Review: Amazon Echo Show 5 smart speaker w/ video screen

By reviews / 6. May 2020

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Read more: http://www.TechGadgetsCanada.comThere is now a smart home control centre for every size need, budget and task. The latest is Amazon Echo Show 5. If you checked out my review of the 2019 Echo Show recently, you’ll know that device is a large speaker and screen combo. This is the kid sister to that one.

The Echo Show 5 has a more compact size – this one has a 5.5” screen, perfect for kitchen or bathroom, or bedside

This device also adds a privacy shutter on the front-facing camera so you’re in control of it at all times.

There’s also some new skills and tasks here too, which we’ll get to, but the gist of this device is it’s smaller and cheaper than the other version, though —spoiler alert—it actually doesn’t really feel like a downgrade.

Amazon Echo Show is a smart speaker with a 5.5” colour video screen with 960 x 480 resolution. Why add a screen? It not only livens up the device with colourful screensavers, and a time and info display, but it also lets you watch videos too from places like Amazon Prime (and YouTube, though that’s not as easy as you think. More later). You can also make video calls, check your video doorbell or security cameras and watch Canadian newscasts.

Amazon Echo Show’s speaker, has 4 watts of power. This is definitely not the powerful and room filling Dolby set up that’s sound on the larger 2019 Echo Show, but you’re trading off audio power for a smaller size.

You can ask Alexa to dial up your favourite Prime Video shows, like Bosch or vintage Unsolved Mysteries, by saying ‘Alexa, Open Prime Video.’ This lets you surf using the touch screen to see what’s there. You can also ask for a specific show, and Prime Video will dive right to it.

If you’ve got a Ring Video Doorbell or Stick Up cam, you can pull up the feed just by asking. This assumes, of course, you’ve already linked your Ring account to Alexa.

If you have it’s as easy as saying, ‘Alexa, show me the front door’. If you need to get this skill connected, go to the Alexa app, Skills, and search Ring. You’ll need to sign into your account to link it, but once that’s done, you’ve got a camera feed!

There’s also a new function that lets you use the Echo Show 5 to talk to your Ring Video Doorbell. This saves you having to open up the Ring app on your smartphone if you want to accept a package or shoo away a salesperson. To talk, just tap the microphone button which will appear on screen when you ask Alexa to call up the camera.
With the smaller speaker, the Show 5 is definitely less powerful than the larger 2019 Echo Show device, but that doesn’t seem to compromise the sound quality overall.

This speaker sounds quite good for its small size. It gets good and loud but the audio is also clear and crisp. The bass is actually pretty decent too on this speaker. The sound overall is big and clear and I was very surprised by how good it sounded.

If you ask Alexa to play a video on YouTube (Hey Alexa, play Foo Fighters on YouTube) she won’t. She’ll use Bing to locate your video and play it through there. To properly use YouTube you need to be a bit more direct.

There’s two ways to watch YouTube on the Echo Show. The first way is with Amazon’s Silk browser. Just say, “Alexa, open Silk” and YouTube is the top quick launch button.

You can also simply say, ‘Alexa, open YouTube’ and it will open the web version. If it’s your first time using YouTube, you’ll be presented with a choice of default browsers; Silk or Firefox, and you can choose.She’ll remember your choice on future launches.

If you’d rather listen to a book than watch something, the Show can read audio books from it’s a bit of a process to get this all up and running, which I’ll save for a separate blog and video and blog, but it’s enough to know that once you are signed in to your Audible account you can just ask Alexa to play the title of the book and she’s all over it.

Amazon touts what it calls the Smart Home Dashboard, but it’s not really revolutionary from previous versions of the show. By swiping left, you can access an on screen dashboard of all your connected smart home devices and tap them on or off at will. That is, if you don’t want to use voice control.

Overall, I’m still really liking the Echo Show experience.

The audio quality is great, and so it the video quality; but this small screen size isn’t your ideal viewing platfomr, in my opinion. If TV viewing will be a major use, do yourself a favour and upgrade to the larger 10” Show.

If you’re looking for a smart digital speaker than can do more and one that will fit in smaller spaces than the bigger Show, you’ll probably really like the Amazon Echo Show 5. It sells for about $99CAD from places like Best Buy and Amazon, of course.

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