More of a tweak than a radical rethink, the Amazon Echo Show 5 (3rd Generation) is the best small smart display available, and particularly good as a smart bedside companion. Its screen is bright and easy to read, and audio more than good enough for voice replies and video chats. It is considerably more expensive than its predecessor, and there’s nothing here that would convince someone with an older model to make the upgrade.
- Better audio
- Faster responses
- Clever nighttime features
- No Netflix
- More expensive than old model
- Screen sizeThis smart display has a 5.5-inch display with a 960×480 resolution.
- EntertainmentBuilt in Amazon Prime Video player, but Netflix has been removed. Other services are available via the basic web browser.
When Amazon introduced the Echo Show 5 (2nd Generation) back in 2021, it was little more than a minor tweak to the original smart display.
Two years on, I’d have expected something a bit more revolutionary for the Amazon Echo Show 5 (3rd Generation), but the new model has a few minor upgrades.
If you’re buying new, it’s the best small smart display; if you’ve got either of the previous models, there’s little incentive to upgrade.
- More rounded design
- Better button layout
- No USB
Amazon has given the Echo Show 5 a makeover for its 3rd generation, slightly refining the design. While the previous model was a little boxier, the latest version has a more curved body. I slightly prefer the new design, but it’s not that big of a tweak.
This smart display is available in three colours: charcoal, cloud blue, and white. There’s also a Kids Edition, with a special space theme to it (similar to how the Echo Dot Kids has a special design), although the fundamental hardware remains the same. And, the standard Echo Show 5 can be set up as a Kids Edition model if you prefer.
A bigger change comes from the buttons on top. With the previous models, the mute and volume buttons were all round, with icons printed on top of them. The new model has ‘+’ and ‘-‘ buttons for volume and a circle with a line through it for mute. That’s the same design as used for the more recent Amazon Echo (4th Generation). I think it makes the buttons easier to feel for, but there’s no difference in how they operate.
There’s also a slider that cuts power to the camera and puts a privacy shutter in front of it.
Turn the Echo Show 5 around, and there’s no longer a USB port on the rear. Given that Amazon never released any peripherals that used this port, it’s not something that I miss.
- Remote webcam viewing
- Full range of Alexa features
- No Netflix support
Given that Alexa is cloud based, the Amazon Echo Show 5 (3rd Generation) has all the same features as any other Echo smart display. I won’t go into details here, as my guide to Amazon Alexa goes into more detail. Alexa is now a mature and quality voice assistant, able to answer most questions, look up local businesses, give weather reports and it has the best support for smart home devices.
That includes being able to answer a Ring Doorbell from this device, rather than having to fish out your phone.
Internally, Amazon has upped the number of microphones from two to three, which it says makes the Echo Show 5 better at picking up voice requests. I’ve not noticed a dramatic difference in terms of quality and never had a problem with the old display.
There’s also a new Amazon AZ2 Neural Edge processor, which lets the Echo Show 5 process more voice commands on-device. In theory this should speed up Alexa’s responses. Again, the change is minimal in my experience.
A new processor is, according to Amazon, 20% faster than the one in the previous Echo Show 5. There’s a definite improvement in how quickly the screen responds, particularly when using the swipe-down action to access smart home controls, or to jump into video services.
I’m still a huge fan of the way that touch controls complement voice controls: if I turn on my lights using my voice, I can use the on-screen controls to adjust brightness to give that final tweak.
While Netflix was introduced with the previous Echo Show, this 3rd generation model removes support for it, which seems like a strange decision to me. Now, there’s only support for Prime Video.
YouTube and TikTok support are listed, but they just run through the Amazon Silk browser, which is slow and painful to use. Likewise, trying to use Bing and browse the web using Silk is a frustrating exercise: it’s easier to use a laptop or phone.
As with its predecessors, the Echo Show 5 is at home on a bedside table. Its default display flicks between a clock (layout of your choice) and shows information, such as upcoming appointments, most frequently asked questions, and ‘fun’ items. There’s a setting to toggle various options on and off.
At night, the screen can be set to dim to minimum level using the built-in ambient light sensor, plus there’s a Night Mode option that just turns the clock on and stops other distracting information from being shown. Night Mode can be enabled on a schedule or based on the ambient light. I found the Amazon Echo Show 5 (3rd Generation) went dim enough that I could sleep with it on; bright enough that I could tell the time.
As an alarm clock, the Echo Show 5 is great. I found it easy to set and adjust alarms. My only minor complaint is that with the Nest Hub (2nd Generation), I can say “Stop” to cancel an alarm that’s going off; with the Echo Show 5, I have to say, “Alexa, Stop”.
This speaker does support tap-to-snooze, with a quick tap on top snoozing an alarm for 10 minutes. I’d like the option to change this setting so that tap gesture would stop an alarm. Note that this speaker doesn’t support the tap play/pause features for the Echo Dot (5th Generation).
There’s Matter support in the Echo Show 5 (3rd Generation). Although without Thread support, this is limited to Matter over Wi-Fi. We’re still in early days for Matter but as support increases, it will become more important, allowing the Echo Show 5 to directly connect to Wi-Fi devices, rather than using the cloud, for more responsive controls.
There’s a 2MP webcam built in, the same as on the previous model. Quality isn’t great, and it doesn’t have the clever people tracking tech that the Echo Show 8 and Echo Show 10 have. There’s a remote view mode, too, available via the Alexa app. It’s handy if you want to see what’s going on at home while you’re away, although night vision is very poor, so you need enough ambient light for this mode to be useful.
- Slightly louder audio
- Marginally deeper bass
- Still not as good as a dedicated speaker
Amazon has boosted the single speaker from a 1.6-inch model in the old Echo Show to a 1.75-inch speaker in this model. Amazon promises this increases both volume and bass. It’s true to a degree, but this is still far from a decent music player.
There’s enough bass and volume for general voice replies, talk radio, podcasts and voice/video calls. Turn to music, and the results are good for the occasional listen, but don’t get too excited: there’s a bit of bass, but no real impact to it; the high end can get harsh, particularly at lower volumes; and detail and subtlety is lost.
- Decent for general use
- Too low-res for proper video watching
There’s a 5.5-inch 960×480 screen in this smart display, the same as on the previous generation device. It’s good enough for general use: getting extra on-screen information, such as the weather forecast, for viewing a smart camera remotely or for using touch controls. Viewing angles are excellent, too, and I could see the screen clearly from almost every angle. However, the screen resolution is a little too low for quality video watching.
If you’ve got an instructional video to watch in the kitchen, to help prepare a dish, the screen is fine; if you want to catch up on some Amazon Prime viewing, you’d need to be spectacularly disinterested in the visuals to bother.
Should you buy it?
You want a small smart display for a bedroom: If you want the ultimate smart alarm clock, then this is a great addition to your smart home.
The old model may suit you better:
With very similar features and a lower price, the 2nd Generation model is more of a bargain.
Although not that much different from the previous model, the new Amazon Echo Show (3rd Generation) is £15 more expensive than its predecessor.
While the old model remains on sale, I’d buy that and save the cash. When stock of the old model runs out, then this remains the best small smart display and a great bedside companion. Check out our Best Amazon Echo and Best Smart Speaker lists for more options.
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Not much: the new version has a slightly different design, faster processor, edge AI chip and a larger speaker.
No, this model no longer has Netflix built in, but the previous version does.