What does the Amazon Echo Show 5 mean for Google and Nest?

Google has done wonders for the smart home space. It might not have been first — Amazon will forever hold that crown — but it more than made up for lost time with Google Assistant and the Google Home and/or Nest line of products. (OK, just so long as we're not talking about Google's continued struggles with maintaining a brand.)

Google pulled even with the original Google Home and Google Home Mini speakers. They're as capable as Amazon Echo speakers, comparable in price, and for many of us they simply perform better. (Google Home Max was prohibitively expensive, but that doesn't mean it's a bad product.)

Turn to video, and Amazon was first out the gate with the original Echo Show. Also not a bad product, but it was certainly kneecapped when it lost access to the biggest video repository in the world (and the only one that really matters) — YouTube. The Lenovo Smart Display, Nest Hub (nee Google Home Hub) and the upcoming Nest Hub Max certainly hold their own.

But now that it's announced the $90 Echo Show 5, Amazon's hitting back. Hard.

Echo Show 5 vs. Nest Hub

This is the obvious comparison, even if it's not quite apples to apples. The display on the Echo Show 5 about an inch and a half smaller than the Nest Hub. But there's a $40 difference in price. That's going to be a wide gulf for a lot of folks to make up — and that's before you remember that the Echo Show 5 has a camera, and the Nest Hub does not. (Though it remains to be seen just how much video chatting anyone actually does on these devices.)

I'd still give an edge to the Nest Hub thanks to the seamless integration with Google Photos — it remains an excellent digital picture frame.

Things are really going to get interesting when Google allows YouTube back on Amazon products. Now you'll have a sub-$100 device with proper YouTube — which is something Google doesn't currently have.

The question is whether Google (and Nest) will drop the price any further. It's already come down once, to $129. Seeing a further decrease to, say, $99, would go a long way toward evening the playing field once more, and you can always find it cheaper if you look hard enough. Or maybe we'll see more deals with more Google Home Minis thrown in for free.

Echo Show 5 vs. Lenovo Smart Clock

There's not too much to say about the Lenovo Smart Clock just yet — you'll notice that as of this writing there aren't really any full reviews available. But even looking at what's been publicly known since its announcement back at CES in January, it's clear that this is a smart clock first, and everything else second. (If at all.)

And at $79 the Lenovo Smart Clock also is just $10 less than expensive than the Echo Show 5 — and the latter handles video and all kinds of other things on that display far better than we'll expect a smaller clock to manage.

I'm going to get myself in trouble for even mentioning this out loud, but you have to wonder if it's possible for Google to issue a massive software update that would turn this into something more than a glorified timekeeper. (And also whether it'd be more a matter of whether it's willing to do so and less of a matter of capability.)

In any event, it's not like the Lenovo Smart Clock will be the only Google-friendly device we see in this size and shape, right?

Echo Show 5 vs. Amazon Echo Spot

In terms of hardware, this is probably the more proper comparison. The Echo Spot his a small screen. It's round, though, and that makes things like video pretty awkward.

It also was sort of presented as a souped-up alarm clock that can do other stuff. And at $129 — that's $40 more than the Echo Show 5 — it damn well better.

So now we've got a newer device with a screen better suited for video, and with a third of the cost lopped off. It was a sort-of weird device then, and it's even more strange now that Amazon has something more traditional on the way.

So is the Echo Spot not long for this world? Or will it see a price drop? (Or both?)

Phil Nickinson
  • While I really want an Echo Show, the full sized guy, I have to say, I love my Spot. We moved to an area where we could not get decent radio reception so my beloved Sony alarm clock had to go. I tried half a dozen others but nothing got good reception at all. I pre-ordered a Spot and when it came, it was a radio alarm clock and so, so much more. My white noise machine, my audible book reader, my music player, my weather machine. Love, love my Spot! And a tiny little footprint on my tiny little end table. The full sized Show would go in my kitchen on the counter. But this new one? Seems like it would be not much different than propping up my Note 5 on the counter and trying to watch something that way. I think the smarter thing would have been to drop the price of the full sized Show by $50. But I'm not working for Amazon, so what do I know?
  • waiting for black friday (or whatever) when amz will drop prices for their products, maybe by $30, that's when i would snap up a couple or more. meantime i'm good with my 10+ echos and minis. video is a bonus.
  • I guess I just don't understand this being a price issue. Because of the feud between Amazon & Google, you just never know what service/feature will disappear from your device if you're sharing ecosystems. I happen to use Google Assistant and I can emphatically say, a new Echo device that's $30 cheaper than a similar Google device is not enough to get me to start intermingling assistants. And I can say the the same if the key word in my home was "Alexa". I'm not going to buy a single Google Nest device for a mesley $30 price difference OR, for that matter, even a missing feature or two. I don't NEED every single feature available within all the assistants out there. I chose my ecosystem and I live by the pluses and minuses and don't look back. This smart stuff can be challenging enough where I don't want to start playing assistant roulette with CEOs that pull/remove features from their rivals because they're having a bad hair day.
  • Pretty much. Google has the superior AI and services. Price is hardly a factor when it comes to these devices. Most people will choose the Assistant that fits their needs, and build their smart home around it. I could care less if the Echo Show cost $5. As far as I'm concerned, the smart displays from Google are better because of the Google Assistant and Google services.
  • I'll probably end up getting the Show 5. I have a first gen. Show sitting on my nightstand and it's starting to show its age. Still very usable but the design looks dated, I could always retire it to the kitchen where my wife and I will want to watch recipe videos without worrying about ruining our phones or tablets. I just wish that Google and Amazon played along. I use the Google Assistant all the time on my phone except for music playback because I subscribe to Amazon Music (I refuse Spotify, it's far too limiting). My wife prefered Alexa, I liked the Google Assistant. So we have a whole bunch of Alexa speakers everywhere. I wanted a music service that would fully integrate with those and the various Sonos speakers I have. Amazon Music is really the only one. Now Sonos supports Google but YouTube Music is buggy as all Hell and doesn't work with Alexa (there's no point in starting with Google Music when it will be closed by the end of the year). It's a shame that I can't use the Google Assistant to play music in my car simply because the two companies don't play along.
  • With this smart device they announced a new Privacy Hub. You'll be able to delete with a voice command all you have just said.