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Amazon Echo Show 5 vs. Echo Show 8: Which Alexa smart display should you buy?

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The Amazon Echo Show 8 and the Amazon Echo Show 5 sit next to each other on a green table, each reading 9:41.The Echo Show 8 and Echo Show 5 are Amazon’s smallest smart displays, but they still have a lot of useful features.

Jenny McGrath/Business Insider

  • The Echo Show 5 is Amazon’s smallest smart display and works well as an alarm clock. 
  • With a bigger display and better speakers, the Echo Show 8 is a better smart home hub and entertainment device.
  • Both devices frequently go on sale, so we don’t recommend paying full price.

If you’re in the market for the best smart display with Alexa, you have four choices from Amazon: the Echo Show 5, Echo Show 8, Echo Show 10, and Echo Show 15. For the uninitiated, the numbers roughly refer to the devices’ screen sizes. 

The Echo Show 5 and Echo Show 8 are the smallest devices in Amazon’s lineup, but they have some advantages over their larger siblings. While they have similarities, differences in screen and speaker sizes and camera resolution are the biggest considerations. 

That said, after spending two years with these devices, we can safely say the Echo Show 8 works best as a central smart home hub for high-traffic areas of your home, while the Echo Show 5 is better suited for the bedroom or office. Here’s how the two compare. 

Pricing

The Amazon Echo Show 5 and the Amazon Echo Show 8 sit next to each other on a brown table, each reading 10:51.The Echo Show 8 is about $45 more than the Echo Show 5, and both often go on sale.

Jenny McGrath/Business Insider

Amazon released the second-generation Echo Show 5 and Echo Show 8 in 2021, but they’re still the most popular Alexa smart displays. Lucky for you, both devices frequently go on sale, so we don’t recommend paying full price for either smart display. At full price, the Echo Show 5 costs $85, and the Echo Show 8 is usually priced at $130. 

Amazon is fond of offering deep discounts for its devices during sales events like Prime Day and Black Friday. We’ve seen the prices for both devices drop various times throughout the year. Amazon often discounts the Echo Show 8 by about 40%, making it about $10 cheaper than the Echo Show 5. If you can wait for a sale on the Echo Show 8, it’s a great deal. 

Display size and speakers

The Amazon Echo Show 8, displaying the Hulu app, sits next to the Amazon Echo Show 5, displaying the Amazon Prime app.Hulu is available on the Amazon Echo Show 8 but not the Echo Show 5.

Jenny McGrath/Business Insider

While the Echo Show 8’s 8-inch 1280 x 800 screen isn’t a substitute for a TV, the device is still suitable for streaming video while you cook or clean. Its colors look vibrant and crisp, especially next to the Echo Show 5, which has a smaller 5.5-inch display with 960 x 480 resolution. 

You might be fine watching a TikTok video or two on the Echo Show 5, but you likely won’t want to watch an entire episode. Also, vertical videos look especially cramped on the smaller display. 

The Echo Show 8’s streaming services include Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and YouTube. You can’t watch Hulu on the Echo Show 5, and neither device supports Disney Plus, HBO Max, Paramount Plus, and other popular services. 

For casual listening, the Echo Show 5’s single 4-watt speaker works fine, with similar audio quality to the fifth-gen Echo Dot. It lends itself to listening to news or podcasts, but things like music and sleep sounds become muddled when you’re a few feet away, which is why it’s best suited as a bedside companion. 

In contrast, the Echo Show 8’s dual 2-inch speakers can fill a room, though it can’t compare to devices built for music. You’ll also be able to hear podcasts, news, and audiobooks clearly. 

Both the Echo Show 5 and the Echo Show 8 have a good amount of options for either music or news, including Spotify, iHeartRadio, Pandora, Apple Music, and more. 

Camera and video calls

A side-by-side image of the Amazon Echo Show 5 and Echo Show 8 showing video calls with a cat sleeping on a chair.The Echo Show 5’s camera (left) isn’t as crisp as the Echo Show 8’s (right).

