Amazon’s Echo Show 5 was a game-changer when it was released in 2019, as it provided an ultra-affordable means of entry into the smart display market. On shopping holidays like Prime Day or Black Friday, you could pick up a Show 5 for less than $50, and you could even pair it with another smart product like a smart bulb or security camera for a small added cost. Now, Amazon has come out with a new Echo Show 5. What does the 2021 Echo Show 5 have that the 2019 version doesn’t? Which model is best for you? We compare the two side by side to find out.
Both the Echo Show 5 (1st Gen) and Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen) look pretty much the same. They both have a 5.5-inch touchscreen and a relatively thick interior bezel surrounding the screen. The 2019 and 2021 models each have the speaker portion on the back that’s pyramid shaped, so it also serves as a stand. Both devices measure 5.8 inches in width, 3.4 inches in height, and 2.9 inches in depth.
The new model does, however, come in an additional color option — deep sea blue. There’s also a chameleon color option for kids. The 2019 version comes in only charcoal or glacier, with no kids option.
Audio and video quality
The audio and video hardware are the same on the Echo Show 5 (1st Gen) and (2nd Gen). Both models have a single 1.7-inch speaker for audio and 960 x 480 resolution on the 5.5-inch screen.
The main difference between the two generations is that the newer (2021) model doesn’t have a 3.5 mm jack like its predecessor, so you can’t directly plug in an external speaker (you’d have to connect an external speaker via Bluetooth).
Camera quality and features
This is one area where the two models greatly differ. The 2021 Echo Show 5 has a better camera and more advanced camera features than its predecessor. The newer Show 5 has a 2MP camera, compared to only 1MP on the 2019 model. Plus, the 2021 Echo Show 5 lets you use the camera to check in on your home remotely — a feature not available in the older Show 5, as it was previously reserved for more expensive models like the Echo Show 10.
The ability to access the camera via the Alexa app is a huge upgrade because it allows the Show 5 to basically serve as a security camera. You can check in on pets, teens, or just check in on your home in general. When combined with Alexa Guard, this can serve as very basic home protection.
You get the same Alexa on both the Show 5 (1st Gen) and the Show 5 (2nd Gen). You can control your compatible smart devices, check the news, listen to music, and so much more. Both devices allow you to make video calls, display photos, set schedules, and set alarms. Neither device has a built-in Zigbee Hub like the Echo Show 10 though. Both the Show 5 (1st Gen) and the Show 5 (2nd Gen) have a MediaTek MT 8163 processor, and both devices allow you to physically block the camera and mute the mic for privacy.
Like its main competitor, Amazon continues to prioritize energy efficiency. The 2021 Show 5 has a low power mode, the company is building farms to produce solar and wind energy, and Amazon uses a large amount of recycled materials in the production and packaging of the new Show 5 device.
The Show 5 (2nd Gen) retails for $85, while the 1st-generation Show has a current retail price of $80. The newer Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen) also offers a kids version, which includes parental controls. The kids version sells for $95.
As previously discussed, you’ll likely be able to find deals on Amazon devices during shopping events like Prime Day. With Amazon releasing a new version of the Echo Show 5, the older version will likely be on sale for a much lower price point.
Which is better?
The biggest value-adds on the Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen) are the improved camera and the ability to view the camera feed remotely. If having the ability to check in on your home is important to you, go with the 2nd-generation version. If that’s not so important to you, the 1st-generation Echo Show 5 will likely be sufficient.