Hot New Smart Home Deals $79.99 Echo Show 5 – Compact smart display with Alexa – Charcoal
Compact 5.5" smart display with Alexa ready to help; Manage calendar, make to-do lists, get weather and traffic updates, cook along with recipes.; Watch movies, news, and TV shows. Listen to songs, radio stations, and audiobooks.; Voice control compatible devices or manage them using the...
ORIGINAL REVIEW: July 1, 2019: 3.5/5 stars (more on the rationale behind the 3.5/5 rating at the end of the review)For background information, I am a professor and a tech geek. I have used Amazon devices for around eight years now. I currently own three Kindle e-readers (Kindle Touch, Kindle Paperwhite 3rd generation, and Kindle 10). I also own four Amazon Fire tablets (2015 Fire 7 -5th generation, 2019 Fire 7 – 9th generation, 2017 Fire HD 8 - 7th generation and 2018 Fire HD 8 –8th generation) and 3 Echo devices (1st generation Echo, 2nd generation Echo Dot, and 3rd generation Echo Dot). Please note that I have traded-in some of the dated versions of the above-listed products to get upgraded versions (more on this under the “Saving Money on Purchases” section).This device - Amazon’s Echo Show 5 (2019 release) is a refresh of the Echo Show line-up at an outstanding price. The Echo Show 5 (henceforth referred to as ES5) is in a new class of its own. The combination of quality and value are really tough to beat and the ES5 does well overall. This is a comprehensive review, but for those looking for the bottom line, scroll down to the bottom to see some feedback on how to save money on purchasing the Echo Show and my final recommendations. I honestly don’t know why this device is called Echo Show 5 when this is the third version (generation) of the Echo Show line-up. Some reviewers have suggested that this could allude to the device’s display size.I have spent the past few days interacting with the ES5, using it, and reading other online reviews about this device to ensure the comprehensiveness and accuracy of information provided in this review.- The Box (package): The Echo Show 5 (ES5) smart speaker, a quick-start guide, things to try card, 15W wall adapter, and a cable (4.9 foot). The item arrived sealed and packaged well.- Availability (Color): Charcoal and Sandstone. Option to also purchase this device with either color and a Ring Video Doorbell Pro at a higher price-Set up: Plug in the device to receive prompts, and then connect to the Internet. Overall, the set-up was self-explanatory.- Summary of critical aspects that have changed in this version: Echo Show 5 (ES5) vs. Echo Show 2 (ES2). Technically, there is nothing to compare this device to other than the previous Echo Show 2nd generation even though it is not a fair comparison because the previous device is a premium device. Perhaps, Amazon is trying to improve the number of offerings for its Echo Show line-up while decreasing the price and/or the Echo Show 2nd generation didn’t get as many sales (no clue, I am just guessing here). Please note that the Fire Tablets, the Kindles, and the Echo speakers have 3 models each so the above guess is a reasonable one.--- Release Date: ES5 (2019) vs. ES2 (2018)--- Display size: ES5 (5.5 inch) vs. ES2 (10.1 inch HD screen)--- Display resolution: ES5 (960 x 480 resolution) vs. ES2 (1280 x 960 resolution)--- Speakers: ES5 (one 4W speaker) vs. ES2 (two 10W drivers and a passive radiator with Dolby processing for room-filling sound)--- Camera: ES5 (1MP) vs. ES2 (5 MP)--- Camera Controls: ES5 (built-in camera shutter and microphone/camera off button) vs. ES2 (microphone/camera on/off button)--- Microphones: ES5 (2 mics) vs. ES5 (4 mics)--- Built-in Zigbee smart home hub: ES5 (NA) vs. ES2 (present)--- Dimensions: ES5 [5.8” x 3.4” x 2.9” (148mm x 86mm x 73mm)] vs. ES2 [9.7” x 6.9” x 4.2” (246 mm x 174 mm x 107 mm)].--- Weight: ES5 [14.5 oz (410 grams)] vs. ES2 [62.2 oz. (1765 grams)]--- Processor: ES5 (MediaTek MT 8163) vs. ES2 (Intel Atom x5-Z8350 processor)--- Adapter and cable: ES5 [Power adapter (15W)/cable (4.9 ft.)] vs. ES2 [Power adapter (30W)/cable (6 ft.)]- Key things are similar when compared to Echo Show 2nd generation device:--- Alexa is the same: However, please note that Alexa has several skills and is constantly being updated--- Basic functionality (i.e. the purpose the Echo Show device and uses) is the same--- Color options are the same.