Echo Show 5 vs 8: Battle of Amazon‘s Smart Displays

Amazon‘s Echo Show smart displays bring the handy voice assistant Alexa to a visual interface, with touchscreens that let you watch videos, view photos, make video calls, monitor your home, and more. The compact Echo Show 5 and mid-sized Echo Show 8 are two of Amazon‘s most popular smart display options. But with different screen sizes, specs, features, and prices, which model is right for you?

I‘ve tested and compared both displays hands-on to break down the key differences and help you decide. Read on for a detailed Echo Show 5 vs 8 comparison.

Echo Show 5 vs 8: At a Glance

Before we dig into the details, here‘s an at-a-glance view of how the two displays stack up:

SpecsEcho Show 5Echo Show 8
Screen size5.5"8"
Resolution960 x 480p1280 x 800p
Cameras1MP (gen 1), 2MP (gen 2)1MP (gen 1), 13MP (gen 2)
Speakers1.7” single speakerDual 2” speakers
Dimensions5.8” x 3.4” x 2.9”7.9” x 5.4” x 3.9”
Weight14.5 oz36.6 oz
ColorsCharcoal, Glacier White, Deep Sea BlueCharcoal, Glacier White
Latest model year2021 (2nd gen)2021 (2nd gen)
Typical price$84.99$129.99

Both displays have a clean, minimalist design in line with other Echo products. But the larger Echo Show 8 is heavier at 2.3 lbs vs 0.9 lbs and takes up more space while offering a bigger screen. Now let‘s examine those screens along with the other hardware.

Displays: Crisp and Vibrant But Show 8 Has Higher Resolution

The main difference between the two displays (as you may have guessed from their names) comes down to screen size.

The Echo Show 5 has a 5.5-inch display while the aptly named Echo Show 8 houses an 8-inch screen. Both use LCD touchscreen panels with vibrant colors and wide viewing angles. Images and videos look crisp and clear on both models.

However, the resolution differs significantly:

  • Echo Show 5: 960 x 480 pixels
  • Echo Show 8: 1280 × 800 pixels

So while the Echo Show 5 display is certainly usable, video calls, movies, and photos will naturally have more detail on the Show 8. For compact nightstand use or simple glances to check info, the Show 5 resolution is decent. But buyers who plan to stream a lot of videos or use the display as a digital photo frame replacement will benefit from the Show 8’s HD-level resolution.

Echo Show 8 has a bigger, higher resolution screen than the Echo Show 5

Both displays have adaptive brightness and a built-in light sensor to automatically adjust screen visibility. They feature touch controls for easy navigation, with recognizable Android-like layouts.

While the Echo Show 5 is Alexa’s smallest smart display, it’s still a respectable size for most uses like checking calendars, lists, weather, and news headlines. But naturally images, videos, and albums are easier to view on the Show 8’s larger real estate.

Winner: Echo Show 8 for its bigger, sharper screen. But if portability and compact size matter more than top notch visuals, the Echo Show 5 display quality is very solid given its diminutive dimensions.

Audio: Show 8 Delivers Fuller, Louder Sound

A smart speaker is only as good as it sounds. Both models pump out impressive audio for their sizes, but there are definite audio hardware differences:

  • Echo Show 5: 1.7” 4W speaker
  • Echo Show 8: Dual 2” speakers with 10W power

Perhaps obviously, two larger drivers powered by over double the wattage leads to superior sound. While the Echo Show 5 produces decent audio suitable for podcasts, instrumentals, or kitchen background listening, the Show 8 can actually fill a room.

In my testing, the Show 8 played music loud enough to dance to, with fuller bass and brighter highs than its smaller sibling. It‘s the only model of the two suitable as a standalone speaker replacement.

So the single speaker on the Echo Show 5 sounds fair but lacks bass punch and can distort at high volumes. The Show 8 with its stereo dual drivers offers a superior audio experience, especially for music lovers and audiophiles.

Winner: Echo Show 8 pumps out vastly better, louder sound that can actually fill a room.

Cameras: Show 8 Takes Sharper, More Dynamic Photos and Video

As smart displays meant for video calling and visual use cases, cameras are another key area where the Show 5 and Show 8 differ.

The first generation Echo Show 5 had just a single, lowly 1MP camera. But the second gen boosted this selfie shooter to 2MP quality for better video calls and photos.

Comparatively, even the original Echo Show packed a 1MP camera. But the second generation makes a huge leap to a stunning 13MP camera that takes sharp, detailed images rivaling premium smartphones like the latest iPhones and Galaxy devices.

Echo Show 8 packs a high resolution 13 megapixel camera vs just 2MP on the smaller Echo Show 5

This allows the Echo Show 8 to capture memories and moments with beautiful clarity. And thanks to its auto-framing feature, the camera dynamically pans and zooms to keep you in the frame during video calls if you move around. This auto-tracking capability is absent on the less advanced Echo Show 5 however.

So for video calling family across the country or chatting with long distance partners, the 13MP webcam on the second gen Show 8 provides a far superior experience. And the auto-framing means you don’t have to stay stationary and centered during calls.

Winner: Echo Show 8 – its auto-framing 13MP camera blows past the budget 2MP shooter on the Echo Show 5.

Features: Both Pack Impressive Smart Integrations

As Alexa-powered smart displays, the Echo Show 5 and 8 come packed with features that expand their functionality beyond a typical “dumb” picture frame.

You’re getting full access to Amazon’s Alexa and all her capabilities like:

  • Controlling smart home devices
  • Setting reminders/timers/alarms
  • Getting answers to questions
  • Weather/traffic updates
  • Lists and notes
  • Shopping via voice
  • Thousands of skills

And both models include always-listening mics for hands-free voice control from across the room. Physical buttons on top also provide controls for common features like disabling mics and cameras.

