The best smart displays for 2021

Smart displays let you control your smart devices from the convenience of a central location, and they can sometimes include cameras and controls that you can use for video chatting, home monitoring, and other purposes. The best smart displays work best with similarly branded smart devices, but connect to many different branded appliances, such as kitchen appliances, cameras, light switches, vacuums, and thermostats. Here are the best smart displays for 2021.

at a glance

    • Best Amazon Echo Smart Display: Echo Show 10 (3rd Generation)
    • Best Google Assistant Display: Google Nest Hub Max
    • Best no-camera display: Google Nest Hub 2
    • Best for your bedroom: Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen)
    • Best budget smart display: Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen)
    • Best Video Call Smart Display: Facebook Portal
    • Best alarm clock replacement: Lenovo Smart Clock

Best: Echo Show 10 3rd Generation

Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen side)
John Velasco / Nerdshala

Why we picked the Echo Show 3:

The Echo Show 3 sports a larger 10.1-inch display like its predecessor, and features a new design that allows the screen to rotate. The screen moves with you across the room as you video chat, watch shows, or interact with Alexa. The camera in latest Show 10 is much better with 13 MP to get a full and clear picture for your video chatting and home monitoring. You can view your home while you’re away via the built-in camera and the Alexa app, so the device basically acts as a home security camera.

Like all Echo devices, the Show 3 uses Amazon’s Alexa to control smart devices, ask questions, capture news, and make video calls. Alexa has excellent smart home compatibility with many different devices and easily connects to Amazon Music and Prime Video (though Hulu and several additional music services are also available). The device also has a built-in Zigbee Smart Home Hub.

what’s that for: Those who want a high-end performance with a focus on sound quality and home security. The Show 3 has dual 1-inch tweeters and 3-inch woofers, and the sound is powerful enough to travel throughout the house. The show works well with other Echo devices, and it serves as an excellent second TV in a den, kitchen, or other room of the house, with connections to both Prime Video and Hulu, among other video options. can work. The Show 3’s 10.1-inch display is ideal for capturing details, while audio saw a massive improvement for this generation.

Read our full Echo Show 3 review

Best Google Assistant smart display: Google Nest Hub Max

nest hub max
John Velasco/Nerdshala

Why we picked the Google Nest Hub Max:

Sure, the Nest Hub Max has a bigger screen than the original Nest Hub, but it also offers a lot more features and functionality in addition to its stunning HD screen. It has a 6.5-inch megapixel camera with auto-framing, so you can make video calls, and the camera will follow you as you move around the room.

Face-match technology allows for a more personalized experience. When the Hub recognizes your face, it can show you content specific to you (video messages, reminders and upcoming calendar events, etc.). Up to six users can save a face matching profile. The Nest Hub Max also allows for quick gesture controls, so you can use hand gestures to control certain actions (like pausing or playing a music track).

The Hub Max has a Nest Cam built-in. You can use the Nest Cam to check in at your home while you’re away, though some of the more advanced features require a Nest Aware subscription.

what’s that for: Those who want a feature-rich display that serves as many as multiple functions. google nest hub max There’s a versatile tool that does it all… well almost. It doesn’t have a built-in Zigbee hub, so if that’s important to you, you might want to consider another option like the Echo Show 2.

Read our Google Nest Hub Max review

No-Camera Display: Google Nest Hub 2

Google Nest Hub 2nd Gen on the Table
John Velasco / Nerdshala

Why we picked the Nest Hub 2nd Gen:

Google’s Nest Hub smart display is one of the few that lacks a camera for video chatting, so you can only make voice calls using the device. Like the original Nest Hub, the Nest Hub 2 doesn’t have a camera, but it does have a 7-inch touchscreen that lets you interact better with Google Assistant. You can view recipes, watch shows, view song lyrics, view devices in your smart home, and more.

A second-gen model was added to the Soli radar for motion sensing, which allows the Hub to demonstrate a feature called “sleep sensing”. This means that the Hub can collect sleep data and make suggestions on how to sleep better. Our review found this feature to be surprisingly accurate, with a dashboard that displays accurate data on how long it takes, respiratory rate information, and how long it takes to get out of bed.

what’s that for: People who use Google Assistant and want to view information on their smart display, but don’t mind if their device lacks a camera. It’s a great display for looking up recipes in the kitchen or checking your calendar with voice commands, so it’s ideal for the kitchen or as a bedside companion.