--- Warranty and Service options are the same--- Ports and buttons are the same- Comparison between the Echo Show 5 (ES5) and Echo Spot (ES)--- Release Date: ES5 (2019) vs. ES (2018)--- Display size: ES5 (5.5 inch) vs. ES (2.5 inc)--- Display resolution: ES5 (960 x 480 resolution) vs. ES (480 x 480 resolution)--- Camera: ES5 (1MP) vs. ES (VGA)--- Camera Controls: ES5 (built-in camera shutter and microphone/camera off button) vs. ES (microphone/camera on/off button).--- Microphones: ES5 (2 mics) vs. ES (4 mics)--- Built-in Zigbee smart home hub: ES5 (NA) vs. ES (present).--- Dimensions: ES5 [5.8” x 3.4” x 2.9” (148mm x 86mm x 73mm)] vs. ES [4.1” x 3.8” x 3.6” (104 mm x 97 mm x 91 mm)--- Weight: ES5 [14.5 oz (410 grams)] vs. ES [14.8 oz. (419 grams)]--- Adapter and cable: ES5 [Power adapter (15W)/cable (4.9 ft.)] vs. ES [Power adapter (W)/cable (6 ft.)]--- Color Options: ES5 (Charcoal or Sandstone) vs. ES (Black or White)- Key things are similar when compared to Echo Show 2nd generation device:--- Alexa is the same--- Basic functionality (i.e. the purpose the Echo Show device and uses) is the same--- Warranty and Service options are the same--- Ports and buttons are the same- Technical specs and other details (Echo Show 5):--- Size: 5.8” x 3.4” x 2.9” (148mm x 86mm x 73mm)--- Weight: 14.5 oz (410 grams)--- Warranty and Service: 1-year limited warranty and service included. Optional 1-year, 2-year, and 3-year extended warranty is available for U.S. customers and is sold separately.--- Wi-Fi connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi supports 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi networks. Does not support connecting to ad-hoc (or peer-to-peer) Wi-Fi networks.--- Ports: 3.5 mm stereo jack, power port, and USB port.--- Audio: Full range 1.65” built-in speaker. 3.5 mm stereo audio output for use with external speakers.--- Buttons on device: Two volume controls (Volume Up and Volume Down) and Camera Shutter (On/Off).- Some limitations (listed in order of concern) to be expected because of this device being sold at a bargain price and is the mid-tier model:--- There was some lag time in loading videos, some confusion to access things, and the screen doesn’t function similar to a tablet (swiping to access options and apps). Additionally, the software on this device occasionally kept freezing and navigation was a bit of a challenge. For instance, there were multiple times when the video I was watching reset to the beginning (after the video was paused and the home screen came on) and songs stopped mid-way. Consequently, I am docking down 1/2 a star.---The constant ads on the home screen (try Alexa to do something) can get a bit annoying. I am docking down 1/2 a star for this issue.--- FreeTime could not be enabled on this device. I tried repeatedly but couldn’t figure out how to make FreeTime work. Enabling Amazon FreeTime in the Alexa app can make any Echo Device kid-friendly. Again, I am docking down another 1/2 a star.--- The speaker is not as good as compared to the Echo Show 2nd generation--- No audio cable includedTotal stars docked: 1.5- Some useful features on the Echo Show (not a comprehensive list).--- “Alexa has 80,000 skills and counting. Skills are like apps and help you do more like play Jeopardy! Just say, ‘Alexa, show me skills.’”--- Accessibility: “On Echo devices with screens, you can enable Alexa captioning and closed captioning, magnify the screen, toggle color inversion, and choose between color correction options. You can also enable the VoiceView screen reader to use gestures to navigate the screen and hear spoken feedback about the items you select.”--- Bluetooth: “Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) support for audio streaming from your mobile device to Echo Show 5 or from Echo Show 5 to your Bluetooth speaker. Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP) for voice control of connected mobile devices. Hands-free voice control is not supported for Mac OS X devices. Bluetooth speakers requiring PIN codes are not supported.”--- The “Drop In” feature on Alexa functions as a two-way intercom between any 2 Echo devices (needs to be enabled on receiver device). Additionally, customers can use Announcements as a one-way intercom to other household devices. This can be done by asking Alexa to “Drop In” on Kitchen, Kid’s bedroom, Living Room (depending on how you have named your Echo devices), etc. Family members do not need to accept Drop Ins (announcements) as compared to a hands-free call that needs to be accepted (similar to a traditional phone call, people can reject the call). Basically, the Drop In feature works in your house while the hands-free call feature (calls require that you input the contact name and phone number by letting the Alexa app access this information) is making a physical call to either someone in your home or somewhere else using the Echo device. Calls can be made to the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. Calling family members has been amazing. The noise-canceling set-up works really well and conversations are crisp and clear. Messaging option exists for those with the Alexa app, an echo device with a screen, or Skype.