Additionally, the touchscreen interface grants visual access to:

  • Music/podcast streaming
  • Controlling smart home cameras and video doorbells
  • Making Alexa video/audio calls
  • Viewing Prime Video/Netflix
  • Using camera for photos/selfies
  • Displaying digital albums, recipes, documents
  • Getting visual weather reports
  • News video clips
  • Interactive games
  • Smart home controls page
  • And much more

Echo Show devices like the 5 and 8 grant visual access to many Alexa features on their touchscreens

In terms of core Alexa integration and overall features, the two displays are nearly identical minus some exceptions like auto-framing on the Show 8 camera.

Both allow Alexa voice interaction and deliver features like:

  • Streaming from various music services
  • Controlling smart lights, locks, switches
  • Viewing smart cameras around the home
    *Playing trivia
  • Setting cooking timers
  • Seeing your calendar/reminders
  • Making shopping/to-do lists
  • Getting news briefings
  • And handling thousands of other Alexa capabilities

But the 8-inch Show 8 screen does provide a more immersive experience for visual-first use cases like watching cooking tutorials on YouTube, viewing photos spread out in an album, orhands-free video chatting thanks to its upgraded camera.

Winner: Tie – virtually identical Alexa features, but Show 8‘s display and camera gives a leg up for visual interactions.

Sizing: Show 5 Is More Compact While Show 8 Has Bigger Presence

As noted earlier, dimension and weight differences set the two smart displays apart right out of the box:

  • Echo Show 5 dimensions: 5.8” x 3.4” x 2.9”

  • Echo Show 5 weight: 14.5 oz

  • Echo Show 8 dimensions: 7.9” x 5.4” x 3.9”

  • Echo Show 8 weight: 36.6 oz

So while the Show 5 is under a pound and truly palm-sized in heft, the Show 8 is over 2X heavier and has larger presence.

In terms of fitting into tight spaces like narrow bedside tables or kitchen counters, the petite Echo Show 5 is the clear choice. It has a tiny footprint perfect for cramped urban apartments or filling in an empty corner.

But buyers wanting a bolder, more substantial-feeling smart display with a bigger screen for video calls and streaming will appreciate the Show 8 proportions. Its larger size allows for louder, better sounding speakers as well.

Just note the increased dimensions and weight if wall mounting or placing on a more delicate surface. You’ll also want to account for the thicker depth and taller profile when positioning the Show 8. But its still a very reasonably sized device that fits great into most home decors.

Winner: Tie – Show 5 for true compact portability vs Show 8 for its bigger, bolder screen and audio.

With compact 5-inch form vs larger 8-inch display, Echo Show 5 and 8 cater to different spaces

Price: Show 5 Costs Just a Fraction of the Show 8

Given all the superior specs like display size, resolution, speakers, and megapixels, you may guess the Show 8 costs more. And you’d be absolutely right:

  • Echo Show 5 latest model: $84.99
  • Echo Show 8 latest model: $129.99 (over 50% more)

The second generation Echo Show 8 does cost about $50 extra over the Echo Show 5. But remember, that extra cash gets you the major upgrades covered earlier:

  • A bigger, sharper 8” HD display
  • A massively improved 13MP camera
  • Far better audio with louder, fuller speakers
  • More advanced auto-framing video

So in terms of value for dollar, the Echo Show 8 delivers excellent bang for your buck. Yes the latest Show 5 model is cheaper, but it makes big compromises on screen, sound, and camera quality to meet that lower budget.

Keep in mind these prices often fluctuate during sales events like Amazon Prime Day, Black Friday, and holiday sales periods. So watch for deals around major shopping days.

Winner: Echo Show 5 is the budget pick, but Show 8 offers tremendous value worth the moderate price bump for many buyers.

Echo Show 5 vs Echo Show 8: Verdict

So in this battle between two of Amazon‘s most popular smart displays, does the smaller Echo Show 5 or more advanced Echo Show 8 come out on top?

Echo Show 5: Best Ultra-Compact Smart Display Under $100

If portability is paramount along with fitting in tight spaces, choose the Echo Show 5. Its pocketable size makes it perfect for small living quarters, bedside alarm duties, desk companionship, and kitchen cooking assists for glancing at video recipes or Alexa timers.

Yes the display is lower resolution and single speaker thinner sounding. The basic camera also can‘t match the Show 8‘s brilliance. But remember the super affordable sub-$100 price tag in line with an Amazon Fire 7 tablet.

So as an entry level, starter Alexa smart display for simple functions, the little Echo Show 5 packs a usable touchscreen and decent enough features to warrant consideration from budget shoppers, minimalists loving compact gadgets, or anyone wanting a fairly robust but basic second (or even third) display around the home for affordably expanding Alexa‘s reach into more rooms.

Echo Show 8: Bigger and Bolder Smart Display Under $150

On the other hand, if you want a properly large, vivid screen alongside booming audio and a top-tier camera, the Echo Show 8 easily justifies its moderately higher price.

The HD resolution display pops with color and clarity. Videos and photos look fantastic filling the 8-inch real estate. Audio quality also massively outperforms the Echo Show 5 so this model can actually replace a standalone Bluetooth speaker.

And the upgraded camera truly sets the Show 8 apart as a premium smart display thanks to its 13 megapixel image sharpness putting even high-end phones to shame. The auto-framing also keeps video calls smoothly focused on your face.

While around $50 pricier than the pint-sized Show 5, you‘re still getting tremendous value given all the hardware improvements. So smart display shoppers wanting a reasonably sized but single do-it-all centerpiece for their kitchen, bedroom, or living room should feel confident splurging on the clearly superior Echo Show 8. Its bigger and bolder display outmuscles its smaller sibling to win this Echo Show face-off.

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