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Echo Show 5 vs. 8: An In-Depth Comparison to Find the Right Smart Display for You

Hey there! If you‘re trying to decide between the Echo Show 5 and Echo Show 8 smart displays, you‘ve come to the right place. These two Alexa-powered screens have a lot in common, but some key differences that impact which is better for you.

In this comprehensive, side-by-side comparison, we‘ll analyze how they stack up on size, displays, camera quality, speakers, smart home control, and more. You‘ll learn how each performs for common uses like streaming videos, controlling smart devices, and video calling friends and family.

Let‘s dive in and find the perfect Echo Show for your needs!

At a Glance: How the Echo Show 5 and 8 Compare

Before looking at each feature more closely, here is a high-level overview of how the two smart displays stack up:

Feature Echo Show 5 Echo Show 8
Release Year 2019 2019
Screen Size 5.5" 8"
Resolution 960 x 480 1280 x 800
Camera 2MP 13MP with Autoframing
Speakers 1.7" 4W Speaker Dual 2" 10W Speakers
Dimensions 5.8 x 3.4 x 2.9" 7.9 x 5.4 x 3.4"
Weight 14.5 oz 36.6 oz

As you can see, while the two devices share Alexa and overall functionality, the Show 8 has a larger display, higher resolution camera, stereo audio and bigger size. Keep these core differences in mind as we do a deeper dive on each below.

Display Size and Quality

One of the biggest differences you‘ll notice between the Echo Show 5 and Echo Show 8 is the size of the touchscreen display.

  • The Show 5 has a compact 5.5” screen
  • The Show 8 features a bigger 8” display

How does the larger display impact the experience?

According to reviews from tech experts at CNET and Tom‘s Guide, the 8-inch screen on the Show 8 provides:

  • A more immersive experience for movies and videos
  • Easier navigation of menus, photos and apps
  • Bigger virtual buttons and text for improved visibility

However, the Show 5‘s 5.5” display is still highly functional. As the smallest and most affordable Echo Show, it works great as a smart alarm clock on your nightstand or a kitchen companion for playing music, following recipes and controlling smart devices. The compact form blends seamlessly into small spaces.

In addition to physical size, the screen resolution also differs between the Show 5 and Show 8:

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

The higher pixel density of the Show 8 gives images and videos a sharper, more detailed appearance. Fine details in photos are clearer and small text looks crisper on the Show 8 thanks to the HD resolution.

But even at the lower 960p resolution, the Show 5 display remains vibrant and visible. Most users are satisfied with the image quality for casual viewing and daily use.

The bottom line: With more screen real estate and sharper images, the Echo Show 8 is better for watching movies and shows. But if you just need a smart alarm clock or smaller kitchen companion, the screen size and resolution of the affordable Show 5 is sufficient.

Audio Quality from Built-In Speakers

In addition to visuals, audio performance is crucial for streaming music and listening to podcasts or audiobooks. Here‘s how the built-in speakers compare on Echo Show 5 vs Echo Show 8:

  • Echo Show 5: Single 1.7” 4W speaker
  • Echo Show 8: Dual 2” 10W stereo speakers

With two 10 watt speakers, the Echo Show 8 produces stereo audio with greater power and fullness than the single 4 watt speaker on the Show 5.

In their in-depth Show 8 review, TechHive noted the stereo speakers create solid audio separation for a wider, more immersive soundstage. You can distinctly hear different instruments coming from the left and right channels.

The increased volume output of 20 watts total also allows the Show 8 to fill a medium to large room with sound. Listeners say the bass, mids and highs all sound balanced with minimal distortion even at high volumes.

On the Echo Show 5, the lone 4 watt speaker produces respectable sound for personal listening. It can reach adequate volume for podcasts or background music. But the audio lacks the stereo separation and low end punch of the dual speaker setup on the Show 8.

So if audio performance is a priority, the Show 8 is the better option with louder, richer sound from its stereo speakers. But for ambient listening, the Show 5 speaker quality is sufficient.

Camera Quality and Video Calling

One of the main uses of Echo Shows is video chatting with family and friends through the Alexa app or other Alexa devices. How do the front-facing cameras compare between models?

  • Echo Show 5: 2MP camera
  • Echo Show 8: 13MP camera with auto-framing

With a higher resolution 13MP sensor, the Show 8 captures sharper, more detailed images during video calls according to digital camera experts. Skin tones and facial features look true to life.

The auto-framing feature also automatically pans and zooms to keep you centered on calls if you move around. This allows a more natural video chatting experience.

Comparatively, the lower resolution 2MP camera on the Echo Show 5 produces passable but grainier video quality. It works okay for 1-on-1 chatting, but isn‘t ideal for large group calls. And there‘s no auto-framing, so you have to stay in place.

In their testing, reviewers at RTings found the Show 8 camera delivers a much better experience for video calling and security applications. But the Show 5 cam is sufficient for quick calls with individuals.

The consensus is clear: With its drastically better camera, the Echo Show 8 is the superior option for video calls, security monitoring and other uses involving the camera. The Show 5 camera quality is usable in good lighting but shows its limitations.

Physical Size and Placement

Where will you place your smart display? Available space may factor into your choice between the smaller Show 5 and larger Show 8. Let‘s compare the dimensions:

  • Echo Show 5: 5.8 x 3.4 x 2.9 inches
  • Echo Show 8: 7.9 x 5.4 x 3.4 inches

The Show 5 is compact enough to fit in snug spaces like on nightstands and kitchen counters without taking up too much real estate. Tech experts universally praise the Show 5 for its petite footprint.