--- Ability to customize clock face, add background photos, entertain, and create morning routines.--- You can watch videos on WikiHow (unique new addition)--- There is a new and upgraded wake up alarm system (option to add ambient sunrise lighting feature)--- Surfing the web using Amazon’s web browser - Silk--- Other apps (games, educational tools, etc. available in Amazon’s app store) plus several prominent apps included like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc.--- Ability to check email.--- Ability to control your smart home devices through voice control (security cameras, light, thermostats, etc.)--- Ability to watch movie trailers, news, see song lyrics, and album art--- Ability to listen to radio stations, podcasts, see song lyrics, and audiobooks--- Ability to create to-do lists, calendars, look at weather, and traffic. Also, you can receive step-by-step directions for cooking--- Customers can make purchases from their Amazon account-Some Usage Tips (Amazon’s review space limitations prevent me from putting any more tips):--- Changing Device Name: Please note that the device name can be changed from something generic to something specific. This is especially helpful if you own multiple Echo devices and was automatically assigned a generic device name (like “Echo Dot”) and has no clue which device is which on the Amazon Alexa app. This can be done by opening the Alexa app -> selecting “devices” -> selecting “All Devices”-> selecting “your respective device” -> then scroll down in your device options and select “Edit Name” -> Then you can change it to whatever you choose. Personally, I have named devices either based on user, model and/or location at home.--- Devices can be registered using the same methods listed above and getting to the Device specific page. This applies especially if you are gifting the device to another individual or are reselling it.- Potential best locations for device placement:--- Bedroom as an alarm clock and ambient device (slowly turns on in the morning), to see to-do lists, weather, news updates, wake up to music, play radio station, potentially seeing nursery (by using Alexa integrated nursery cameras) and also ability to control your smart home devices through voice control (security cameras, light, thermostats, etc.)--- Kitchen as a device to assist with cooking by providing step-by-step directions, to turn on music, etc.--- Home Office as a device to quickly check any updates (check the above list from bedroom).- Saving money on purchasing this device:--- Occasionally, Amazon also offers discounts for a bundle sale on products (get 2 or 3 items for a substantial discount). So, if you are considering buying the ES5, now is the time to order it. There is a limited time sale - you can get 2 devices for $30 off though I don’t know how long it will last.--- My recommendation would be to preorder this item now. If you don’t get a chance to do so, then you can purchase this item during a sale event (for instance, Amazon Prime day is in mid-July).--- The customer can get this item on sale during Prime day (based on prior sales analysis), and then stack the trade-in price (if you have an older device) and the 25% discount to get this item. However, one thing to keep in mind is that Amazon might decide to remove the trade-in gift card and 25% discount at any point.- Conclusion: 3.5/5 starsTo sum up my review, my slight frustration is that this device doesn’t exactly function as a stand-alone tablet nor does it function as a stand-alone speaker device so it can be a bit challenging to use initially. In my opinion, the Echo Show is a device still looking for its niche (i.e., in, many senses everything that the Echo Show 5 does, can be done better using dedicated devices like the Fire tablets, Kindle e-readers, or the Echo speakers). However, overall this device works really well in a small room. Updates worth noting in this version are the increased privacy options and lower cost. The bottom line is that if you are looking to get an affordable device that is well rated, has a small profile, is lightweight, and can function as a smart tablet, smart speaker, alarm, smart home devices controller, etc.