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Amazon Echo Show 5 (3rd Gen, 2023) review: Improved, but at a price

Our Rating :
$89.99 from
£89.99 from
Price when reviewed : £90

The Amazon Echo Show is undoubtedly improved but not by enough to justify a 20% price hike


  • Stylish look
  • Small footprint
  • Improved sound quality


  • Display often lags
  • No upgrade to the camera
  • Limited to Prime Video and YouTube

If you follow Amazon’s product launches, you’ll know that the company rarely makes dramatic updates, favouring minor upgrades between generations of Kindle, Fire Tablet, Fire TV and Echo. But even with those low expectations firmly in check, the third-generation Echo Show 5 seems a particularly minor update.

This isn’t to say it’s bad by any means and its handful of small upgrades certainly make it better than the second-generation Echo Show 5 from 2021. But it isn’t really good enough to make people rush out and upgrade.

However, that’s the beauty of Echo devices from Amazon’s perspective. They’re not really designed to replace an existing device, they just expand a house’s network. And by that metric, this is another decent, affordable smart screen to add to your home, even if the price has crept up a little bit in the two years since it was last updated.

Amazon Echo Show 5 (2023): What do you get for the money?

The price is now £90 – a £15 step up from the 2021 model, although it’s important to note that Amazon loves putting its own products on sale. During the recent Prime Day event, the newest Echo Show 5 fell to just £45, which is an absolute steal and something to look out for on Black Friday.

But when it’s not reduced, the price increase feels harder to justify. Yes, there are improvements but they’re on the marginal side of things and Amazon will, at the time of writing, still sell you the second-generation Show 5 for the lower price of £60.

Even so, your mileage may vary, so here are the changes from the previous generation. For starters, you get a better sound quality thanks to the larger 1.75in driver (up from 1.65in on the previous generation). Amazon promises that this produces “greater voice clarity and deeper bass”, although it’s still weaker than the dual 2in drivers in the £120 Echo Show 8.

Performance has also been improved with a newer MediaTek chip (the MT8169B) and Amazon’s updated AZ2 Neural Edge processor, which boosts machine learning performance and voice recognition responsiveness, something also helped by the presence of an additional microphone.

Beyond that, it’s same old, same old. Amazon says the screen has been “improved” for “more comfortable night time viewing” but it’s still a fairly basic 960 x 480 LCD number.

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Amazon Echo Show 5 (2023): What do we like about it?

The Echo Show 5 is, like most Echo speakers, neat and well designed and, if you’re a bit fed up of seeing giant screens wherever you turn in your house, it’s a nice antidote. Its 5.5in screen looks a little like a smartphone propped on its side – albeit a smartphone from about a decade ago, such is the width of its seriously chunky bezels.

It’s propped up by a triangular base and covered in the same speaker-grille fabric seen on Amazon’s other recent smart speakers. You can’t change the viewing angle, but if that’s a problem, Amazon will sell you an adjustable stand for £28.

The sound quality isn’t bad at all for such a dinky device. It isn’t going to win any awards for its musical output but it feels only slightly behind the Echo Dot in this respect.

Yes, you can get better from a Bluetooth speaker for this price but the Echo Show 5 has two big advantages over these devices. First, it’s built around Alexa meaning you can instantly request songs, recipes or audiobooks with the power of your voice if your hands are busy. And second because of that built-in screen.

In truth, Alexa still feels like it’s struggling to justify the presence of a screen a little bit with its day-to-day smart functions. It’s nice that it shows album art, live countdown clocks for timers and weather-forecast-style icons if you ask it whether you’ll need a coat. But it isn’t exactly essential.

Of course, the screen does open the door to a little light TV watching via Amazon Prime, and while a 5.5in screen isn’t exactly the IMAX it’s nice as a distraction if you’re tidying up or cooking dinner. The 960 x 480 screen won’t win any prizes for visual fidelity but it’s bright and sharp enough for its purpose.


Amazon Echo Show 5 (2023): What could it do better?

By far my biggest beef with the Echo Show 5: while I can watch any show on Amazon Prime Video, watching elsewhere is incredibly difficult.

Yes, I can ask for videos on YouTube via the voice, though that just brings up a browser window that’s quite unpleasant to use, even if it is searchable with voice controls. But in terms of streaming apps it’s Prime or nothing. That’s weird because Netflix was available on the previous generation; now, you’re just told it’s “not yet available on this device”.

Other services don’t even get that explanation. Say “Alexa, play Modern Family on Disney Plus” and the virtual assistant will say “Getting Modern Family from Prime Video” before bringing up American Sniper, Dunkirk and The Greatest Showman. I’m not kidding – that’s genuinely the choice I was presented with when wanting to catch up on the Dunphys.

Google’s Nest Hub is inflexible in this respect, too, but with built-in Chromecast, I regularly stream Plex and Disney Plus to mine. For similar functionality here, you’d have to use the built-in Silk browser to bring up the web interface of your streaming app of choice but my advice would be not to bother. Interacting with the touchscreen seems to cause the Echo Show 5 to lag badly and, on one occasion, it got so bad I had to pull the plug and restart.

I appreciate that video streaming is a niche concern on a tiny screen like this and, thankfully, the other bugbears are relatively minor, like the built-in camera. It works well for video calls to other Echo devices but the 2MP sensor hasn’t been upgraded since last time around when we described it as “middling”.

By contrast, the Echo Show 8 not only boosts the quality to 13MP but also adds the ability to pan and zoom to follow you around the room, making it the video caller’s choice. That said, Amazon should be praised for continuing to include a physical shutter, letting you block off the camera when not in use.

Finally, it’s worth noting that the 3.5mm jack hasn’t returned after being jettisoned in the last generation. A triumphant reunion always felt unlikely but it’s still a minor disappointment.

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Amazon Echo Show 5 (2023): Should you buy one?

But it’s hard to really criticise the Echo Show 5. Even with the £15 rise over the previous version, it’s competitively priced for what it offers – a dinky smart screen with solid sound quality and Alexa’s smarts built in.

The question is whether the improvements make it worth spending an extra £30 over the now reduced last-gen model. I’d say probably not.

But when Amazon’s next sales event comes around, this is one to keep an eye on. As a smart screen for your bedside table, kitchen counter or desktop, it’s hard to beat.

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