With its bigger profile, the Show 8 requires more ample room. But it can still fit on most desks, tables, kitchen islands and other standard surfaces. Just don‘t expect to squeeze it into a cramped corner.

Consider where you want to put your smart display when choosing between the two. If available space is limited, the tiny Show 5 is your best bet. But if you have the room, the Show 8 is easier to view and interact with thanks to the larger size.

No matter which model you choose, just make sure the top and front aren‘t obstructed so the speakers, camera and microphones work properly.

Smart Home Control Capabilities

A major benefit of Echo Shows is controlling other smart home devices like lights, plugs, cameras and more. Just use your voice, the touchscreen or home monitoring features.

Since smart home control relies on the Alexa assistant, the Echo Show 5 and Echo Show 8 offer virtually identical abilities like:

  • Turning lights on/off with voice commands or tap controls
  • Viewing live feeds from security cameras
  • Locking doors, arming systems, managing thermostats
  • Scheduling smart lights and appliances using routines
  • Checking who is at your door with compatible smart doorbells

Both displays also have the option to enable Alexa Guard, which can send alerts to your phone if sounds like smoke alarms or breaking glass are detected when you‘re away. This uses the built-in camera as a security sensor.

No matter which model you choose, you get full control of all compatible smart home devices from your Echo Show. The capabilities are the same thanks to Alexa integration.

According to smart home technology experts, the only difference is the Show 8 has a built-in Zigbee hub to directly connect with and control Zigbee devices like Philips Hue bulbs. But Zigbee support can easily be added to the Show 5 with a separate hub.

Music and Video Streaming Access

When it comes to streaming entertainment, both the Show 5 and 8 provide access to a robust library of music, movies, TV and more.

You can stream content from popular services like:

  • Amazon Prime Video
  • Netflix
  • Disney+
  • Hulu
  • NBC
  • YouTube
  • Amazon Music
  • Spotify
  • Apple Music
  • Pandora

Just use Alexa voice commands or search the app menus to find your favorite shows and songs. The displays let you view content as well as control playback.

The one advantage of the Show 8 is audio quality from its stereo speakers. Streaming music sounds fuller and more detailed compared to the Mono speaker on the Show 5.

But in terms of overall content library access, Amazon has made sure both devices offer the same entertainment options. Choose based on screen size preference, not content availability.

Privacy Features and Controls

With internet-connected mics and cameras, privacy is a valid concern with Echo Shows. Fortunately, both models come equipped with the following security features:

  • Camera shutters – Physically cover the lens when not in use. Both devices include a built-in shutter.
  • Mic/camera off button – Electronically disable the mics and cam with one press. Located on the top of each Show.
  • History deletion – Review and delete recordings and transcripts in the Alexa app at any time.
  • Alexa Guard – Optional feature sends alerts if sounds like smoke alarms are detected while you‘re away. Uses the camera to enhance security.

According to consumer privacy advocates, the Show 5 and 8 have identical settings and controls to secure your data. All recordings are encrypted as well for added security.

Rest assured privacy is equally prioritized on both smart display models. You have full transparency and control over the mics and camera.

Pricing and Value Comparison

With their differing specs, is the Show 8 worth the higher price over the affordable Show 5? Let‘s break down the cost:

  • Echo Show 5: $84.99
  • Echo Show 8: $129.99 (often on sale for $99.99)

At full MSRP, the Show 8 costs nearly $50 USD more. But during frequent sales, the difference is typically around $20.

For under $100, the Echo Show 5 delivers excellent value with its compact design and smart assistant features. But buyers on a budget sacrifice camera quality, audio and screen size.

Stepping up to the Show 8 nets you upgraded HD video calling, louder stereo sound and an immersive 8” display for not much more. Given the performance gains, most experts say it‘s worth spending extra if you can swing it. But the Show 5 still gets the basic job done if keeping costs down is critical.

Ultimately, think about your budget and which added features bring the most value based on how you plan to use your smart display. Let your priorities guide whether the upgrades on the Show 8 are worth the spend over the already capable Show 5.

The Verdict: Which Echo Show Should You Buy?

So after comparing the Echo Show 5 and Echo Show 8 head to head, which model comes out on top?

Here are our recommendations based on common smart display uses:

  • For a bedside alarm clock – The compact Echo Show 5 is perfectly sized for nightstand placement. Use it for alarms, weather, reminders and more.
  • For a kitchen companion – Either model allows hands-free cooking by displaying recipes and controlling timers. Pick based on available counter space.
  • For home media – With the bigger HD screen and better audio, the Show 8 is ideal for streaming movies, sports and shows.
  • For video calls – The Show 8 is the clear winner for video chatting thanks to its vastly superior camera with auto-framing.
  • For a budget buyer – If keeping costs low is key, you can save $50+ and still enjoy the core Alexa experience with the Echo Show 5.
  • For the best overall value – The Echo Show 8 gives you the largest, sharpest display and richest sound for not much more than the base model Show 5.

Hopefully this detailed side-by-side comparison provided helpful insights to choose the right Echo Show smart display for your needs. With their always-listening Alexa voice assistant, handy touchscreens and compact designs, you can’t go wrong with either model for convenience and entertainment.

Both Echo Show devices make excellent additions for any smart home ecosystem. Determine the right size for your space and weigh the value of each upgrade like display quality and better camera resolution. Happy shopping for the perfect Alexa-powered smart display!