Indian homes are steadily warming up to smart speakers. Walk into any modern household in a metro city and chances are you will get to hear the residents issuing voice commands such as “Alexa, play top Hindi songs,” “Alexa, turn on the lights,” or “Alexa, Wake me up at 6 am”. Thanks to Amazon’s Alexa-powered smart speakers, the Jeff Bezos-owned firm now has quite a formidable Echo family of devices—Echo Input, Echo Dot, Echo, Echo Spot, Echo Plus, and Echo Show. Truth is, these smart speakers entertain your guests, make fantastic gifts and importantly, make our lives better and easier.
A few months back, we had reviewed the Echo Show that continues to wow us with its immersive 10-inch HD display, crisp and bright visuals and a speaker system that delivers powerful bass and stereo sound. Watching Amazon Prime Video movies is a treat on this device. Cut to present. Amazon has introduced a more portable and handy device called Echo Show 5, that comes with a 5.5-inch display, rich sound, HD camera, and built-in camera shutter. The new device lets you see visuals and do more with Alexa around the home. With its compact body, Echo Show 5 fits in any room; try it on your bedside table, living room side table or a desk. At present, the new Echo device is available on Amazon Great Indian Festival for Rs 5,499 (non-festival price is Rs 8,999); take my word, at this price point it is a worthy purchase.
With rich and full sound, Echo Show 5 is great for watching music videos from Hungama. Just say, “Alexa, play latest music videos”. Catch up on your favourite shows and videos from Prime Video or short news clips from various news channels. Kids can have fun with Alexa skills like ChuChu TV and Vir The Robot Boy. Soon, a new integration with wikiHow will allow access to hundreds of how-to videos by voice—all you have to do is ask to learn how to open a tight jar, clean a convection oven, make a paper crane, or solve a Rubik’s Cube.
Echo Show 5 also has a rich sound. You can listen to your favourite songs from Amazon Music, Saavn, Gaana, Hungama Music, TuneIn, and more. Simply say, “Alexa, play party songs” to play music for your dinner party. You can stay in touch with your closest friends and family with hands-free video calls to those who have an Echo Spot, Echo Show, the Alexa App, or Skype. Plus, with Echo Show 5 in multiple rooms of your home, you can easily drop in on another room or make an announcement that dinner is ready.
The Echo Show 5 comes with new ways to control your smart home too. A new smart home dashboard on all Echo Show devices gives you even more control over compatible smart home devices and groups. Simply say, “Alexa, turn on the lights,” and use the on-screen controls to adjust the light’s colour or brightness. You can also view your smart home camera feed, access recently used devices, and manage smart devices by room.
You can customise your morning and evening routines with Alexa. Set an alarm at night and Alexa will ask if you’d like to listen to nature or sleep sounds to relax. When your alarm goes off in the morning, wake up to an Alexa Sunrise – the screen on Echo Show devices will naturally brighten and display a sunrise animation before your alarm goes off.
You can choose from all-new clock faces or add a personal photo from your latest vacation to make the home screen of Echo Show 5 unique to you and your family. You can also connect to your Facebook account and play a slideshow of your photos, view a specific album or set your photos to rotate in the background. Plus, the new ambient lighting mode auto-adjusts the brightness of the screen based on the brightness of the room—so it’s never too bright or too dark. To get even more from your Alexa experience, swipe left from the far right side of the screen to access shortcuts and discover all that Alexa can do—from smart home controls to recipes, reminders, skills and more.
The new Echo Show 5 includes a microphone/camera off button that electrically disconnects both the microphone and camera, and a clear visual indicator that shows when audio or video is streaming to the cloud. Plus, Echo Show 5 has a built-in camera shutter so now you can easily cover the camera, while still being able to talk to Alexa.
With Echo Show 5, simply ask Alexa to play music, watch news, movies or TV shows, make calls to friends and family, set alarms and timers, ask questions, control smart home devices, and more. It’s a great device and a good companion that will make you and your home smart. Highly recommended.
Estimated street price: Rs 5,499