What makes the best smart displays different from average smart speakers? They all have a screen of course, making them look like a tablet attached to a speaker and the perfect for a kitchen counter or bedside table.
When you place a smart display in a clear line of sight, you can use it to help you out with recipes in the kitchen, drop in on your security cameras, control the best smart home devices, host video chats, watch videos, and more.
Unlike some of the best smart speakers that work with both Alexa and Google Assistant, all the top smart displays only work with a single assistant. The Echo Show smart display experience is powered by Amazon Alexa, while Nest Hub devices run Google Assistant. Third-party smart displays from Lenovo borrow Google Assistant too.
Meta (formerly Facebook) also has a line of Portal smart displays. In other words, there are plenty of options on the market to choose from. See all the best smart displays we’ve tested below.
What are the best smart displays?
The best smart display overall is the $99 Google Nest Hub (2nd Gen). Like all of Google’s smart displays, the latest Nest Hub has an intuitive, user-friendly interface, making it easy to navigate all your Google services in one space. In addition to helping you control the best Google Home compatible devices, the second-gen Nest Hub can give you certain health insights, too. With a built-in sleep tracking sensor, this smart display can tell you how well (or not) you’re resting overnight.
But the Nest Hub (2nd Gen) doesn’t have a camera, and that could be a deal-breaker. Instead, if you want to be able to use the best video chat apps from your smart display, you’ll want to consider the $229 Google Nest Hub Max or one of the several Echo Show options. Our favorite Alexa smart display is the Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen), but the lineup ranges from 5-inch to 15-inch screens. All can play music, control the best Alexa compatible devices and steam shows on Amazon Prime Video.
We also recommend the $89 Lenovo Smart Clock 2 with Google Assistant. Perfect for a nightstand, the Lenovo Smart Clock 2’s biggest asset is a versatile base with a night light and wireless phone charger. It doesn’t have a camera, but can give you a glimpse of your Google Calendar, smart home notifications and more.
The $99 Google Nest Hub (2nd Gen) is a speaker for music, screen for the best Google Assistant commands and a communication center. And it’s the only smart display that tracks your sleep, too. When positioned on your nightstand, the upgraded Google Nest Hub uses the Soli radar sensing chip to see how you’re sleeping at night. It’s a little creepy, but the contactless tracking abilities will let you forget it’s there.
Soli’s superpowers also enable air gestures, letting you pause and play YouTube videos or snooze an alarm. These gestures don’t work all the time, but are useful when they do. As for sound, we’d consider it one of the best Google Home speakers in terms of audio quality, delivering a significant improvement over the first-generation Google Nest Hub. However, it lacks a camera, so it’s not the best smart speaker if you want to make video calls.
Read our full Google Nest Hub (2nd Gen) review.
The Echo Show’s 10-inch display is the best smart speaker for taking advantage of the best Alexa skills. This display is the same size and resolution (1280 x 800) as previous models, but the Echo Show 10 has a special trait: the screen rotates so that you’re always the center of its attention. It also has a digital pan-and zoom; this way when you know how to make a video call using the Echo Show, the 13MP camera will keep you in frame as you’re bouncing around the kitchen or managing multiple people in a single household.
This might sound a little creepy, but our experience felt more intuitive than we expected. It’s not following you all the time — just when you use your assistant’s wake word. The large display also acts like a hub for your collection of smart home devices, so you can control them easily on a single interface.
Read our full Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd gen) review.
Although the Echo Show 10 might be the best smart display with Alexa we’ve ever tested, it costs $249. For half the price, the Amazon Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen) now has the same camera and Alexa features. It’s compact design makes it more counter-friendly, too. If you know how to use Alexa, you’ll have no trouble making the most of this display.
The Echo Show 8 delivers visuals and audio far better than its price would suggest. And, for the same price as the first version, the new Echo Show 8 has an upgraded 13-megapixel camera for higher-quality video chats. It also adopted the digital pan-and-zoom abilities of the Show 10. While the display can’t physically rotate to keep you in frame, the new wide-angle lens can center you like the Google Nest Hub Max and the Facebook Portal can.
Read our full Amazon Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen) review.
The Google Nest Hub Max is not just one of the best smart displays but it’s also a great-sounding smart speaker — it has two 18-millimeter, 10-Watt tweeters and one 75-millimeter, 30-Watt woofer. When it comes to the display, touch controls or hands-free with voice commands will let you follow step-by-step recipes, control your smart home devices, and get a glimpse at how long your commute will be each morning. You can watch Netflix on the Google Nest Hub Max and actually see what’s happening, too.
