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.
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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.