One of the latest trends in the tech world is smart displays. They're essentially an evolution of the smart speaker, adding a visual element with a screen. There aren't loads to choose from but enough for us to round-up the best ones.
If it's a smart speaker you're after, we list the best ones here.
For all intents and purposes, a smart display is essentially a tablet which runs on mains power that sits in a stand. Typically the display isn't adjustable and the base will have speakers to provide audio. Other features include microphones so you can use voice control and the device may have a camera, too.
Amazon has paved the way in this area with the Echo Show, as it did with the smart speaker. Others have followed with the main alternative being those with the Google Assistant. Third-party models were announced first but Google now has the Home Hub as its own-brand option.
Apart from the individual specs of each display, you really need to choose between Alexa and Google Assistant. We can't outright tell you which to go for as it will come down to things like whether you have other devices in that ecosystem and if the other smart home devices you have, or are planning to buy, are compatible with that system.
Note: We've included one hands-on review here since there's not much choice in the market yet, but we aim to review it fully as soon as possible.
Best Smart Displays
- Reviewed on: 14 November 2018
It might not be flawless but we feel Google's Home Hub with Google Assistant inside is the best all-round option for a smart display so far. It's an affordable price and the compact, stylish design will ensure it fits almost anywhere in your home.
There might not be a camera and audio quality isn't the best, even within Google's own line-up, but this is reflected in the price.
What Home Hub does have is an excellent screen on which Google Assistant can show as well as tell. You might find it a little too small for some rooms (we'd like to see a 10in model), but it generally works very well for all manner of tasks including streaming music, watching video and simply providing useful information.
Read our Google Home Hub review.
- Reviewed on: 19 November 2018
The Echo Spot is another great piece of hardware from Amazon, and the screen adds genuinely useful information for most things you ask Alexa. It's also £100/$100 less than the latest Echo Show, making it the cheapest way to get an Echo with a screen.
If you don't want a screen though then the Echo Dot (3rd-gen) is your best bet as the functionality is the same minus the display.
Read our Amazon Echo Spot review.
- Reviewed on: 16 November 2018
The Lenovo Smart Display is an impressive third-party Google smart display that's probably a better option than the Google Home Hub for most users thanks to the choice of two larger displays (8in or 10in) and the inclusion of a camera for video calls - though it does cost a good chunk more than Google's own offering, which holds it back slightly.
The larger screen is seriously welcome when looking up travel, reading recipes, or watching YouTube videos, and it's also given Lenovo space to fit in a surprisingly solid speaker. It's hardly world beating, but there's plenty of bass and enough volume to fill the room, which is more than we expected from a device led by its screen.
Ultimately, the irritations here are mostly on Google’s side, and mostly software - so we hope they might improve over time anyway. Lack of support for the vertical orientation and the frustratingly stripped back touchscreen controls are undeniably annoying, and highlight the occasional failings of the voice controls.
Read our Lenovo Smart Display review.
- Reviewed on: 19 November 2018
It's expensive, but the 2nd-gen Echo Show is a good upgrade on the original. If you want Alexa with a screen this is the way to do it. It lets you call other people with Alexa devices, look up stuff online and watch Amazon Prime video. Just remember that it needs to be plugged in, it's not a tablet.
Audio is decent and the screen is a good size but unless you really want the visual element or ability to call other Shows, you'd be better off with the Echo or the Echo Plus.
Read our Amazon Echo Show (2nd-gen) review.
- Reviewed on: 9 May 2018
We're excited at the thought of a Smart Display with the Google Assistant, and although LG's seems powerful it's not winning us over in the looks department. Proper testing might mean the audio proves it the one to go for but for now we're keener on the Lenovo Smart Display.
Read our LG ThinQ Smart Display WK9 review.
- Reviewed on: 15 November 2018
This is the original Echo Show and it's still available for less than the newer model. But this means it's inferior with less good sound, a smaller screen and a bulkier design.
If you want the calling feature with a decent size display and want to save a bit of money then it's an option, but if you're set on an Echo Show you should probably consider the newer one as it's a better product.
Read our Amazon Echo Show review.