You can use the Nest Hub Max’s camera to make video calls, with a clever motion-tracking feature that will keep you in the center of the frame as you move about a room. It’s a game-changer when you’re in the kitchen prepping food, and can’t stay still in front of the display. We wish the camera had a physical privacy switch like the mechanism on the Echo Show displays, though.
Read our full Google Nest Hub Max review.
The Amazon Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen) is a small smart display you can use to make calls and video chat, browse recipes, watch videos, check the feeds from your security camera, dim your lights and more.
Due to its small size, it looks and feels a bit more like the Amazon Echo Dot with Clock than a full-sized smart display. It also isn’t much of an upgrade compared to the original. But if you find yourself smitten with the Echo Show 5’s adorably compact design, and like the idea of being able to ring up loved ones before you go to sleep, the smart display is worth considering. Not to mention, the Kids Edition is a strong sell, providing a stationary Amazon Fire tablet alternative that doesn’t need to be recharged all the time. And that comes with warranty.
Read our full Amazon Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen) review.
The $249 Amazon Echo Show 15 is the best smart display designed to be mounted on your wall. Unlike the other Echo Show devices, this one acts more like a smart home control center than a speaker, prioritizing screen size and interface over audio and video quality.
When placed in a high-traffic area in your home, the Echo Show 15 provides a digital destination for family members to interact, leave notes for each other, and more. Each family member can set up their own profile with a visual ID, so when they walk by, they’ll see customized communication options and information relevant to their day. This smart display also introduces widgets like sticky notes, to-do lists and dedicated smart home controls, letting you open a feed from your Ring doorbell easily, for example. However, in the six months since it launched, the number of widgets available for the Echo Show 15 remains virtually unchanged; Amazon is wasting an opportunity.
It also lacks the more advanced camera tracking found in the Echo Show 10, and its speakers are on the weak side. However, the Echo Show 15 is getting a big upgrade in the coming months, where it will become a full-fledged Fire TV device, and gain a few other features, too.
Read our full Amazon Echo Show 15 review.
The Lenovo Smart Clock 2 isn’t Lenovo’s first Google Assistant smart display, but it’s the company’s best smart display for nightstands with a highly compact design and an appealing base accessory. The clock doubles as a nightlight and wireless phone charger, and it has a USB-A port, making it the only piece of tech you need by your bedside.
It’s not as sophisticated as some of the other smart displays on this list, with no cameras for video calls and a small interface dedicated mostly to showing photos or the time. But in the case of the Lenovo Smart Clock 2, less is more. Thanks to a simple-yet-modern design, this smart display can even pass for decor. The alarm clock needn’t be sophisticated — what more does someone need than to see the time and be alerted when to wake?
Despite the company facing numerous privacy scandals in recent years, Facebook (now called Meta) sells a compelling smart display. The $179 Facebook Portal looks more like one of the best digital picture frames than the Echo Show or Nest Hub displays, complete with a matte border and option to rotate the orientation.
When you’re video chatting with WhatsApp, Messenger, Zoom and more, the Portal tracks your face and digitally pans its camera so that you remain in the center of the frame as much as possible. As for voice controls, you have two options: Facebook’s “Hey Portal” and Amazon’s Alexa. We’re in favor of Alexa, since there are far more Alexa tricks and easter eggs than Portal skills. Stil, if you’re a frequent Facebook – err, Meta – user, you’ll get more miles out of Portal than any other Alexa (or Google Assistant) smart display.
Read our full Facebook Portal (2nd Gen) review.
How to choose the best smart display for you
The best smart display for you depends on your needs. Do you want a kitchen assistant that can walk you step-by-step through recipes, or something that replaces your alarm clock? Are you searching for a display to keep your family organized, or do you just want a way to start video calls using your voice?
If you want a “starter” smart display, one of the more affordable options like the Google Nest Hub or Echo Show 8 are best. They’re usually easy to set up, and come with all the skills you need to stay entertained and connected. Mountable smart displays are more permanent, while the Echo Show 10 and Nest Hub Max options are pricey, so you’ll want to know you have a use for smart displays before making a large investment or putting nails in your wall.
How we test the best smart displays
We rate the best smart displays based on ease of setup, performance, voice assistant features, speaker quality and value. When the smart displays have a camera for video calls, we review the camera quality. We see how well each display’s auto-framing abilities work as well.
Keeping our smart home guide in mind, we also consider how the best smart displays fit in with the rest of the smart home devices you might own. Amazon Echo Show smart displays play particularly nice with Ring video doorbells, since Amazon owns Ring. The same can be said for Nest doorbells and Nest Hub displays.