Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen)
The Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen) has the same 13MP camera and privacy controls as the larger and more expensive Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) but costs nearly half as much. A better camera, better display resolution, and better speakers make this an excellent buy over the smaller Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen).
+ Great compromise size
+ Much improved camera with Visual ID
+ Physical cover/off switch for microphones and camera
+ Similar specs to the larger and more expensive Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen)
- No Dolby processing
- Need a stand to adjust viewing angles
Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen)
The Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen) is an incremental update over the first-generation speaker, bringing an improved camera and new color options to the table. It is the perfect companion device, but it may not stand alone if this is your only Echo Show.
+ Compact design to fit anywhere
+ Physical cover/off switch for microphones and camera
+ Improved camera over the first generation
- Auto-brightness isn't well-tuned
- If all you want is an Echo with a clock, the Dot with Clock is almost half the price
Amazon introduced the first Echo Show device in 2017 and followed up with a second-generation product in 2018 that changed the design and made some improvements to the speakers. This design language continued with the introduction of the first Echo Show 5 in spring of 2019, and following the success of that product, it continued with the Echo Show 8. In late 2020, the company introduced the Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen), and in May 2021, it unveiled updates to the Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen) and Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen). Now that Amazon has given us a three-bears family of new smart screen sizes, let us take a look at the Echo Show 8 vs. 5 and see which middle child is our pick to be "just right."
Amazon Echo Show 5 vs. 8: Small showdown
These two devices share a lot of common features. The only significant differentiators are the screen and speaker sizes and camera resolution. Here is how they compare, stat for stat.
|Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen)||Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen)|
|Size||7.9 x 5.4 x 3.9 inches||5.8 x 3.4 x 2.9 inches|
|Weight||36.6 oz||14.5 oz|
|Screen||8.0-inch with 1280x800 resolution||5.5-inch with 960x480 resolution|
|Speakers||2 x 2 inches||1 x 1.7 inches|
|Camera controls||Built-in camera shutter and microphone/camera off button||Built-in camera shutter and microphone/camera off button|
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, it's not the best experience for viewing video content, though it is serviceable.
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.
Ever since the original Echo Show 8 came out nearly two years ago, we have called it the Goldilocks of smart screen devices. 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 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, although hopefully Amazon will add that Deep Sea Blue variant at this size later on down the line.
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.
Meet me in the middle
Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen) — 2021 Smart Display
Not too big, not too little
The Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen) comes to a more natural size that's easier to place than the Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) but is still comfy enough to watch recipes and videos.
Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen) — Smart Display
Your personalized portal to Alexa
The smaller Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen) brings video chatting, streaming, and privacy in a manageable device that fits practically anywhere in your home.
Jeramy is proud to help *Keep Austin Weird* and loves hiking in the hill country of central Texas with a breakfast taco in each hand. When he's not writing about smart home gadgets and wearables, he's defending his relationship with his smart voice assistants to his family. You can follow him on Twitter at @jeramyutgw.
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