Read our full Nest Hub 2nd Gen review

Best for your bedroom: Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen)

Amazon Echo Show 8 2021 Pan and Zoom Camera
John Velasco / Nerdshala

Why we chose Amazon Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen):

The Echo Show 8 is a smaller Echo model designed to be a perfect fit for the bedroom. You get most of the Echo Show features with an 8-inch HD screen, including smart home controls, links to your Amazon Photos connection, a customizable home screen when you first wake up, and the ability to set up routines for you. Connected smart devices (among other Alexa talents). You can also link to a baby monitor cam or security cam to see what’s happening in other areas of the house, which is very handy if you have the right equipment. The 2021 model allows you to remotely view the Show 8’s camera feed from the Alexa app, so you can check in at your home without a separate security camera.

The 2nd-Gen Show 8 packs a 13MP camera, two-inch dual speakers, and a microphone. These are great for calling friends and family. However, because this device is designed to be privacy-friendly, Amazon has also made sure that you can turn off the mic and camera for privacy if you wish. The Show 10 (2nd gen) camera pans, zooms and frames, giving you a better chatting experience than the previous model as you are always in the frame.

what’s that for: People who want a capable smart display for the bedroom or kitchen with an advanced camera with remote viewing and auto framing – but always want their privacy guaranteed when using such devices.

Read our Echo Show 8 (2nd Generation) review

Best budget smart display: Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen)

New Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen, 2021 release)

Why we picked the Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen):

The Echo Show 5 is very small, with only a 5.5-inch screen. However, The Show 5 has a lot to offer in a small package. You can do basic tasks with most smart displays – make video calls, control your smart home devices, watch videos, and ask helpful questions. But, the Show 5 is a budget display, so it only has a 2-megapixel camera and a 1.7-inch speaker. It also lacks the built-in ZigBee hub that you’ll find with the Echo Show 3. However, you can check in at your home using the Show 5’s camera via the Alexa app.

The Show 5 flourishes in terms of its privacy features. It has a slider you can use to physically block the camera. You can also take advantage of new Alexa privacy features, like the ability to erase your recordings for the day.

what’s that for: The Echo Show 5 device is ideal for those who want a voice-assistant-powered device with a display screen but don’t want to spend a lot of cash. This is the ideal starter smart display.

Best Video Call Smart Display: Facebook Portal

Facebook Portal 10-inch 2019 AR
John Velasco / Nerdshala

Why we chose Facebook Portal (2019):

Facebook Portal is great for video calls – and it works smoothly through Messenger and WhatsApp too, adding some versatility to a Facebook-dominated display. Earlier versions of Portal were… well, scary, but this 10-inch model replaces the old design with a more friendly portrait-like display that works great for showing off your Facebook or Instagram photos when You are not making video calls. .

Smart call options, fortunately, still exist, including a camera that can pan and zoom as it follows you around the room. Alexa’s voice command technology allows you to search the Internet or start a video call with a simple command. Other smart display features are here too, including the ability to play music or watch online videos, but again everything is highly Facebook-focused. This means that your investment in Facebook connections really pays off, but incorporating Facebook into your communications may annoy some.

what’s that for: People who use Facebook family apps and want an easy way to video call their family and friends will love this Facebook Portal.

Read our full Facebook Portal 2019 review

Best alarm clock replacement: Lenovo Smart Clock

Why we picked Lenovo Smart Clock:

Lenovo’s latest smart display is specially designed to operate as an alarm clock. The 4-inch touchscreen is packed with several different customizable watch faces – and, with the power of Google Assistant, it can even search the web and play videos. Access to Google Assistant’s capabilities also means you can control other smart devices and set up morning routines for news, coffee, and more. There’s even a USB port so you can charge your smartphone while you sleep.

As well as being nice, these features are also supported at a very affordable price, making it a great option for someone who seriously wants a smart upgrade for their alarm clock, but also wants to make a difference in other household items. Not ready to bring smart display in parts.

what’s that for: lenovo smart clock Google Assistant is for fans who want a touchscreen alarm clock that can…

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