Perhaps it is an exaggeration to compare the new Amazon Echo Show 5 (more compact and economical version of the Echo Show already reviewed) to the iPhone but for the first time in years, despite constantly having dozens of latest generation digital, smart or wearable devices at hand. , we have tried again the pleasant sensation of having an original and useful gadget in our hands.
A device that acts as an assistant, keeps company, entertains but which, like the radio, is very discreet. Above all it gives satisfaction because it is easy and fun to use, thus enticing you to use it again, more often and for more functions. This is thanks to the hundreds of Skills already available and dozens and dozens of new ones that are constantly arriving. Because the Skills are the equivalent of the apps we have all known for years on the smartphone.
If you have never tried a smart speaker (here all the Amazon Echo models) and you have never even considered buying one, we strongly recommend that you take the first step with the Amazon Echo Show 5 for 89.99 euros from this page: we will tell you why below.
Un little giant
Do not be fooled by the elegant and sober design and compact dimensions, qualities that make it perfect to be placed almost anywhere in the house: both on the bedside table next to the bed, as well as in the kitchen, in the study or wherever you like. After you have tried it, you will immediately miss it: first you will try to install it in the room where you spend the most time, then you will feel the desire to have others to place around the house. Resign yourself: Alexa and Echo are addictive, if you don't want to fall for it, forget it now. For those who cannot resist technological temptations, a new life opens up in which the home, the Internet, the web, streaming music, news and everything else take voice and word.
The Amazon Echo Show 5 is a heavyweight disguised as a featherweight. Despite being small, it reproduces audio and music with amazing high quality. Of course, by itself it cannot fill a large room with sound, but it makes itself felt even in the most spacious environments. With its bass it cannot shake floors and tables, but they are more than enough to reproduce songs and songs of any musical genre with dignity. For those who want more, on the back you will find a 3.5mm audio jack output ready to connect your favorite external speaker you already own: by pulling a wire with two plugs it instantly becomes a latest generation smart speaker.
The 5.5 ”color LCD screen is also surprising: in a device of this price we would expect to find a budget panel with an indecent touch response and bad or non-existent colors as soon as you move a little to the side. Instead it is bright, bright, with vibrant colors that remain so even when viewed from extreme angles. The touch response is not that of the iPhone but it works well and does its job, without ever making you nervous for delays or errors.
Installation worthy of 2019
Amazon has taken lessons from Apple because this connected device, perfectly and fully integrated with the user's Amazon account, installs in minutes and with disarming ease. Just plug it in, the screen turns on and in a few seconds the menu to choose the language appears. If we are not fast and hesitate for a moment, Amazon Echo Show 5 does it by itself: in our case, while we were getting familiar with the touch screen to scroll down the list of countries and languages, the device has detected the Wi-Fi networks, in this way he localized himself, he chose for us the language and also the time and the time zone. We had the pleasant feeling of having been anticipated.
To complete the configuration simply enter the username and password of our Amazon account and that's it. In a matter of seconds Alexa is ready to answer all our questions and satisfy our requests.
The umpteenth surprise comes with the understanding of language and the incredible amount of functions that Alexa is able to perform. We have been testing the Amazon Echo Show 5 since Friday, the day it was assigned to us for the review, and in an intense weekend of testing the phrases and requests not understood by Alexa are two or three out of dozens and dozens that went well: not only ours but also by the rest of the family. Change the voice, pitch, pronunciation and person but Alexa practically always understands on the fly and executes.
The simplest commands that allow you to become familiar with Alexa are those for managing music. «Alexa plays music of the 80s» or jazz, rock, pop music or even by indicating the name of the artist or directly the desired song. Amazon Prime Music and even Amazon Prime Video subscriptions, included in the price of the annual Amazon Prime subscription, are often almost ignored by users but with an Echo speaker with display they materialize instantly. At your fingertips we have a repertoire of 2 million songs, many of which also show the text on the screen during playback. The same goes for Amazon Prime Video's catalog of films, cartoons, documentaries and TV series, although the small 5.5 “screen is better suited for news, cooking recipes and other short-term films for documentation and information, rather than to run a TV series or watch a movie.
But we are certain of one thing: even if in the US people fell in love before the Amazon Echo in speaker-only version, now that there is Amazon Echo Show 5 with a screen for less than 100 euros, in our opinion the choice does not arise: better start right away with this and then maybe consider a more powerful Echo solo speaker for the room. The addition of the video allows interactions and even visual information that it would be a shame to give up. At this price it makes no sense.