Jenny McGrath/Business Insider

While you can make video calls with the Echo Show 5, the 2-megapixel camera means the video quality isn’t great. To get your face entirely on screen, you need to stand over a foot away. That would be fine if the screen were bigger than 5.5 inches. 

In terms of camera quality, the Echo Show 5 can’t compete with the Echo Show 8, which houses a 13-megapixel camera that makes bright, crisp video calls. A wide angle and the auto-framing feature help keep you in frame as you chat. 

It’s worth noting that both devices have a wedge shape that tilts the camera slightly up so it’s harder to achieve a more flattering downward angle without a stand.  

Privacy and smart features  

The Echo Show 5 and Echo Show 8 shown from above with their cameras shuttered and microphones muted.It’s easy to tell when both Echo Shows’ cameras are shuttered and microphones are muted.

Jenny McGrath/Business Insider

If privacy is a top concern (it should be), both devices have buttons for disabling the microphones. Each device’s camera also has a privacy shutter. In addition to privacy options built into the hardware, both devices offer quick access to the Alexa Privacy Hub

Although Alexa records and keeps your requests by default, you can erase your query history in the Alexa app. You can ask either Echo Show to erase the recordings by saying “Alexa, delete everything I’ve said” or “Alexa, forget what I just said.” 

If you’re looking for a kid-friendly device, there is Amazon Echo Show 5 Kids edition that comes with the Amazon Kids mode enabled. But you can also set that mode on any Echo Show device. 

Software is more or less the same between the Echo Show 5 and Echo Show 8, so smart-home control is technically the same experience whichever device you buy. Echo devices are compatible with tons of smart home devices, and they work especially well with other Alexa devices. 

If you swipe right on the Echo Show 8’s screen, it brings up a widget gallery. One of the options includes smart-home favorites. A shopping list, weather, calendar, and Alexa games are among the 30 or so other widgets. The Echo Show 5 lacks this capability. 

One place where the Echo Show 5 outshines the Echo Show 8 is as an alarm clock. Its face automatically dims more than the Show 8 at night, and it allows you to change the clockface for more customizability. The Echo Show 8’s clock font is sometimes small, which might make it difficult to read from across the room. 

Echo Show 5 vs. 8: Specs

Spec

Amazon Echo Show 5 (2nd gen)

Amazon Echo Show 8 (2nd gen)

Price

$84.99

$129.99

Dimensions 

5.8 (L) x 2.9 (W) x 3.4 (H) inches

7.9 (L) x 3.9 (W) x 5.4 (H) inches

Screen size

5.5 inches with 960 x 480 resolution

8 inches with 1200 x 800 resolution

Camera

2-megapixel

13-megapixel

Audio

Single 1.65-inch speaker, dual microphones

Two 2-inch speakers, dual microphones

Processor

MediaTek MT 8163

MediaTek MT 8183

Connectivity

Aux, Bluetooth, WiFi (2.4 GHz, 5 GHz)

Aux, Bluetooth, WiFi (2.4 GHz, 5 GHz)

AI assistant

Alexa

Alexa

The bottom line

The Echo Show 8, displaying a widget with smart home, and Echo Show 5, displaying a smart home screen, sit next to each other on a table.Both Echo Shows have a lot in common but the smaller version is better suited for an alarm clock, and the larger display works better for shows and music.

Jenny McGrath/Business Insider

If you’re looking for a smart display with Alexa that you can use to watch videos and to call up recipes in the kitchen, the Echo Show 8 is your best bet. It offers the best balance of screen size and sound quality for the price. It’s also suitable for making video calls. 

For an alarm clock or a smart display that’s going to live in a smaller space like a nightstand or office desk, the Echo Show 5 is a better choice. Although the screen is small, you’ll still be able to check in on security cameras, see text messages, and watch the occasional video. It also automatically dims at night, making it better suited to a bedside table.  We recommend it as a secondary device to the Echo Show 8. 

Lastly, if you’re interested in the idea of an Echo device for your nightstand, but don’t love the idea of a screen, there’s also the fifth-generation Echo Dot with Clock, which Amazon released in 2022. You won’t get a smart display, but you will get a clock and a serviceable speaker. 

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