After launching a line of Google Home smart speakers in 2016 and rolling out support for third-party speakers in 2017, this year Google announced that Assistant was coming to “Smart Displays.”

Basically these are smart speakers with touchscreens, adding a visual element to the Google Assistant experience. Ask for a weather update and in addition to reading one aloud, Google can show it to you. Ask for a recipe, and you can read along as you cook.

Lenovo, JBL, and LG all unveiled Smart Displays, and now Lenovo has brought the first two to market. A $200 Lenovo Smart Display with an 8 inch screen should be available this weekend, along with a $250 model with a 10 inch display.

Basically, these Smart Displays are the Google and friends answer to Amazon’s Echo Show and Echo Spot products. But while there are some things Amazon is better at and others that Google is, there’s at least one key advantage to getting a Google Assistant-powered device: it will support YouTube, allowing you to watch millions of videos that aren’t currently available on an Amazon Echo Show.

Some of the first Lenovo Smart Display reviews are in, and for the most part people seem to like the design, the performance, and the experience of using Google Assistant on this style of device. Audio quality is said to be mediocre though, and for some reason the YouTube app doesn’t offer access to subscriptions or playlists. It’s still better than what you get with the Echo Show, I guess.

YouTube TV is also supported, allowing you to tune into live television programming with a “Hey Google watch ESPN”-style voice request.

And Smart Displays are also compatible with other Google Assistant-enabled smart home accessories, allowing you to control lights, thermostats, locks, and other internet of things devices.

The Lenovo Smart Display 8 inch model has a 1280 x 800 pixel display while the 10 inch version has a 1920 x 100 pixel screen. Both have 10 watt speakers. And both have privacy covers that can slide over the camera if you’re not using it to make Google Duo video calls, to help provide a little extra privacy/security/peace of mind.

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6 replies on “Lenovo releases the first Smart Display with Google Assistant”

  1. What took them so long? No SD card slot, so no sale.
    Was looking forward to an Android device that you
    can actually hear, so may have to wait…forever. At
    this point, these devices are way overpriced.

    1. What would you want to load or save on the SD Card? The Lenovo Smart Display runs Android Things which does run web-services instead of apps and does not require lot of on-board or external storage to be fully functional. Because the Lenovo Smart Display is designed to be always available, it is always on and always connected, so it does not require any offline content aside from its core system.

  2. I think these are the wrong approach. Google already has the template in Chromecast. I don’t want to watch Youtube or TV or even make video calls via an 8″ or 10″ screen on an end table. Why does anyone think that’s a good idea in a world where flatscreen TVs and/or monitors are relatively cheap and plentiful?
    Those large screens already in my home are what I want to be using for those tasks. Google should be marketing an Assistant based addon which uses those screens via hdmi pass-through. Market a camera to attach to it and mount by the screen if you want video calling.
    In short the screens are already there. Don’t try to sell me tiny screens. Sell me things to use the screens I already have which are larger and better placed already.
    That’s the ticket.

    1. In many cases these are good ideas, but not for all. The Lenovo Smart Display is designed to work primarily in the kitchen where most households are not equiped with a screen. As stated in many reviews, it is great to use for getting step by step recipes with just your voice. Another point to consider is that most people will favor built-in features vs optional accessories which can often turn out to be cumbersome to set up and integrate.

      1. I have my Smart Display set up in my kitchen (replacing my Google Home Mini) because it’s the most central place in my house so I use it pretty much as a control center for all my devices. The step by step recipes have been a huge help to me. I’m a terrible cook so being able to follow instructions at my own pace makes cooking a lot less stressful. Plus, I don’t really need to worry about damaging it because of the water resistance unlike with a cookbook or iPad.

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