Top Smart Displays for 2024

Smart displays have evolved quite a bit since the initial debut of Amazon’s first Echo Show back in 2017. In fact, the category didn’t really come into its own until Google joined the fray with its own line of hardware about a year later. Now, both of these companies are essentially dominating the smart display landscape, with each offering their own take on a smart assistant with a screen.

It’s that screen that can make smart displays much more useful than smart speakers. Rather than just having a voice assistant recite the current weather report, for example, you can see a five-day forecast as well. The same goes for when you ask about your shopping list or calendar; it’s simply easier to read the whole list or your day’s appointments at a glance. Plus, touchscreens offer other benefits that speakers can’t, like watching videos or checking your webcam to see who’s at your front door. We’ve tested and used many smart displays over the years and below are a list of our top picks for the best smart displays you can get today.

Photo by Cherlynn Low / Engadget

Read our full Google Nest Hub (2nd gen) review

Our favorite smart display with the Google Assistant is the second-gen Google Nest Hub. Its 7-inch size is a good fit in many rooms, and its unobtrusive design combined with its soft fabric exterior blends nicely into most home decor. It does everything we think most people would want in a smart display, like play YouTube videos, display step-by-step cooking instructions, provide handy smart home controls and give users the ability to check in Nest security cameras if they have any.

In fact, the Nest Hub is especially useful as part of a security system if you have a Nest video doorbell, as the camera view of who’s at the front door will show up on the screen. An ambient light sensor helps to detect the light and color temperature of the environment and adjusts the screen to match. Plus, if you choose, it can help track your sleep patterns if placed next to your bed.

Another feature of the Nest Hub is actually a lack of one: It doesn’t have a camera. That gives it that additional layer of privacy that many people covet, and it’s also a lot more suitable for personal spaces like the bedroom. Sure, you could also cover up a camera with a shutter, but with the Nest Hub you don’t have to remember to do that.

We’d be remiss not to mention the Google Pixel Tablet here, since it’s a slab that can double as a smart display when you use it with its charging dock. The set costs $420 — not too bad since you’re getting two devices in one, but it’s expensive if you’re just looking for a smart display. If that sounds like you, you’ll be better off with the Nest Hub (and pocketing the extra cash).

Pros

  • Improved audio quality
  • Speedier performance when processing voice requests
  • Easy to use on-screen interface
  • Improved Google Assistant features
Cons

  • Sleep Sensing is a little iffy

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