The best smart displays of 2019 – CNET
With popular models like the Google Nest Hub (formerly the Google Home Hub) and the Amazon Echo Show 5 leading the way, the smart display category has blossomed over the past year. Almost a dozen smart displays have hit the market, with a new batch launching this summer. Smart displays combine the always-listening voice assistance of a smart speaker with a touchscreen for watching videos, controlling your smart home and more.
If you're ready to upgrade your smart speaker, or you're just starting your smart home and you find the touchscreen appealing, here are the best smart displays available now.
Note that the products discussed here are independently chosen by our editors. CNET may get a share of the revenue if you buy anything featured on our site.
Read more: Google Nest Hub wins CNET's Editors' Choice.
You can often find the Nest Hub (formerly called the Google Home Hub) on sale for $100 or less, making it an affordable entry point for the category. It's also the smartest and best overall, making the lower price even more appealing.
Thanks to the built-in Google Assistant, the Nest Hub responds to all of the same voice commands as the Google Home Mini smart speaker. The touchscreen is a little small at 7 inches, but the adaptive brightness makes pictures look particularly great. Google will even customize a slideshow of family pics as your screensaver.
You can also watch videos and control your smart home with an intuitively designed control panel. Unlike most of the other smart displays, the Nest Hub doesn't have a camera, but that might be a bonus if you have privacy concerns and want to put it in your bedroom. The colorful fabric design can blend in anywhere, though the touchscreen comes in particularly handy if you want step-by-step help through a recipe in the kitchen.
With the Show 5, Amazon's Alexa will respond to your voice commands, and you can use the screen to play games, browse recipes, control your smart home and more. The 5.5-inch screen is small, but it fits well next to your bed and includes a physical shutter for privacy.
In addition to the usual tricks, Amazon rolled out a new smart-home control panel with the Echo Show 5. A sunrise alarm feature helps ease you out of your sleep with a screen that starts getting brighter 15 minutes before your scheduled wake-up time. You can watch new how-to videos, or make a video call with a tap.
Google Assistant still makes better use of the touchscreen than Amazon — in particular, the cooking directions and smart home controls are better — but the Echo Show 5 is close enough if you're already invested in Alexa, and it's better for your bedroom even if you're neutral as far as the assistant is concerned. It's Amazon's best smart display yet.
If you want a 10-inch touchscreen powered by Google Assistant, the Lenovo Smart Display looks elegant and features the same smarts as the Nest Hub. Lenovo actually offers two different models: a 10-inch version for $250 and an 8-inch model for $200. The 10-inch smart display has a bamboo back that's particularly well suited for the kitchen.
The Lenovo Smart Display was actually the first smart display to debut with Google Assistant built-in and it's still one of the best. You still get Google's smart-home control panels and recipe guides, and the Lenovo display has a camera for video calls and a physical shutter to cover it if you want privacy.
Note that the Google Nest Hub Max has a similar 10-inch screen and is due out in September. The Hub Max will have extra features like gesture controls and a built-in security cam for roughly the same price, so it could make Lenovo's display obsolete. Nevertheless, Lenovo's stylish display is the best 10-inch model with Google Assistant right now.
If you want a smart display that can double as a speaker for a party, look no further than the JBL Link View. Like the Lenovo Smart Display, it has Google Assistant built-in, and the same basic interface as the Lenovo model and the Nest Hub. It only has an 8-inch screen, which isn't great for $250, and the design is a little clunky.
Nevertheless, it has all of the same great touchscreen features as the other Google Assistant models and when you start playing music, the JBL Link View shines. The sound quality is a little bass-heavy, but it's loud and full enough to get a room rockin.
On the way:
The Google Nest Hub Max — Amazon just moved into entry-level smart displays with the Show 5, and Google's next model will look to outdo Amazon on the premium end. The Hub Max will have a 10-inch screen and a $230 price. It's due out Sept. 9. Plus, it has a built-in Nest Cam so it can watch for motion when you're gone. That Nest Cam will also recognize gestures so you can play and pause music with your hand, and it can follow you around while you talk during video calls.
Smart display comparison
|Best overall||Best Alexa display||Best full-size display||Best sound quality|
|Google Nest Hub||Amazon Echo Show 5||Lenovo Smart Display 10-inch/8-inch||JBL Link View|
|Screen size||7-inch (177.8 mm)||5.5-inch (139.7 mm)||10.1-inch (256.5 mm) / 8-inch (203.2 mm)||8-inch (203.2 mm)|
|Resolution||1,024×600||960×480||1080p (1,920×1,200)/ 720p (1,280×800)||720p (1,280×800)|
|Dimensions (WxHxD)||7.02 x 4.65 x 2.65 inches (178.5 x 118 x 67.3 mm)||5.8 x 3.4 x 2.9 inches (148 x 86 x 73 mm)||6.8 x 12.3 x 0.5 – 5.4 inches(173.87 x 311.37 x 12.5 — 136.02 mm)/ 5.6 x 10.4 x 0.5 – 4.4 inches (142.21 x 263.21 x 12.5 — 111.36 mm)||13 x 6 x 3.9 inches (332 x 152 x 100 mm)|
|Weight||1.1 lbs. (480 grams)||0.9 lbs. (410 grams)||2.6 lbs. (1,200 grams) / 2.2 lbs. (1,000 grams)||2.9 lbs. (1,300 grams) net weight|
|Wireless connectivity||Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n/ac, 2.4GHz and 5GHz), Bluetooth 5.0||Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n/ac, 2.4GHz and 5GHz), Bluetooth speakers requiring PIN codes not supported||Wi-Fi (802.11ac, 2.4GHz and 5GHz), Bluetooth||Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n/ac, 2.4GHz and 5GHz), Bluetooth 4.2|
|Voice assistant||Google Assistant||Alexa||Google Assistant||Google Assistant|
|Calling and messaging||Direct dial (US, UK, and Canada, outgoing calls only), video calls with Google Duo||Alexa Messaging, Skype, direct dial (US and Mexico)||Direct dial (US, UK, and Canada, outgoing calls only), video calls with Google Duo||Direct dial (US, UK, and Canada, outgoing calls only), video calls with Google Duo|
|Smart kitchen features||Step-by-step recipe assistance with YouTube tutorial videos||Step-by-step recipe assistance; Amazon Meal Kits integration||Step-by-step recipe assistance with YouTube tutorial videos||Step-by-step recipe assistance with YouTube tutorial videos|
|Onscreen smart home controls||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Built-in camera||No||Yes (1MP)||Yes (5MP)||Yes (5MP)|
|Microphones||2-mic array||2-mic array||4-mic array (2 front, 2 rear)||2-mic array|
|Speakers||Full range speaker (80 dB SPL @ 1KHz, @ 1m)||Full range 1.65 inch 4W speaker||.75 10W Full Range Speaker 2 x Passive Tweeters||2 x 10W speakers with 2-inch (51 mm) full range drivers|
|Streaming music services||iHeartRadio, Pandora, Spotify, YouTube Music||Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn||iHeartRadio, Pandora, Spotify, YouTube Music||iHeartRadio, Pandora, Spotify, YouTube Music|