Amazon Echo Show 5 2021 unveiled with better camera, kids edition

Amazon Echo Show 5 (2021)
(Image credit: Amazon)

Amazon's smallest smart display, the Echo Show 5, is getting a refresh with a slightly better camera, as well as a kid's edition. And, like the earlier Echo Show 5, the new model will sell for less than $100, making it a compelling option for those who want a small smart display on a budget. 

Amazon Echo Show 5 price and availability

The Echo Show 5 ($84.99) is available in one of three colors (Charcoal, Glacier White, and Deep Sea Blue). 

The Echo Show 5 Kids Edition ($94.99) will come in Chameleon, which is a greenish color. It also includes a 1-year subscription to Amazon Kids+ ($2.99/month thereafter) and a 2-year replacement policy if your child happens to break it. 

Both versions are available for preorder, and will ship on June 9.

Amazon Echo Show 5: Design and features

Outwardly, the new Echo Show 5 looks identical to the older version, which can now be found for as low as $49. It has a 5.5-inch, 960 x 480 display and a triangular body, the back part of which is covered in a mesh fabric. Along the top edge are volume control buttons as well as a privacy shutter, which blocks the camera and microphone.

According to Amazon, the new Echo Show 5 has "an upgraded HD camera with double the pixels," so it's going to a modest 2MP from an even more modest 1MP. 

Unlike the new Echo Show 8 or the newest Echo Show 10 (as well as the Google Nest Hub Max and Facebook Portal), the Echo Show 5's camera will not have a digital pan-and-zoom feature, so it won't be able to track you as you move around the room. That's probably not as big an issue, as the Echo Show 5 is a device that seems destined for your nightstand. 

Amazon Echo Show 5 Kids Edition

The Echo Show 5 Kids Edition is essentially the same device as the Echo Show 5, but comes with a 1-year subscription to Amazon Kids+ and a 2-year replacement policy. It's the first Amazon smart display to be released in a Kids Edition. In some ways, it's a smaller, less mobile version of the fleet of Amazon Fire tablets for Kids, but it's one you don't have to worry about keeping recharged all the time. 

Amazon Echo Show 5 outlook

The sub-$100 price of the new Echo Show 5 does make it a near impulse buy when you're checking out at the Amazon register, but we have many of the same questions that we had with the original. In our Echo Show 5 review, we found that video call quality was good, but the device was somewhat laggy, and there were limited uses for a display this small. It's not all that satisfying to watch videos on a tiny screen.

When it comes to bedside smart displays, we've tended to prefer simpler models, such as the Amazon Echo Dot with Clock, the Lenovo Smart Clock, and the Lenovo Smart Clock Essential. They have lower aspirations, but they better meet their goals.

Still, it's been two years since the original Echo Show 5 debuted; we'll reserve our final judgment until we've had a chance to test the new smart display.

Mike Prospero
U.S. Editor-in-Chief, Tom's Guide

Michael A. Prospero is the U.S. Editor-in-Chief for Tom’s Guide. He oversees all evergreen content and oversees the Homes, Smart Home, and Fitness/Wearables categories for the site. In his spare time, he also tests out the latest drones, electric scooters, and smart home gadgets, such as video doorbells. Before his tenure at Tom's Guide, he was the Reviews Editor for Laptop Magazine, a reporter at Fast Company, the Times of Trenton, and, many eons back, an intern at George magazine. He received his undergraduate degree from Boston College, where he worked on the campus newspaper The Heights, and then attended the Columbia University school of Journalism. When he’s not testing out the latest running watch, electric scooter, or skiing or training for a marathon, he’s probably using the latest sous vide machine, smoker, or pizza oven, to the delight — or chagrin — of his family.