We can ask Alexa everything: information on traffic, the weather, the latest news, to read us a book, the recipe of the day or a recipe that contains eggplant, a joke, to wake up the next morning at a certain time or, while we cook, to set a timer so as not to burn the pizza in the oven.
Our contacts are imported and associated on the Amazon account in this way we can ask Alexa to call mom or a friend, without touching anything and only with the voice. Communication is instant with people who own an Alexa device, the Alexa app for iPhone and Android, and even for those with a Skype account. For an even more complete taste of the endless questions and requests that Alexa is able to fulfill for us, we refer to the review of the larger and more expensive Amazon Echo Show. The only difference here is that the more compact and affordable Echo Show 5 doesn't have an integrated Zigbee hub to directly manage an infinity of demotic and smart home devices.
Be warned though: this doesn't mean you can't experiment with the smart home. Amazon Echo Show 5 is compatible with the Amazon Smart Plug socket and also with the Ring Video Dorrbell 2 smart doorbell accessories with which it is also offered in bundle discount. For a start it's great and can be expanded later.
With Amazon Echo Show 5 we can listen to Radio Italia and Radio Deejay, Radio 105 and other stations for which Skills are already available for listening only to streaming audio and some also for video broadcasts, ask for advice on which movie to go to see and watch the trailer. But we can also ask Alexa to play our favorite podcasts to listen to while we do other things, or ask Alexa to read our kindle ebook in synthesized voice for us. In this case the pronunciation is not perfect and we certainly do not have the nuances of a professional actor, but we can also get these by activating the free Audible trial for audio books and then subscribe if we wish.
We can also create routines that include several functions that can be activated with a single command. For example, by saying “Alexa start my day” the device reads the news, then the weather report, calendar appointments, emails and then closes with traffic information before leaving the house. We choose contents and order. Same thing saying “Alexa goodnight” to make sure to turn off the smart lights of the house and end the day with a farewell phrase from the voice assistant.
The camera can be locked on the fly by moving the lever to the top right The block is indicated on the screen, but is also visible at a glance From this screen it is possible to activate and customize the wake-up and goodnight routines, with a series of actions all performed with a single command
The new Alexa Sunrise function is also pleasant: when the alarm is set to a time between 4 and 9, Amazon Echo Show 5 turns on 15 minutes before the set time, gradually illuminating the screen for a less traumatic awakening, before it rings. the actual alarm clock. Of course, the user can choose between different dials and styles for the main screen and the clock, use the screen to rotate their photos stored on the Amazon cloud or those taken directly from the device with the voice command “Alexa take a picture “.
As anticipated, while on smartphones we have an almost infinite choice of apps, with Amazon Echo Show 5 we can indulge ourselves and expand its functions by choosing from thousands of ready-made Skills, activating the desired ones. You can scroll through the total list or browse categories among Best On-Screen Skills, Recommended Skills, Movies & TV, Kids & Teens, Music & Audio and explore them with even more categories.
Pro Compact, discreet and elegant Display and audio of excellent quality A myriad of functions all at your voice Hundreds of Skills and Video Skills ready and more new to come
Versus None to be detected
Amazon Echo Show 5 is a compact, elegant, discreet but above all extremely versatile device, offered at an affordable price. Its features and the many functions offered make it perfect for practically anyone.
Amazon Echo Show 5 is highly recommended if you've never tried a smart speaker, want one with a screen, or if you need a second smart speaker to place in another room of the house.
Price and availability
Amazon Echo Show 5 will be purchased in Italy from 26 June with deliveries starting from 1 July, the same date for the United States, Germany, France, Spain, United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. It is offered in white or black at a price of 89.99 euros with free shipping for Amazon Prime subscribers: you can buy it from this page.
At launch it is also offered in two bundles with accessories. Amazon Echo Show 5 purchased together with an Amazon Smart Plug socket at a discount of 104.98 euros instead of 119.98 euros, therefore with a saving of 15 euros less than the separate purchase. Instead, the bundle that includes Amazon Echo Show 5 together with the Ring video intercom costs € 238.99 instead of € 288.99, with a saving of € 50. Also interesting is the promotion that discounts the total cost of 25 euros if you buy two Amazon Echo Show 5 together.
On the Cyberlayman pages we talked about the Amazon Echo smart speakers, with or without video, in numerous articles: here the fashions lli available in Italy, the Alexa test at the launch in our country and the Echo Show review.