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Since the first Amazon Echo smart speaker was introduced all the way back in 2014, the range has diversified enormously. There's an Echo device for almost every need imaginable, from the Echo Flex, that's basically Alexa in a plug to the upcoming Echo Hub that lets you control your entire smart home from a touchscreen display.

Echo smart displays joined the line-up in 2017 with the launch of the Echo Show - a device that morphed into the current Echo Show 10. In 2019, Amazon extended the Echo Show family with a smaller screen, and the Echo Show 5 was born.

The Echo Show 5 is now on its third iteration, with the latest model launched in May 2023. How does it compare to the previous model, and is it still a great choice as an Echo for your bedside? I've been living with it to find out.

Amazon Echo Show 5 (3rd Gen)-1
Amazon/ Pocket-Lint
Amazon Echo Show 5 (3rd Gen)
$40 $90 Save $50

The smallest of Amazon's smart displays is an ideal choice for a home office or a bedside table, and this third-generation model offers improved sound and upgraded internals that make Alexa more responsive. It might not be an obvious upgrade for second-generation owners, but those coming from older devices, or newcomers entirely, will find it a great choice.

  • Perfect for a nightstand or home office
  • Improved bass over previous models
  • Better voice recognition
  • Often discounted
  • Touch controls a little sluggish
  • Screen is too small for larger rooms
  • No Zigbee support

Design and build

  • Dimensions: 147 x 91 x 82mm
  • Weight: 456g
  • New colour options: Cloud Blue

The dimensions of the Echo Show 5 (2023) haven't changed significantly. It's a fraction taller and a little deeper than the second-generation Echo Show 5, but you'd only notice the difference if you placed them side-by-side. However, the curved corners on the display are immediately obvious. The two previous generations have curved corners on the body of the smart speaker, but the screen itself has sharp corners. On the Echo Show 5 (2023), the corners of the display are rounded off to match the curves of the body. It's only a small change, but somehow, it makes the Echo Show 5 (2023) look a little more stylish than the previous iterations.

echo show 5 2023 clock-1

The other noticeable change is that the bezels on the newest Echo Show 5 (which aren't obviously any smaller than on the previous models) extend right to the very edge of the device rather than there being a narrow plastic lip around the edge of the screen. Amazon calls this 'infinity edge cover glass', and it does help to make the Echo Show 5 (2023) look like a more premium product.

Echo Show 5 2023 side view

The fairly deep plastic surround from the previous models is also now gone, which is where the buttons were situated on the older models. The Echo Show 5 (2023) replaces these circular buttons with buttons that are shaped like the icons themselves - plus and minus to control the volume, and a button shaped like the mute icon. The camera cover slider switch is alongside these buttons, all of which are built directly into the material of the body. The buttons feel a little strange under the finger, but they're perfectly responsive. It will be interesting to see how long they hold up under prolonged use compared to the older models' traditional buttons, as they seem a little more delicate.

Echo Show 5 2023 from above

Around the back of the device, there's only a single port for the power cable - the 3.5mm stereo audio out that was found on the 1st-generation Echo Show 5 hasn't made a return. The hole for the power cable is quite deep, though, and it's hard to be completely sure that you've connected it securely. When I was first setting it up, there were a couple of occasions when the Echo Show 5 lost power because the power cable had slipped out a little. Once I'd given it a good shove to ensure it was connected and put the Echo Show is in its place, however, then this hasn't been an issue.

Echo Show 5 2023 back unplugged-1

The Echo Show 5 (2023) is available in the same Charcoal and Glacier White colours that have been options from the very first Echo Show 5, but the Deep Sea Blue introduced with the second-gen model is now replaced with a Cloud Blue option. It's a pale blue that's much more striking than the previous Deep Sea Blue and feels like a good addition, considering the previous blue felt quite similar to the Charcoal option.

Display and sound

  • 5.5-inch touchscreen display
  • 960 x 480 resolution
  • 1.75-inch speaker

In terms of the display, not much has changed other than the rounder corners mentioned above. It's the same 5.5-inch touchscreen with a 960 x 480 resolution found in the previous models. The screen size is more than adequate when you're up close and personal, but if you're placing it on the other side of a large room, it's going to be too small to be of much use. A larger smart display, such as the Echo Show 8 or Echo Show 10, will be more useful.

Where the Echo Show 5 really shines is as a smart display for your nightstand or on the desk of your home office. At this distance, the 5.5-inch screen is big enough to clearly read the information on the screen or even to stream content from services such as Amazon Prime or Netflix. However, if you want to watch YouTube, you'll have to do it through the browser, as there's no native app. It is possible to search YouTube by voice, with requests such as 'watch kitten videos on YouTube' (guilty), but you'll still have to interact with the screen to select the video you want to watch.

