There's a lot to like about the Lenovo Smart Display, the first device released in Google's new smart display ecosystem. Available in two sizes and starting at just $199, the Lenovo Smart Display isn't just a conduit to Google Assistant but a new, lean-back way of watching video and listening to music.
We've already reviewed the Lenovo Smart Display, compared it to the inferior Amazon Echo Show, shown how it's better than a tablet in your kitchen, and given you various tips and tricks for making it a great experience.
But we're not the only game in town: Android Central has an awesome community of tech enthusiasts who offer their own perspectives on new and hot products. With Lenovo's help, we sent four Smart Displays to members of our community, and here's what they had to say about it.
First, the participants:
- jcstek, a Community Review Team Leader, who thought the Lenovo Smart Display would make a great Christmas gift.
- digitalbreak, a Trusted Member of the Community Review Team, who said the Lenovo Smart Display is "right next move for the Google Assistant," and highly recommends it
- DecAway, a Trusted Member of the Community Review Team, who likened the Smart Display to "a digital life-assistant concierge service in your home.
- metllicamilitia, a Trusted Member of the Community Review Team, who liked the Lenovo Smart Display a lot and said it would "show its worth on the first day.'
On the Lenovo Smart Display's Design and Specs
A lot went into making sure the Lenovo Smart Display looks and feels attractive and intuitive. jcstek calls the design "pretty sweet," noting that it's "quite beautifully designed," with a "gorgeous" bamboo back on the 10-inch model. On the other hand, metllicamilitia got the 8-inch version and doesn't have great things to say about the "simple flat gray design with white trim," but notes the IPS display "looks phenomenal."
DecAway points out that the Smart Display isn't just a tablet mounted to a speaker:
He says that the Smart Display, even though it runs Android Things (which we'll get to in a bit), "has plenty of power to keep up with you, without a hitch." Thanks to the Snapdragon 624 chiop, 2GB of RAM, dual speaker setup, dual microphones, and 5MP camera, the hardware is powerful and solid. He is also using the smaller 8-inch model, "which lacks the full HD display, but I don't feel like it takes away from the experience."
Finally, digitalbreak notes that the "Lenovo Smart Display is a beautiful, simplistic device that portrays Google Assistant with an easy to use interface that lets you not only interact with the Google Assistant but also see and hear what you need."
Aside from all the bells and whistles, he mentions another great feature of the Smart Display: the privacy shutter for 5MP camera.
On the Lenovo Smart Display's Functionality and Google Assistant integration
Google Assistant + Google Home + Chromecast = Smart Display. That's how digitalbreak sums up what the Lenovo Smart Display can do, and that's pretty accurate. He points out that one of his favorite features is the Ambient Display mode, "where you can select to stream your personal photos from Google Photos or art gallery."
jcstek likes all the streaming services that the Smart Display supports:
Netflix really is the big omission right now, and that's not exactly Lenovo's or Google's fault — Netflix has to choose to support the smart display ecosystem.
DecAway really likes the way the Smart Display integrates into his day:
He also notes that the Smart Display uses Google Assistant to connect to many smart home products like Philips Hue bulbs and Nest Thermostat, and the visual presentation make changing settings more useful on the Smart Display's screen.
metllicamilitia likes that Google Assistant is always learning new things, and that Google itself placed a whole bunch of awesome features in here. He's especially fond of the Bluetooth pairing feature, which lets him stream Apple Music, his streaming service of choice, to the Smart Display. As an iPhone user, he points out a problem living in Google's world:
Ultimately, though, he says that he likes what he sees: "I can see the potential the Smart Display has and it has me excited to be able to take full advantage of it in the future."
On the Lenovo Smart Display's Value — Should you buy it?
All four reviewers agree that the Lenovo Smart Display is a good product, but not all of them think spending $250 on it is great value.
jcstek isn't entirely convinced it's worth the money, though he mentions a particularly poignant moment the Smart Display helped facililate:
But he also says, "I have found it to be very good at what it does and useful for me and my family. It would be difficult though for me to say that this is a piece of technology that is a must-have for everyone."
digitalbreak says that he loves the sound of the speakers on the Lenovo Smart Display — "If you ask me amongst everything, what Lenovo did great with the Smart Display, I would say they built a damn good speaker... — and that the product "is the right next move for the Google Assistant."
DecAway loves the Smart Display as an alarm clock, though acknowledges that it's an expensive alarm clock starting at $200.
Finally, metllicamilitia says that "even within the Apple walls, there is so much I can do with the Lenovo Smart Display." I think he sums everything up quite nicely:
See at Best Buy (opens in new tab)
What do you think of the Lenovo Smart Display? Let us know in the comments below!
I love the privacy filter. Hope it becomes industry standard.
Right?! I no longer have to be paranoid and super petty about google "collecting my data" hahaha. It's one of the main reasons that pushed me to buy one for myself. Was actually surprised Lenovo was the first to come up with such a feature, impressive!
I have the 10-inch model which I purchased at Costco for $200. In addition to other cool features, I especially like the photo slideshow in ambient mode and listening to music. I love this device and feel that it is well worth the $200.
Great review guys!
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