Echo Show vs. Echo Spot: Which smart display should you buy?

Echo Show vs. Echo Spot: Which smart display is better for you?

Amazon’s voice assistant, Alexa, is not only available in Echo speakers, but you can also get a slew of other devices with Alexa built-in. Voice assistants are becoming a bigger part of our daily lives, making their way into our displays, headphones, thermostats, alarm clocks, and even our cars.

For those who want an Alexa-powered smart display as a bedside, couch-side, or countertop assistant that can control smart devices, make calls, answer questions, help with recipes, and check the news, two popular options are the Echo Show and the Echo Spot. Since Amazon recently came out with a more affordable version of the Echo Show, you may be wondering which device is better: The Echo Show or the Echo Spot. We compare the two in our Show vs. Spot showdown.

Size

Amazon Echo Show 5 review
Terry Walsh/Digital Trends

If you want a large smart display that’s about the same size as a full-sized tablet, the 2nd generation Echo Show (full review here) measures 9.7 inches wide, 6.9 inches tall, and 4.2 inches deep. It has a 10.1-inch display screen. However, the new Echo Show 5 (full review here) is much smaller than the Show 2, measuring 5.8 inches wide, 3.4 inches tall, and 2.9 inches deep. It has a 5.5-inch display screen (the same size as the iPhone 8 plus or the HTC U11).

The Echo Spot (full review here) is even smaller than the Show 5, with a 2.5-inch display screen. The Spot has a very compact size and is ideal as a bedside assistant or alarm clock. It only takes up about 4 inches of space on your nightstand.

Looks

Amazon Echo Spot Review
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

The Show 2 and Show 5 look very similar, but the Echo Show 5 looks like a miniature version of the Show 2. Both devices have rectangular-shaped screens, and they both come in two color options to fit into your home decor: Charcoal or sandstone.

The Echo Spot’s display screen is round, and the device looks sort of like a sphere (only the screen and base portions are flat). Because of the rounded design, the Spot looks a bit more like a high tech alarm clock than a smart display. The Spot comes in two color options: Black or white.

The small profile of the Echo Show 5 and the Echo Spot make it so they can both sit relatively unnoticed on a table. The Echo Show 2 is more conspicuous.

Sound and Picture

Amazon Echo Show 2 Review
Rich Shibley/Digital Trends

The Echo Show 2nd generation has the best picture and sound quality, followed by the Show 5. The Echo Spot has the lowest quality picture and sound of the three devices.

The Show 2’s screen resolution is 1280 x 800, and it has a 5 MP camera. The sound on the Show 2 is exceptional, as the smart display boasts two, 10-watt drivers with a passive radiator speaker with Dolby processing.

The Show 5’s picture quality is relatively decent for a device in this price range. The small screen’s resolution is 960 x 480, and it has a 1 MP camera. The sound quality isn’t exactly stellar, but it does the job with a single 4-watt speaker.

The Echo Spot has a very small screen, and its resolution is only 480 x 480. It has a VGA camera (which is equivalent to 0.3 MP). In terms of sound, it has a single, 1.4-inch 2 watt speaker. For an alarm clock, this isn’t too bad. But, when you compare this to the Echo Show, the sound quality isn’t all that great. To provide some perspective, the Echo Dot (3rd gen) has a 1.6-inch speaker, which is a larger speaker than the Echo Spot.

If you want to improve your sound experience on the Echo Show 5 or the Echo Spot, you can connect an external speaker via a 3.5 mm audio output jack.

Alexa, Hub, and Features

Amazon Echo Spot Review
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

The second-generation Echo Show includes a built-in ZigBee hub. Having a hub is becoming less important, as fewer and fewer smart home products require a hub to work, and features like Alexa routines have provided more customization options. However, the addition of the ZigBee hub can provide you with some additional features when controlling ZigBee-compatible smart home products. Having the built-in hub can also make it so certain compatible smart devices will work offline.

Neither the Echo Show 5 nor the Echo Spot include a hub, but both devices will allow you to make video calls, ask Alexa questions, and of course, control Alexa-compatible smart devices just like you could with any other Echo device (like an Echo Dot smart speaker).

The Echo Show 2 has a microphone and camera off button that electronically disconnects the mic and camera. The Echo Spot and Echo Show 5 also have a microphone and camera off button, but the Show 5 has an additional built-in privacy feature — a slider you can use to physically block the camera from seeing you.

Which is better?

Amazon Echo Show 5 review
Terry Walsh/Digital Trends

Winner: Echo Show 

The Show 2 is better than both the Show 5 and the Spot in terms of its technical specifications. However, it’s also a lot more expensive. The Show 2 retails for $230, while the Show 5 and the Spot retail for $90 and $130, respectively.

When comparing the Echo Show 5 and the Echo Spot (two smaller and lower-priced devices), the two devices both have their pros and cons, but the Show 5 edges out the Spot simply because it offers more than the Spot — better resolution, a better camera, better sound, enhanced privacy features, and a lower price tag.

Before the Echo Show 5, it felt as though the Echo Spot was the miniature (more inexpensive) version of the 2nd gen Show. You could place a Show 2 in your kitchen, and a Spot in your bedroom. But now, with the addition of the Show 5 to the Echo lineup, it can serve as an even better inexpensive Alexa-powered alarm clock or smart display.

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