(though not being good at anything per se plus being a bit challenging to use and have a few minor bugs) then this device is the way to go. I don't think this device deserves 4/5 stars. 4 is too high a score for this device as it has numerous flaws. 3 is too low a rating for this product as I think it is a good concept that requires much refining. However, Amazon doesn't give me the option to give a 3.5/5 or 7/10, but 3.5/5 is my final rating for this product.Please note that several resources were used in the compilation of this review, but most of this review was based on my personal testing of the product. Additionally, because of the length of the review and some information fitting into multiple categories, I have repeated some key ideas to help customers unfamiliar with the device to get acclimated.Whenever I make any purchase, I try to do a thorough and accurate job with the review. This means that I am putting my trust in the global community of reviewers to assist me with finding the best choices for my family and self. My reviews are a way of giving back to the community, and I strive to be an ethical reviewer following the golden rule. Consequently, my reviews are my honest and comprehensive assessment of the product. I always post future updates and corrections based on new information if deemed necessary. Additionally, I always include photos of products to verify both that I purchased this product and to back up appropriate claims in the review. If you have any feedback or questions or corrections, leave a note in the comments section. Thank you!
Ugh. The constant large ads to “Try, Alexa [insert question or skill here]” that splash across the screen and cannot be turned off are annoying. Super annoying. Like return this annoying. There is no option to turn them off. You can only have *all of them play once then stop, but that means the content that you actually want regular updates of, like your stocks or news, scroll once and then never again. Oh, yeah, the photos of the product on this page? None of them show that “Try, Alexa” screen or card as they call it. So you have no idea that you will be constantly subjected to those screen filling ads all the time. This is not worth $90. It’s not worth $45. It’s an annoying ad machine. Oh and the screen is dark, low resolution so your photos look terrible, and there are only 2 video options (prime and nbc) but the software to select and watch them is terrible. This is a poorly conceived and executed product.
having to disable cards as the only way to stop the rotating alexa suggestions is not really a sane option.considering the price of the device this should be easier to permanently disable instead of only being able to partially disable it (it will still show when interacting with the device) by disabling useful features.imagine going to the movies and seeing a banner at the bottom with "we are also playing this other movie you might like" and then 10 minutes later "did you know you can buy popcorn?" and then "we have free restrooms". I think they are going for this kind of experience. no matter how good the movie, the banners undermine it.I will keep it for now in case they release an update removing the advertisements. but I will probably be returning it if there is no permanent fix.EDIT:I have been exploring more and i can review some skills:smart ligths: works decent enough with philiphs hue. you can se a dimmer switch for the room you asked alexa to control. i believe it should have access to the smart home app showing all the lights. unfortunately asking alexa to show/open smart home doesn't show you the smart home instead it shows you some irrelevant "smart home tip"timer: works great!, timer stays on clock screen. is a simple task but really works perfectlyspotify: major disappointment, puts in question the value of the device, the user interface is minimal there is only a recently played screen. no playlist or any other way to explore the spotify catalog!, I was expecting a way to explore the catalog as part of the minimum set of features.audible: like smart lights the screens seem disconnected. you can play an audiobook and you get basic controls play/pause back/forward 30 seconds but that's it. you can ask alexa to show you your audiobooks but it's a simple list with no options other than resuming the audiobook you select. no chapters no options.EDIT2:I started the return process.