In recent times, home office setups have become really common. However, one thing that every smart home office setup needs is a smart speaker. The Amazon Echo series of smart speakers come packed with Alexa which is the company's AI-based voice assistant.
The company has launched their latest product, the Amazon Echo Show 5 (2nd Generation), which comes with a touch screen display to see and interact with what is happening rather than relying on voice and speakers. With an attractive price tag of Rs. 6,999 is the Echo Show 5 a hit or a bust? Let’s find out?
Amazon Echo Show 5 Review: Design and Specifications
The Amazon Echo Show 5 is in essence the smallest model in the Echo Show lineup. It comes in a triangular body style with the front packing a 5.5-inch touch screen display and a camera for video calls. The top has a couple of microphones along with volume controls. To show its dedication towards privacy, there is a microphone mute button that glows orange to show it muted the microphone and a physical camera shutter which can be seen to cover the camera lens.
The other two sides are covered in a mesh that gets dirty quite easily. The bottom side has rubber feet to grip on the table. The speaker fires at the bottom directly on the surface on which it is kept, so the sound quality is highly dependent on where it is kept.
It comes packed with a 1.65-inch speaker driver for sound. The smaller size of the Echo Show 5 makes it more portable and convenient for tabletop use. It used to sit in my Home Office room in the day and in my bedroom at night. Due to the size, taking it from one place to another is super easy, compared to the massive Echo Show 10.
The smaller size has its caveats for sure. While it packs a camera for video calls and drop-in, the smaller screen means that you cannot use it to see a lot on the other end. Even on the basic functions like the clock, weather, and the visual clues of the music player, reading them from across the room was a headache.
The touchscreen can be used to view information and control basic things, but the UI is laggy and slow to respond in most cases.
Coming to the Camera, the ability to call other people and have a chat directly from Alexa is much appreciated. The physical camera shutter to answer those various privacy concerns is really good. However, the screen is too small to view anything good on the Echo Show 5. Apart from that, the Camera is 2-megapixel which renders it useless in anything but quick chats which do not require video in the first place. However, it is to be noted that the Camera can turn into a Baby Monitor, allowing you to view what the Alexa is viewing from anywhere in the world, which may be important for many.
Amazon Echo Show 5 Review: Sound Quality and Performance
The Amazon Echo Show 5 isn't quite as equipped in the sound department as its counterparts. With a smaller 1.65-inch speaker, it is as powerful as an Echo Dot which costs half as much. Due to the bottom-firing speakers, the speaker’s sound performance depends directly on the surface it is kept on.
For example, on the bed, it sounds really bad but on a wooden tabletop, it sounds loud enough. For optimal listening experience, you must be seated in the front. If you are thinking of blasting the whole room with this, you need to think twice about the placement of the speaker.
Coming to the actual sound profile, it's decent. The low end is good enough, the bass depends on the surface it is kept on. The mids and highs are not that great. It's best to be used on 50-70% volume for a single person listening.
The performance aspect of the Echo Show 5 is based purely on Alexa's capabilities. You can make voice/video Calls with a drop-in feature which helps you to use it as a baby monitor. You can browse the web, play videos using the built-in screen, connect it to your Alexa Enabled TV to voice control your TV.
Alexa Skills can also be found and configured to control your other smart home appliances. One thing I noticed is the lack of support for Youtube Music which was a bit disappointing. You can always use it as a Bluetooth speaker and play from your phone, but direct connection using Alexa is better and voice controls can be used to change songs and much more.
Amazon Echo Show 5 Review: Verdict
The Amazon Echo Show 5 is in its second generation and it currently costs Rs 6,999. It is a good compromise between the Echo Show 8 and the Echo Spot. However, the sound quality is average at best.
What makes the product worth the price is the combination of Alexa combined with Smart Speaker capabilities and a display and camera setup. Overall, the Echo Show 5 (2nd Generation) is a great product and if you are looking to buy a smart speaker with a display, look no more, unless you prefer Google Assistant for some reason.