Lenovo will start shipping the first Google Assistant smart display this weekend, marking the birth of a new range of products that could eventually include some of Echo Show's staunchest rivals. Similar to what Echo Show does, Google's smart displays will give you a way to interact with the tech giant's voice assistant in a visual way. We first met the new devices at CES this year, where we were impressed with their ability to instantly display maps and send them to your phone when you ask for directions. Certainly beats listening and trying to visualize them.
Here's another instance where a smart display can be much easier to use than a smart speaker: Assistant will also provide a step-by-step visual aid for recipes you look up that you can follow on screen. Plus, the device can present a visual summary of the weather, give you a way to create and manage to-do lists and show you audio tracks you can listen to instead of randomly playing a tune. If you're a visual person, this new category will definitely sound more enticing than smart speakers.
And what good is a Google display for if you can't play YouTube on it? You can ask Assistant to stream cooking videos, make-up tutorials and anything else you want to watch hands-free. If you've never subscribed to YouTube Premium in the past, you'll get three months free with your purchase. The display can also stream live or recorded YouTube TV shows, YouTube Music, HBO Now, Google Play Music, Spotify and Pandora. If you want to video call a friend on a screen bigger than your phone, simply invoke Duo on the device -- say "Hey Google, call [friend's name]." And in case you never had a Home speaker to begin with, you can use the display to listen to podcasts and audiobooks, as well.
Lenovo's Google-powered smart display will be available in two sizes and colors, though all of them come with a 10-watt speaker. The smaller 8-inch HD model will set you back $200, while the 10-inch full HD one will cost you $250. If they don't have the looks or the features that can convince you to shell out a couple of hundred bucks, you can always wait for the next models from Google's other partners, including JBL and LG. Make sure to check out our review to decide for yourself.