Review: Amazon Echo Show 5

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Erin Lawrence

amazon echo show 5, review, how to

There is now a smart home control centre for every size need,  budget and task. The latest is Amazon Echo Show 5.

What is Amazon Echo Show 5? What’s new?

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.

What can Echo Show 5 do?

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 is also a speaker, with 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.

amazon echo show 5, review, how to

How to set up Amazon Echo Show 5

Setting up this device was easy and straight forward. You’ll plug it in then follow the instructions on screen that involve getting connected to your home Wi-Fi and signing in to, or creating, an Amazon account.

Once that’s done you have the ability to customize the screen to adjust what it will display.

I decided to place my Show in the kitchen so I could have smart home control at my fingertips.

Using Echo Show 5

So what’s it like using Amazon Echo Show on a day to day basis? I found myself using it in a few ways:

  • setting times and alarms
  • asking for a daily news briefing as I got ready in the morning
  • watching videos on Amazon Prime while cooking
  • asking Alexa for smart home control commands, like turning lights on and off

While you’ll likely have your own core ways you use it, there’s plenty of other things you can do with the Show.

Watch Amazon Prime Videos

amazon echo show 5, review, how to

You can ask Alexa to dial up your favourite Prime Video shows, like Bosch, 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.

Trying Echo Show 5 with Ring Video Doorbell

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!

amazon echo show 5, review, how toHow to use Echo Show 5 to talk via your doorbell camera

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.

Making video or audio calls with Drop In

If you have two video-enabled Amazon devices, you can make video calls using Drop In. By saying, ‘Alexa, drop in Echo Spot’, or Office, or Kitchen, or whatever you’ve called that camera, it will attempt a video call, which must be answered by someone on the other end.

If you want to phone a friend, you’ll instead use the Communicate button on the bottom bar of the Alexa app the Ring Skill with Alexa.

How is Audio & Video Quality on Echo Show 5?

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.

amazon echo show 5, review, how toThis 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. Like big brother, the Show’s speaker is rear facing, but that doesn’t seem to affect overall sound quality. You’ll have a hard time complaining about this speaker’s quality, given its size and price.

Amazon Promotion machine?

If you go online and read some reviews of this device There is a theme that comes up quite often. A lot of people are quite annoyed at the Constance Alexa promotion on the screen. The device will constantly cycle through a list of suggested commands and suggestions for you, it doesn’t appear and this could be turned off, and many owners find it annoying.

How to watch YouTube on Amazon Echo Show

amazon echo show 5, review, how toIf 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.

Surf the web with Silk or Firefox browser

There’s two web browsers loaded on Amazon Echo Show 5; Amazon’s proprietary Silk and the popular Firefox. You can access either one by asking Alexa to open it, then you can type or click the microphone button to dictate your search.

amazon echo show 5, review, how to

Use Audible for Audio Books

If you’d rather listen to a book than watch something, the Show can read audio books from audible.ca. 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.

Smart home dashboard on screen

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.

How to customize the screen Echo Show

Amazon’s default backgrounds for the Show are kind of… dull. Fortunately, you can upload a photo from your phone through the Alexa app.

In the Alexa app, go to your device by selecting the Devices tab along the bottom bar. Choose your device (mine is called Kitchen) from the list, then scroll down among the settings until you see Home Screen Background. Choose this option and it should populate a list of your photos.  Choose the one you want.

amazon echo show 5, review, how toTo remove or change the photo, follow the same steps and you’ll see “remove’ is an option.

While this is a nice option, it appears you can only have one photo as opposed to a gallery of images. That’s kind of disappointing. Though there is apparently an option to do a slideshow of your Amazon Photos. I don’t have this set up so I didn’t try it.

On a related note, I couldn’t really see how to get more info to come up on the screen. All it would show me is two “Trending Topics” and a list of Celebrity Birthdays. No news info or anything like that. I fished around in the settings to see what else I could get but couldn’t find anything. If I do, I’ll create a separate video later on.

Sunrise effect for alarms

The Show 5 will display a gradual sunrise-like brightening before your morning alarm goes off.

Set up routines, try Featured Routines

You can choose a pre-set routine that will trigger all sorts of other commands. I enabled the start my day routine, which will give you a news update, weather forecast, share what’s on your calendar, and traffic updates when you say, “Alexa, Start my Day.”
Using the “Alexa, Goodnight” phrase, she’ll turn all your smart lights off and say something random, like “hope you had a great day”. Again, you need to enable this routine inside the Alexa app.

Overall thoughts on Amazon Echo Show 5

amazon echo show 5, review, how to

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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