Lenovo's Smart Display.
Lenovo's Smart Display.

Lenovo Smart Display review: A smart display for the design conscious

  • Unlike Lenovo’s Smart Clock, you can also use the Smart Display to watch videos
  • The Smart Display does everything a Google-powered smart display can

New Delhi: Smart speakers and displays don’t make for a booming market yet, but that might change as more brands come into the space. If Sony and Bose are examples of that for Amazon’s Alexa, Lenovo is an example for the Google Assistant. Of course, Sony and Bose made smart speakers, while Lenovo made a smart display.

Named rather unimaginatively, the Lenovo Smart Display is a more premium and larger version of the Google Nest Hub. In fact, while the fabric covered body of the Amazon Echo Show 5 and Google Nest Hub do look nice, the wood finish on the back of the Lenovo Smart Display certainly looks more premium and stylish.

It has a larger footprint and has a significantly larger display than the Google Nest Hub — 8 inch. It runs on Google’s Android Things interface, which is a version of Android meant for Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and it does everything a Nest Hub can. Lenovo thinks this should be enough to command a higher 14,999 price tag.

And the company possibly has the right idea. The Smart Display does everything a Google-powered smart display can. It can control lights and other smart devices that support the Google Assistant, and it can make video calls using the Duo calling service from Google. It’s basically a Lenovo-branded device with Google all over it.

Unlike Lenovo’s Smart Clock, you can also use the Smart Display to listen to music, because it has better speakers. You get support for quite a few music streaming apps, including Spotify, so you will have something to play music from. The larger and more powerful speakers on this don’t make for room filling or detail-rich audio, but if you find yourself making do with budget headphones on a regular basis, the Smart Display won’t disappoint you in terms of audio quality.

In fact, all things considered, the Lenovo Smart Display could actually be the only one that ticks all the right boxes. It responds to voice commands, controls smart home devices, can show you the information you need, acts as a photo album using Google Photos, and it looks excellent. The Amazon Echo Show and Google Nest Hub are decent looking speakers, but if you have a nicely designed media center or desks, the Lenovo Smart Display will fit much better than those other devices.

At the same time, it has the same shortcomings that all voice assistant-driven smart devices have today. It misses commands at times and doesn’t really make for a device you can’t live without today. Like the Nest Hub and any Echo Show device, the Smart Display is also meant for early adopters. However, if you happen to care more about design that most and don’t mind spending Rs. 14,999 on such a device, this is the one you should pick.

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