.7 inches
Dolby processingNoNo
ProcessorMediaTek MT 8183 (octa-core)MediaTek MT 8163 (quad-core)
Camera controlsBuilt-in camera shutter and microphone/camera off buttonBuilt-in camera shutter and microphone/camera off button
Alexa supportYesYes

The first-generation Echo Show 5 filled a niche left vacant by the lack of an update to the REALLY small-screened Echo Spot, and Amazon recognized that it shouldn't mess too much with a good thing for the second-generation device. At a glance, you probably wouldn't be able to recognize that this is a new device, as it has the same physical dimensions, same speakers, and same display.

The 2021 edition has an improved camera (2 MP vs. 1 MP), features an updated camera cover, and even comes in three colors, including the original Graphite, a gleaming Glacier White, and my personal favorite, the beautiful new Deep Sea Blue. Like its predecessor, the Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen) is a nice device that can be put in smaller spaces and serves as a great monitor for smart cameras or a glanceable display for quick information. 

Unfortunately, a display that's barely larger than a cell phone's, in a form factor that's not actually portable, isn't the best experience for viewing video content, though it is serviceable. It no longer has a 3.5mm jack like the last model, and the speaker isn't particularly powerful. Our reviewer described it as "not that bad" and that even though it can't match the Echo Show 8 for lows or bass, "the sound is crisp and clear, and the mids and highs come through pretty nicely for a rear-firing speaker." This is a budget device, but it's not a bad one.

Similarly, the Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen) received a revamped processor that added extra cores for faster commands and scrolling. And while this does come across in real-world use, we didn't find the Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen) to be especially lacking in this area. It still works, and you shouldn't worry that you're getting a deficient experience.

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

(Image credit: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)

If what you want is a suitable 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 (2nd Gen), but the LED clock is less "in your face." There is no camera to worry about (physical switch notwithstanding). Plus, the Dot with Clock is less expensive 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 (2nd Gen) is a great device. The Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen) is priced where it's almost an impulse buy, and like the Dots, it is often bundled with other smart home products for even more savings.

It's important to note that if you've considered getting an Echo Show device for your child, you might want to pick up the all-new Echo Show 5 Kids version. It features additional privacy and parental controls and comes in a fun jungle-themed Chameleon color pattern.

Echo Show 8 2nd Gen 2

The Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen) (Image credit: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)

Ever since the original Echo Show 8 came out nearly two years ago, we have called it the Goldilocks of smart screen devices, and the 2nd Gen model remains "just right." Not only does it sit physically between the Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) and the Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen), but it seems to have made the right tradeoffs when it comes to its specs between those devices.

It has a larger screen and additional speaker over the Show 5 (2nd Gen), and it has the improved 13MP camera of the Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) that auto-frames so your face remains in the center. That camera is perfect for making or taking Zoom calls, and soon you'll be able to add animated backgrounds to your video chats. 

After its launch, Amazon added Visual ID to the Echo Show 8 to bring individualized information to each profile by recognizing each user. Don't worry, it's an opt-in feature. Unlike its smaller sibling, the Show 8 (2nd Gen) only comes in two colors, Charcoal or Glacier White.

The speakers on the Show 8 (2nd Gen) (two 2-inch speakers at 10W per channel) are still pretty good for their size and better than the single 1.7-inch, 4W speaker available on the Show 5 (2nd Gen). At 1280x800 resolution, the Show 8 (2nd Gen) also has a significantly better screen resolution than the Show 5 (2nd Gen) at 960x480, which should translate into sharper images on your video calls, when viewing streaming media, and while browsing personal photos.

Amazon Echo Show 5 vs. 8: Which smaller Show should you get?

Look, it is pretty obvious which is the best Alexa speaker that we think you should get here — the Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen). It's not THAT much bigger than the Show 5 or THAT much smaller than the Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen), but the size difference from its siblings is noticeable and meaningful in real-life usage. We honestly think that the Show 5 (2nd Gen) is still a great device, particularly if you get it as a secondary smart screen. We appreciate that both the Show 5 (2nd Gen) and Show 8 (2nd Gen) have a physical camera shutter and a mute button for better privacy controls. Plus, both have on-screen access to the Alexa Privacy Hub so that you can take even more control of your digital privacy.

Jeramy Johnson

Jeramy is the Editor-in-Chief of Android Central. He is proud to help *Keep Austin Weird* and loves hiking in the hill country of central Texas with a breakfast taco in each hand. You can follow him on Twitter at @jeramyutgw.