Lenovo Smart Display review

8.5/10 AVG.
RATING
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  • Lenovo Smart Display

Specs / Features


Wireless
Wireless Inputs Bluetooth
Warranty (Months) 12 months
Size
Weight N/A

What's good

  • Bright, well-balanced display
  • Android Things support
  • Attractive, functional design
  • Chromecast integration
  • Camera privacy shutter and hardware mic mute buttons

What's bad

  • No continued conversations support
  • Not Netflix compatible (yet)
  • Shallow audio
  • No portrait support outside Duo

As one of the more recent smart device trends, smart speakers can be found from a range of manufacturers and in a variety of sizes. The Lenovo Smart Display looks to take this trend and present it in a whole new way -- namely with the addition of a large touchscreen. But is it something that adds value to the device or a mere gimmick to entice buyers?

Reviewers loved the display’s design. Its asymmetric, triangular corner doubles as an integrated stand in both portrait and landscape modes while the speaker pumps out plenty of volume -- though some found it a bit shallow in terms of base and overall depth.

There are two variants available. One includes an 8-inch, 1280-by-800 pixel touchscreen display, a 1.75-inch, 10-watt woofer, and a grey rubberized rear coating. The other is a 10-inch, 1920-by-1200 touchscreen display, a 2-inch 10-watt woofer, and a smooth bamboo rear panel.

Reviewers loved the look of the larger model but found the smaller acceptable as well if space or budget concerns apply.

Powering the display, you’ll find a Snapdragon 624-based Home Hub platform with 2GB of RAM. While it responded fast enough to common commands, many reviews noted sluggishness when loading in-depth information -- such as playlists from Spotify or step-by-step recipe instructions from Google. Still, it wasn’t enough to be frustrating to most, simply enough to notice.

Microphones sit on the top edge of the display. Unlike many smart speakers, reviewers found the dual microphone array on the display highly directional. Issue commands from behind or beside the unit received mixed responses. However, speaking directly at it worked great.

This is important because while there is a touchscreen for added controls and interactivity, you still must use voice commands to start most commands or activities. Many reviewers hoped that Google or Lenovo would add a more touch-centric control to the display.

Most commands are started using “Hey Google.” With support for multiple voices and profiles, you can assign the whole family to a single speaker and get responses customized to their contacts, photos, and general preferences. But, there’s G Suite account support or Continued Conversations support. So don’t expect to look up work calendar entries or perform complex commands just yet.

There’s full integration with Android Things supported devices -- such as Nest thermostats, Nest outdoor cameras, Philips Hue lightbulbs, and full Chromecast support. There’s currently an issue with Netflix. However, most other apps stream to the display with no issues.

The display includes 4GB of storage. But, given it requires power to function, isn’t exactly portable, and connects to Google’s Drive cloud storage, that should be plenty to keep things moving along.

The display includes a 5MP front-facing camera with privacy shutter for detecting movement and placing Google Duo calls. While the video quality is decent, it will not work for recording vlogs or other high-quality video needs.

Overall, reviewers felt the display is an excellent example of what smart displays might bring to an already-crowded smart “things” market. Slash Gear says, “If you’re a Google Home user I’d say the Lenovo Smart Display is definitely worth considering for the extra functionality it adds, though the price delta between it and a Google Home Mini still makes voice-only the best starting point for most.” Android Police backs this up, saying, “With very few reservations, I can easily recommend Lenovo's Smart Display to anyone that can afford it.”


Critic Reviews


The Ambient

Assistant is nicely integrated, but Android Things is undercooked

from The Ambient

The Lenovo Smart Display has the Echo Show beat, and unless you're completely out of Google's ecosystem, this is the better speaker. Android Things is young and needs time to develop, but the visual component already brings benefits to the Assistant experience. The era of Google's Smart Display is off to a promising start.

Read full review

The Lenovo Smart Display has the Echo Show beat, and unless you're completely out of Google's ecosystem, this is the better speaker. Android Things is young and needs time to develop, but the visual component already brings benefits to the Assistant experience. The era of Google's Smart Display is off to a promising start.

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T3

One of the best in the business

from T3

If you're really going to use that screen for watching videos or controlling music playback, the Lenovo Smart Display is a smart choice for the kitchen or the bedroom. If you're just going to be asking when your next calendar event is, get a Google Home Mini instead.

