Smart home tech is getting more exciting with every single day that passes. We’ve got all the info you need to stay in the know and help you buy the gadgets that are right for you.

Amazon Echo Show (2nd Gen)

Multimedia champ

$ 230 at Amazon

Pros

  • Gorgeous 10.1-inch HD screen
  • Impressive sound quality
  • Zigbee range extender
  • All the power of Alexa

Cons

  • Most expensive of the two
  • Only available in one size

For buyers invested in the Alexa ecosystem, the Echo Show (2nd Gen) is the clear winner. It has a great screen, some of the best speakers in this form factor, and even supports video apps like Hulu. We just wish it cost a little less.

Lenovo Smart Display

Great kitchen display

$ 200 – $ 250 at B&H

Pros

  • Available in two sizes
  • Loud speakers
  • Software keeps getting better

Cons

  • Doesn’t sound as good
  • No support for Netflix or Hulu

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Lenovo Smart Display works beautifully in Google Assistant homes. The two size options make it a lot more accessible, the speakers are plenty loud, and Google’s software approach is currently our favorite.

While you can’t go wrong with either of these gadgets, each one has its clear advantages. The Echo Show (2nd Gen) is the better multimedia device thanks to its superior speakers and Hulu support, but the Lenovo Smart Display is more affordable and often serves as a better smart home hub.

Which of these displays should you buy?

I’ll say right off the bat that both the Echo Show (2nd Gen) and Lenovo Smart Display will serve you quite well no matter which one you decide to buy. Amazon and Lenovo have crafted two really great products here, and for a closer look at either of them, I highly recommend checking out both of our full reviews (links here and here).

With that said, there are a few key differences that make them stand apart from one another — the most obvious being the platforms that they use. If you already have other Alexa-powered speakers in your home, the Echo Show just makes sense. It can be paired with them for multi-room audio groups, it works with all the same commands, and is controlled through the same app on your phone. On the flip side, the same is true for the Lenovo Smart Display if you prefer Google Assistant speakers.

That may settle your buying decision right there, but if this is your first time getting a smart speaker or display, there are a few more minute details you should be aware of.

The Echo Show is the best pick if you’ll be watching a lot of TV shows and listening to a lot of music.

For starters, the Echo Show is our preferred device of the two for consuming media. Its 10.1-inch, 1280×800 HD screen looks fantastic and the two 10W speakers with Dolby processing are insanely good. Bass is powerful, volume levels get loud, and everything from music to movies is a joy to listen to. There’s support for about every music service you could ask for, and when it comes to video content, we think a lot of people will prefer the Echo Show’s support for Hulu over YouTube TV on the Lenovo Smart Display.

Unfortunately, that does come with a big caveat. While you can technically watch YouTube videos on the Echo Show, you’ll need to do so by using the built-in web browser. You can’t just use your voice to find the latest video from your favorite content creators the way you can on the Lenovo option, and for hardcore YouTube users, that could prove to be a big pain point.

Something else that can be irritating on the Echo Show is its software experience. All of the Alexa commands and Skills work just like you’d expect them to, but that large display can often feel underused. Some Skills just don’t do anything on it, and when it comes to things like controlling smart home devices, you’ll need to rely on your voice rather than basic touch controls. These things can be addressed with future updates, and we really hope that happens in the near future.

Moving over to the Lenovo Smart Display, this is a device that we’ve found to be perfect for the kitchen. Both the 8-inch and 10-inch models can be a little on the bulky side for use in the bedroom or on a small table, but in the kitchen, it’s almost perfect.

The speakers don’t sound as good as they do on the Echo Show, but they are more than loud enough for hearing whatever it is you’re listening to over a running dishwasher, sizzling steak, or anything else. The plastic and bamboo design holds up well to splashes and other cooking debris, and when it comes to finding and following recipes, Google’s presentation here is definitely our favorite.

Home View, a feature that was recently added to the Lenovo Smart Display, is another neat trick that allows you to swipe down from the top of the screen to easily access any and all of your smart home tech. Turning on light bulbs and adjusting your thermostat are just a couple taps away, and for those times when you don’t want to use your voice, this is a really nice option to have.

You can also tap on the screen to see a quick rundown of the weather, upcoming calendar appointments, news, and more, swipe up to change the brightness and volume, and swipe left and right to cycle through your Google Photos pictures that are showcased. The whole UI feels a lot more optimized for both touch and voice input, and in day-to-day use, that’s a big plus.

Last but not least, there’s also the matter of cost. The Lenovo Smart Display is the most accessible of the two with its 8-inch model coming in at just $ 200 and the 10-inch version going for a premium of $ 250. With the Echo Show, you have just one size that costs $ 230.

Amazon Echo Show (2nd Gen)

Multimedia champ

$ 230 at Amazon

A powerful display that looks and sounds great

The Echo Show (2nd Gen) improves upon its predecessor in nearly every way. The screen is large and vibrant, the speakers sound amazing, and it just looks really good. The software is improving, but there’s still plenty of room to get even better.

Lenovo Smart Display

Great kitchen display

Your smart home’s new best friend

$ 200 – $ 250 at B&H

Whether you’re invested in Google Assistant speakers or just getting started with them, the Lenovo Smart Display is a great fit for any home. It’s stylish, has loud speakers, and a software experience that’s designed to genuinely make your life easier.

« »