Amazon Echo Show 5 vs Amazon Echo Show vs Amazon Echo Spot: the best Echo with a display

T3 puts all of the Echo devices with screens up against each other

Amazon Echo Show 5 vs Amazon Echo Show vs Amazon Echo Spot
(Image credit: Amazon)

There's a new Echo in town: the Echo Show 5 is a smaller Echo Show at a cheaper price point, and it means you've got even more Echo devices to choose from if you want a smart, Alexa-enabled speaker/display working as part of the smart home setup you've created.

We're not going to take you through every single Echo speaker in the current line-up in this article – instead we're going to focus on the Echo devices with displays, those that can show as well as tell (so security camera footage, photo slideshows, video calls and more).

Amazon Echo Show 5 vs Amazon Echo Show vs Amazon Echo Spot: design

Amazon Echo Show 5 vs Amazon Echo Show vs Amazon Echo Spot

Amazon Echo Show 5

(Image credit: Amazon)

With the same software running on all of these devices (see the section below), it's really in the design department where the major differences are to be found. The biggest device here is the second generation Amazon Echo Show, boasting a 10.1-inch, HD screen running at a resolution of 1,280 x 800 pixels. Two 10W drivers and a passive radiator provide the audio oomph.

If the Amazon Echo Show 5 looks like a smaller version of the Amazon Echo Show, you're absolutely right. The same sort of styling is in evidence, but here you only get a 5.5-inch screen running at a resolution of 960 x 480 pixels. There's a 4W speaker for audio. That smaller size means it's not as good for watching videos, but it doesn't take up as much room on the bedside table either.

The Amazon Echo Spot is a device made for the bedside table: it only has a 2.5-inch screen, but that's fine for checking the time or the weather forecast, or for making quick video calls. The 1.4-inch speaker is okay for podcasts and music at a push, but really you're buying the Echo Spot for its cute looks and compact size.

Amazon Echo Show 5 vs Amazon Echo Show vs Amazon Echo Spot: software

Amazon Echo Show 5 vs Amazon Echo Show vs Amazon Echo Spot

Amazon Echo Show

(Image credit: Amazon)

The software on board the Amazon Echo Show 5, the larger Amazon Echo Show, and the Amazon Echo Spot is very similar across the board. Alexa powers everything, so you can ask questions, set reminders, view your schedule, and so on and so on. The display really helps with just about any action, from playing music (with added touchscreen controls) to getting the weather forecast (with added visuals).

In terms of video, you can watch Amazon Prime Video content, but not Netflix or YouTube (at least not with a complicated workaround). You can make video calls though, which work well – there's a front-facing camera on all these devices.

Amazon Alexa can also control your smart home, and having the bigger display on the Echo Show device helps when it comes to switching smart lights on and off, checking the temperature of a smart thermostat, and so on. In regards to the software though, there's not much to choose between these three devices.

Amazon Echo Show 5 vs Amazon Echo Show vs Amazon Echo Spot: features

Amazon Echo Show 5 vs Amazon Echo Show vs Amazon Echo Spot

Amazon Echo Spot

(Image credit: Amazon)

The features offered by these Amazon Echo-with-a-display devices are broadly similar, though there are a few differences. As we've said, every device here has a front-facing camera for video calls: a 5MP unit on the Amazon Echo Show, a 1MP unit on the Amazon Echo Show 5, and a VGA unit (640 x 480 pixels) on the Amazon Echo Spot.

There's one feature that the full-size Amazon Echo Show has that the other two smart displays don't, and that's an integrated Zigbee hub. That means the Echo Show is better at controlling various smart home devices directly, without the aid of a hub, but they can all act as a way of controlling your smart home setup with your voice (or the Alexa app).

Perhaps in a nod to privacy concerns, the newest Echo Show 5 has a built-in camera cover, which means the front-facing camera is actually blocked. On the Echo Spot and Echo Show, there's just a microphone/camera off button (which the Echo Show 5 also has) – there's no physical block for the camera.

Amazon Echo Show 5 vs Amazon Echo Show vs Amazon Echo Spot: verdict

Amazon Echo Show 5 vs Amazon Echo Show vs Amazon Echo Spot

Three Amazon Echos with displays

(Image credit: Amazon)

With software and features that are very similar, it's all a question of how big a screen you want when it comes to picking between the Echo Show 5, the Echo Show, and the Amazon Echo Spot – do you want something that shows off Amazon Prime Video to the best possible extent, or do you need something that fits by the side of the bed?

Price is something we haven't talked about yet: the Echo Show 5 is the cheapest model here, significantly less than the Echo Show (check the widgets on this page for the latest pricing). The Amazon Echo Spot is in the middle in terms of pricing, which seems odd considering it has a smaller display than the Echo Show 5.

All of these products are well built and have the magic of Alexa inside them though, so don't spend too long agonising over a decision. Alexa continues to improve in terms of both the features it offers and how well they get presented on a display (rather than just an audio speaker), so you'll be making use of these gadgets for years to come.