Smart displays are now a vital part of the smart home. Combining a smart speaker, voice assistant and touchscreen display they add a whole new dimension to controlling the smart home and getting tasks done using either Google Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa.
With a large array to choose from it can be daunting to know which one to buy and where in the house they’re best suited. With this simple guide we’ll help you compare each speaker and see which one works best for you.
Which Smart Display should you get?
The first thing you need to decide is if your smart home will be controlled by Amazon’s Alexa or the Google Assistant.
The reason is that currently smart displays only offer one or the other, not both.
Once you’ve decided you’ll see that there’s a huge range of options available depending on where you want to place it and what you want it to do whether that’s acting as your new bedside alarm clock or your helper in the kitchen.
All of these displays have the ability to control your smart home. All of them can make calls to other devices and those with cameras are able to make video calls either through Skype (on Alexa devices) or through Google Duo (any Google Assistant device).
Google Assistant smart displays
Control the smart home from your bed - Lenovo Smart Clock
The smallest of the Google Assistant family, the Smart Clock is the traditional alarm clock brought into the 21st Century. The small display packs in plenty of information letting you quickly see the weather, what your commute will be like and even what events you have coming up. The in-built speaker means you can be gently woken up with the radio station of your choice while its soft fabric body it’s designed to fit into any style of bedroom. The privacy-conscious will be pleased to hear this is one smart display that doesn’t have a camera.
The ultimate photo frame - Google Nest Hub
The Google Nest Hub is perfect for those that want the ultimate photo frame. Showcasing your family albums via Google Photos while still giving you all of the smart home functionality you’d expect. Its 7-inch ambient display uses sensors to detect the light around it so that when you get up at night you won’t be blinded the moment you enter the room. Designed for living rooms/kitchens and even the bedroom this smart display has a speaker that’s great for watching instructional YouTube videos or listening to the radio.
Your new kitchen companion - Lenovo Smart Display 8/10-inch
Lenovo’s smart displays are powerful all-in-one gadgets that can act as the central hub for your smart home. With an award-winning design they work either horizontally or in landscape depending on your preference. Both have cameras with built-in manual shutters for privacy and both feature a high-resolution touch screen that’s perfect for navigating through YouTube or following recipes. The 8-inch model is available in a subtle grey while the 10-inch comes with a striking bamboo design. Both models also have powerful speakers.
Perfect for entertaining - JBL LinkView
The JBL LinkView is for those that want a speaker first and a smart display second. With powerful twin stereo speakers this smart display can be placed at the centre of any party and easily holds its own. Its 8-inch display is bright, clear and easy to use while the design is splash-proof, making it immune to even the most enthusiastic chef.
The ultimate smart display experience - Google Nest Hub Max
Google’s new flagship smart display, the Nest Hub Max, is the Nest Hub’s larger sibling. Along with the larger 10-inch display it includes a built-in Nest Cam which not only lets you make video calls but can also double as a security camera when you’re not at home. One really useful feature is that it can recognise who’s looking at it and then show them personalised information such as their upcoming events. Finally, it comes with twin stereo speakers and a 3-inch woofer.
Alexa smart displays
Control the smart home from bed - Amazon Echo Spot
At first glance the Echo Spot looks the perfect addition to your bedside table, but Amazon has designed this bite-sized smart display to fit in anywhere. Its round display is perfect for telling the time but it’s also a fully-fledged smart assistant which lets you control your smart home as you would with any other device. A small camera above the screen lets you make video calls while a 3.5mm headphone jack at the back means you can use it to upgrade your conventional speaker systems.
Your new coffee table assistant - Amazon Echo Show 5
Amazon’s newest display fulfills a vital role by offering Alexa users a smaller yet still highly functional alternative to the original Echo Show. With its smaller, more compact, design, the Echo Show 5 can discreetly sit in the corner of a kitchen table top or on a living-room coffee table. Customisable clock faces on its 5-inch display make it a viable replacement for an alarm clock, while a camera with a manual privacy shutter means you can also make video calls.
The ultimate Alexa assistant - Amazon Echo Show
The Echo Show is Amazon’s flagship smart display. A large, bright 10-inch touchscreen display dominates the front of the device giving you immersive access to TV shows on Amazon Prime. A camera up top allows for video calling between Echo devices or over Skype. Like all Alexa devices you get access to your Audible library as well as music services such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and more. With two powerful speakers tuned by Dolby, the Echo Show is as much a speaker as it is a display.
Control your home from anywhere in the house - Lenovo Smart Tab
One of the first non-Amazon smart displays to use Alexa, the Smart Tab is a smart display and a tablet rolled into one. You get a 10.1-inch Android tablet that when docked with its base station transforms into an Alexa-powered smart display. You get all the same smart home functionality you’d expect and it even runs the same software as Amazon’s other smart displays so there’s no learning curve. There are front and rear-facing cameras so you can take pictures and video call. The dock contains two powerful room-filling speakers while the tablet also contains four front-facing speakers for when you’re on the move.