I was introduced to the Amazon Echo Show (2nd Gen) last year. It sits in the kitchen and has been useful, and entertaining, in many ways. Is it a tablet? Is it a speaker? Well, it’s a device that you don’t tote around but you’d use it in a room – in my case, where I’m most active. It can handle a variety of tasks that are most useful on a day-to-day basis and yes, I 100% use it every day. The solid device not only gives me topline news stories each morning but it plays whatever music I’m in the mood for at the moment (and that ranges from calm and soothing music to hip hop to contemporary classical), helps me search for recipes, helps manage my lists, and I can even continue to listen to my audible.ca books picking up exactly where I’ve left off on my iPhone. It can do video calls. I could also watch Amazon Prime Videos while whipping up dinner and have it connected to control all the smart devices in our home. It’s a clear winner in our house. Now, the latest edition, Amazon Echo Show 5, has entered the market and of course, we wanted to see what the difference was. I mean, our existing one is seriously hard to beat.Having it for a couple of weeks now, it turns out that this device won’t replace the other model but has become an added sibling to our household in another room. While it can completely be used on its own, The Amazon Echo Show 5 is compact in size with a 5.5” screen making it a more personal device. It does pretty much everything the Echo Show 2nd Generation does, this new device comes in at an even better price point with all the useful features.The newest version adds a Camera shield cover — a very appealing feature on this version. When you’re not video messaging or taking photos simply slide the cover over the lens for peace of mind. You can also mute the microphone.
You do have to plug in to use – no wireless option on this device. But there are options. The device itself comes with an adapter as well as a small USB support. An audio jack is there as another convenient option.Setting up is easy by following the on-screen prompts. You will need internet access as well as an Amazon account to set up. You will also want to download the Alexa App to maintain continuity from your phone. When you’ve set up the account you have access to many of the features to experience on this device. Subscribe to Amazon Prime Video, Amazon Music and even Amazon for shopping to really get full use.
The set up will also ask which room you will want to use this device – this is to help manage a group of devices later on. You can name the device so it would be recognized to play music or call specifically on the one device and not any others that you may have in your spaces. But you can also stream your Spotify and Deezer playlists. Another fun feature is Alexa can show you lyrics on-screen should you want to sing along with music that’s playing. BTW, there are great meditation programs to follow along!Speaking of music, I was really impressed by the sound quality – not quite as powerful as the larger Echo Show because of sheer size, but nonetheless, pretty amazing coming from this one. Bluetooth to another speaker if you want something more substantial.
Like the larger version, you can voice control or use touch screen. I find it convenient to be hands-free and just talking from the other side of the room to get what I want the device to do. A simple command that begins with “Hey Alexa” launches into your tasks or entertainment requests.If you prefer the touch screen access, simply swipe to see the icons and launch what you want to do. If you’re new to Alexa there’s a ton to discover with the device and you’ll have fun seeing what comes up. I love the “Weird Things to Know” that comes up – real conversation starters.
Like the other Echo Show device, you can control other smart home devices like NEST thermostats, lights, video camera monitors or doorbells.
Watching videos – need a tutorial on how to create the perfect angel cake? or want to check out the latest movie trailer? The images are sharp and colours are rich. Maybe not necessarily for watching a full-length film (I’ll save that for my larger screen Echo Show) but great for everyday tasks, quick access to tutorials and video calls for example.
The device also has an ambient light feature as well as a sunrise feature has the screen brighten up as the sun comes up. Handy for a living room or bedroom space.
Another handy thing I’ve discovered now that we have more than one Echo device, I’m able to make an announcement through all devices to let the family know when dinner is on the table or when everyone needs to clean up because grandma is on her way…without screaming. Oh, and another thing! I also like that there’s a rubber base at the bottom so there are no worries about it accidentally sliding off surfaces. Seeing as it’s used in the bedroom a nighttime whack wouldn’t be unexpected. Hey, it’s the little well-thought-out details that make a difference too!
There’s a lot more to discover on this powerful device and I’m still amazed at what I’m learning! Great for office spaces as well as college and university students as they head back to school.
The price point is pretty amazing at $99.99 Canadian. Now available through amazon.ca
*This device was provided for review purposes only. Like always, our mission with technology reviews is to see how devices and apps work into our everyday life. No compensation will ever be accepted for our tech reviews.