These Are Our Favorite Smart Displays Right Now

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A smart display might be for you if you want the convenience of a smart assistant with the added bonus of having something to look at. When you put Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa into a smart speaker with a tablet-sized screen, you get a fun way to see the weather or album art, watch TV shows, make video calls, and other (mostly) useful stuff. We’ve tested most of the major displays on the market and have listed our favorites below.

Most of our picks use Google Assistant instead of Amazon’s Alexa because it’s often easier to set up devices, and Google provides a simpler service in some ways.

Be sure to check out our many other buying guides, including our roundups of all our favorite smart speakers, and specific guides for Google Assistant and Alexa speakers.

Updated April 2021: We’ve added the third-gen Amazon Echo Show 10 and the second-gen Nest Hub. We also added a section on why you should get a smart display.

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  • google nest hub max

    Photograph: Best Buy

    Best Overall

    Google Nest Hub Max

    The Google Nest Hub Max is a great all-around smart display. It has an unobtrusive design, a 10-inch touchscreen display, some pretty good speakers, and a camera for video calls over Google Duo and even services like Zoom. The camera can also identify individual members of the house and shows personal information only pertaining to each person. Just know you’ll need the right amount of space for it, and you may want to pick up a privacy cover to block the camera when it’s not in use.

    A camera-free alternative: Google’s second-generation Nest Hub ($100) is another great option if you don’t need the camera, and don’t mind a smaller, 7-inch screen. It has a sunrise alarm and sleep-sensing tech to track your sleep quality (only the person closest to the Hub), plus gestures—like playing or pausing a video with just a hand movement—by using the same unique radar tech found in select Pixel phones.

  • Photograph: Lenovo

    Best for the Bedroom

    Lenovo Smart Clock

    Lenovo’s Smart Clock is one of the smallest smart displays you’ll find, ideal for the bedroom. The 4-inch screen can do almost anything other Google Assistant devices can, gets dim enough not to disturb you during slumber, and suggests alarms based on your routines. The extra USB port means you can plug in your phone to charge as well, reducing the number of dangling wires near your bedside table. Its small size does mean it’s less useful for looking at recipes or watching videos unless you’re quite close.

    ★ Another great bedside display: For an even more bare-bones experience, try Lenovo’s Smart Clock Essential ($44). It looks like a classic digital clock with an LCD screen that shows the time and weather. But Google Assistant is still here, so you can ask it to set alarms, turn off the bedroom lights, and anything else you’d ask the other smart displays in this guide. There’s a physical switch to turn off the microphone when you’re not using it, and a nightlight on the back so you can find your way in the dark.

  • Photograph: Amazon

    If You Prefer Alexa Over Google

    Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen)

    The third-generation Echo Show has the same 10.1-inch display as the second-gen version (which you’ll find below), but it’s positioned on a large speaker for better audio quality. WIRED writer Parker Hall is testing it now and says it sounds great. More interestingly, the screen swivels and follows you as you walk around the room. That means you’ll stay in the frame while video-chatting, or the screen will keep a recipe in view as you move about your kitchen. 

    You can video-chat via Skype or with others who have an Echo Show or the Alexa app (the site says the display will soon support Zoom and Amazon Chime). Like on Google smart displays, there’s no support for Facebook Messenger. This Echo Show is only around $20 more than the 10-inch second-gen model, so we think it’s the better option for most Alexa fans.

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