Echo Show 5 2023 video

If you like having your guilty pleasure show on in the background when you're working, watching on the Echo Show 5 (2023) is plenty good enough, although you wouldn't want to sit down and watch an entire movie on it. The viewing angle also isn't great; if you're not looking at the screen head-on, your view is fairly dim, but with appropriate placement, it shouldn't be too much of an issue.

While the display on the Echo Show 5 (2023) is unchanged from the previous models, the sound is improved. The 1.65-inch speaker from the earlier models is replaced with a larger 1.75-inch speaker, which Amazon claims offers deeper bass and greater voice clarity.

The bass improvement is noticeable compared to a first-generation Echo Show 5. Alexa's voice has more body and depth to it than on the older models, and when playing music, the low end has much more presence. Listening to The Only Living Boy in New York by Simon and Garfunkel on the Echo Show 5 (2023), the bass guitar leaps out much more and is far less muddy than on the older model. The deeper drum hits also punch through more strongly, making a noticeable sound quality improvement over its predecessors.

It's worth mentioning that the Echo Show 5 will never offer room-filling sound like an Echo Studio can due to its relatively small size. However, if you're using it on your nightstand or in a home office, the improved sound of the Echo Show 5 (2023) is a welcome improvement.


  • MediaTek MT 8196 B chipset
  • AZ2 Neural Edge processor
  • 2-megapixel camera

Some of the internals of the Echo Show 5 (2023) haven't been upgraded. You get the same 2-megapixel camera found on the second-gen Echo Show 5, although it is at least better than the 1-megapixel camera on the original.

It's perfectly adequate for making video calls, which is the most likely reason that you'd use the camera - not least because it's not possible to take a photo with the camera of the Echo Show 5 (2023). This is something that I can do with the first-generation Echo Show 5 just by asking Alexa, and although the results are far from great, it's odd that the feature isn't supported on a device with a better camera and more powerful processor.

The Echo Show 5 (2023) runs on a MediaTek MT 8196 B processor, which replaces the slower MediaTek MT 8163 chip that's found in the first two generations. There's also Amazon's AZ2 Neural Edge processor on board, which is supposed to offer better voice recognition and boost the device's machine-learning smarts.

The impact of this updated processor is immediately clear in use. I changed the wake word of my first-generation Echo Show 5 from 'Alexa' to 'Computer' - because what self-respecting sci-fi geek wouldn't? However, using this wake word with the older model has been the bane of my life, as it often fails to respond. I've discovered that Alexa is far more likely to answer me if I say 'computer' in an American accent, which is frankly embarrassing if people are listening.

There are no such issues with the Echo Show 5 (2023). I can say 'computer' in my own accent, and Alexa will respond every time. If you've found yourself screaming 'Alexa!' over and over at an older Echo device, then you'll find dealing with Alexa on the Echo Show 5 (2023) a much more responsive experience.

Using the touchscreen does feel a tiny bit quicker than on the older models, although there's still a significant lag between tapping on an option, such as Settings, and the appropriate screen opening. When most modern smartphones feel like they respond instantly, it does make the Echo Show 5 (2023) feel a little underpowered. You may find that you rarely use the touchscreen to interact with your Echo; however, once you have it set up.

echo show 5 2023 smart home

If you use Alexa to control your smart home, then you may be disappointed to learn that there's still no Zigbee support in the Echo Show 5 (2023). It means you can't use your Echo Show 5 as a smart hub to control Zigbee devices directly like you can with an Echo Show 10, Echo Plus, or Echo Studio.

If you don't have Zigbee devices, however, then the Echo Show 5 can make a decent smart home hub and integrates nicely with a smart home kit such as a Ring Video Doorbell, allowing you to see the live feed from your front door when someone rings the bell.

One thing that's missing from the Echo Show 5 (2023) that's made its way into some of the other Echo devices released in the same year is Tap Gestures. This allows you to play or pause media, hang up on calls, end drop-ins, or dismiss timers just by tapping the top of your Echo device. The Echo Show 5 (2023) does allow you to snooze alarms with a tap, but it's a shame that the other tap gestures aren't available.


The Echo Show 5 has always been a very good option for a smart display for your nightstand or your home office. The Echo Show 5 (2023) makes it an even better choice, thanks to the improved sound, updated design, and upgraded processors that make using Alexa much less frustrating. It's also available at a competitive price and is often included in bundle deals during Prime Day events, so it's possible to snap one up at bargain prices.

There are other options you might consider, such as the 7-inch Google Nest Hub, but if you've got other Alexa devices around your home, you might prefer to stick with the same brand, allowing you to drop in on other Alexa devices in your home from your Echo Show 5.

If you're really only interested in using it as a bedside clock, the Echo Dot (5th Gen) with the clock is a more affordable option and may be worth a look, but if it's a small smart display you're after, then the Echo Show 5 (2023) is a fantastic option. Second-generation owners might not find enough here to upgrade, but if you're new to the Echo Show family or coming from a first-generation device, there's plenty to love here.