Best smart displays of 2020: Amazon, Google and more

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Thanks to  lockdowns, voice assistants are . Add that to the slew of new products from and as we enter the fall, and this is an exciting time for Alexa and Google Assistant. Smart displays add an even more compelling angle: they offer video chat, touch controls, screen for streaming and much more. I for one have already sent an to my mother-in-law so she can drop in to read my kiddos books every couple of days this December.

But which smart display is best for you?

The smart display industry has flourished in recent years, with the  and the  (formerly the Google Home Hub) at the forefront of the screen wars. In addition, Amazon’s new will be adding a new contender to the field soon. It makes sense that there are almost a  on the market: They’re a great combo made up of the always-listening voice assistant (like you’d find in a ) and a touchscreen for watching videos, controlling  devices, adding things to your to-do lists and more. The  even adds in that can display personalized bits of information whenever it recognizes you.

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The best smart display available today


There are plenty of considerations that go into which smart display is right for you. Do you want one that offers video chat and video calling? Or that connects with Amazon’s Alexa or the Google Home app? Does it need to be able to control your smart light bulbs and smart plugs? Is audio performance a factor (in case you need music for a dance party)? These are all factors you should keep in mind.

If you’re looking to upgrade your current smart speaker, or you’re just starting your and you find the touchscreen appealing, here are the best smart displays available now. We’ll update this list periodically.

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Chris Monroe/CNET

You can often find the Nest Hub (formerly called the ) , 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 , the Nest Hub responds to all of the same voice commands as the 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 control your smart home devices, like your smart doorbell, with an intuitively designed control panel. Unlike most of the other smart displays (and unlike its new big brother, the ), the Nest Hub doesn’t have a camera, but that might be a bonus if you have and want to put it on your bedside table. The colorful fabric design allows the device to blend in anywhere, though the touchscreen comes in particularly handy if you want step-by-step help through a recipe in the kitchen.


Chris Monroe/CNET

For a long time, the Nest Hub occupied pride of place on this list, thanks to its photo display aesthetic, pleasant user interface and more naturalistic voice assistant. But as we venture ever deeper into the coronavirus pandemic, the Echo Show 8’s camera — and its ability to video chat — becomes a more important deciding point for would-be customers. And that’s one feature the Nest Hub simply doesn’t have. Add that to , and the Show 8 has been upgraded to share the “best display” honor with the Nest hub.

With the Show 8, <a hre.

Chris Monroe/CNET

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 three different models with 10, 8 and 7 inch screens. The 10-inch $250 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, plus the Lenovo display has a camera for video calls and a physical shutter to cover it if you want privacy.


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