Read full review

If you're really going to use that screen for watching videos or controlling music playback, the Lenovo Smart Display is a smart choice for the kitchen or the bedroom. If you're just going to be asking when your next calendar event is, get a Google Home Mini instead.

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Tech.Co

A fantastic smart home device

from Tech.Co

Really, you’re getting two devices for the price of one. The Smart Display is a brilliant device to control your smart home and manage your life; but it’s also a great media player, too, with an impressive screen and excellent sound quality.

Read full review

Really, you’re getting two devices for the price of one. The Smart Display is a brilliant device to control your smart home and manage your life; but it’s also a great media player, too, with an impressive screen and excellent sound quality.

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Ausdroid

A great embodiment of the Google Assistant Smart Display

from Ausdroid

The display has enhanced the Google Assistant interactions and options, the addition of a camera is simply a must for me and the addition of video and it’s utility as a truly smart photo frame is outstanding.

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The display has enhanced the Google Assistant interactions and options, the addition of a camera is simply a must for me and the addition of video and it’s utility as a truly smart photo frame is outstanding.

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Techaeris

The little brother holds its own

from Techaeris

This is a great little smart display, and for those who don’t want to spend more than $150USD and maybe want a smaller form factor, it will be perfect. For those who want a little nicer design, full HD display, and better sound, then the 10″ is the way to go.

Read full review

This is a great little smart display, and for those who don’t want to spend more than $150USD and maybe want a smaller form factor, it will be perfect. For those who want a little nicer design, full HD display, and better sound, then the 10″ is the way to go.

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Android Central

The premium smart home hub

from Android Central

For those dipping their toe into the smart home waters, Google's Home Hub offers much of the same feature set a much lower upfront cost. But if you're already onboard with the concept, a little extra cash will get you a better screen, beefier speakers and a more elegant design.

Read full review

For those dipping their toe into the smart home waters, Google's Home Hub offers much of the same feature set a much lower upfront cost. But if you're already onboard with the concept, a little extra cash will get you a better screen, beefier speakers and a more elegant design.

Read full review

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Tech Guide

Stunning screen and excellent sound

from Tech Guide

The Lenovo Smart Display is one of the best all-round smart packages on the market with a stunning screen and excellent sound. It can easily find a place in your home.

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The Lenovo Smart Display is one of the best all-round smart packages on the market with a stunning screen and excellent sound. It can easily find a place in your home.

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Pocket-lint

Google Assistant steals the show

from Pocket-lint

The Lenovo Smart Display makes a strong case for smart displays, but it's still an area to watch. If music is important or you want something more compact, you might be better off looking elsewhere.

Read full review

The Lenovo Smart Display makes a strong case for smart displays, but it's still an area to watch. If music is important or you want something more compact, you might be better off looking elsewhere.

Read full review

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Daily Express

A gorgeous screen, powerful speakers and incredibly handy Google Assistant functionality

from Daily Express

The Smart Display is the first foray into an entirely new operating system from Google that attempts to bring its lauded Assistant into a more presentable and accessible format. But Lenovo's product does not just excel for being an introductory venture, instead it masterfully delivers an array of...More

The Smart Display is the first foray into an entirely new operating system from Google that attempts to bring its lauded Assistant into a more presentable and accessible format. But Lenovo's product does not just excel for being an introductory venture, instead it masterfully delivers an array of useful functions that quickly become hard to live without.

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Stuff

A really great device at a really great price

from Stuff

On the one hand, it’s a great product at a great price (the 8in version at £159, anyway), and another example of how Google Assistant-powered visual smart assistants are much easier to recommend than Amazon’s Echo Show right now. On the other hand, its strange styling serves an extremely lim...More

On the one hand, it’s a great product at a great price (the 8in version at £159, anyway), and another example of how Google Assistant-powered visual smart assistants are much easier to recommend than Amazon’s Echo Show right now. On the other hand, its strange styling serves an extremely limited purpose, one that probably won’t be used by that many people. There are still plenty of reasons to buy this over the Google Home Hub, though. The bigger screen, improved sound and ability to video call do warrant the extra £20, and it’s still a lot cheaper than the new Amazon Echo Show.

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