Lenovo Smart Display 7 REVIEW
Lenovo Smart Display 7 REVIEW
Here’s a device that Android and Google Assistant users will love. PAT PILCHER details the new Lenovo Smart Display 7.
I’ve been a Google Assistant user for years by virtue of it being baked into most of the Android smartphones I’ve owned or reviewed. I’ve also got the Nest Mini set up at home, and now it is joined by Lenovo’s 7-inch smart display, which despite its smaller size is bulging with features. Being a 7-inch display also means that it is compact enough to sit in my kitchen without taking up too much of the already scarce space.
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I’ve long been an Amazon Echo user, so I was curious to see how the Lenovo Smart Display compared to the Echo Show I have had in my kitchen over the last few years. Being a Google device, it can use its screen to display my snaps stored on Google Photos, making it an ultra-versatile digital photo frame.
It is capable of much more though. In use, I found it came in handy for a range of chores from streaming Bon Appetite recipe videos on YouTube through to setting timers, dimming lights, playing music and making video calls via Google Duo.
Design-wise, the Lenovo 7-inch Smart Display sports compact wedge-like looks. Its screen sits atop of a grey cloth-covered speaker grille, and the audio quality is acceptable. While it can crank out a surprisingly decent amount of volume, it won’t shake any ceiling plaster loose or annoy my long-suffering neighbours. As a smart hub, it’s plenty fine for catching the news, watching some YouTube, setting timers and so on.
Its display has a 1024 by 600 resolution and is bright and crisp. Photos look sharp. It also proved responsive as a touch screen. Swiping through apps and cards was a smooth and lag-free process.
One particularly nice touch is the use of an RGB sensor, which determines what the lighting conditions are. It also adjusts the display’s colour temperature to warmer or cooler depending on what the sensor sees. Located in the middle of the upper screen bezel is a 2MP wide-angle camera.
Lenovo also built in a privacy shutter that gives those worried about Google or hackers spying on them a little peace of mind. Along with the shutter switch, there’s also mic mute and volume controls. It also comes equipped with dual-array microphones. These can pick up the “Hey Google” wake word from across the room with no trouble at all.
Packing the Google Assistant means you get access to all the good stuff you’d expect from your phone but on a larger touch-screen. Information is served up on what Google calls ‘Cards’. These can include Google News, Google Maps, Podcasts, YouTube and search results.
Compared to Alexa, the Google Assistant has some definite pros and cons. First and foremost, it’s a tad smarter than Alexa. For a start, the Google Assistant gets context. I can ask about the weather forecast for the morning and then say, “What about the afternoon”, and she gets it.
Alexa, on the other hand, does a virtual shrug and doesn’t know. Then there’s the real-world information that Google has access to. I could, for instance, ask, “Okay Google, what does my commute to work look like?” to get a real-time report on traffic between my home and Witchdoctor towers.
A downside though, is integration with smart home stuff. Amazon has invested a considerable amount of time and effort into courting smart gadget makers to bake Alexa support into their gear. While the Google Assistant supports most of the smart-home gear that Alexa does, some refused to work.
My Sonos One speaker, several cameras and a few other devices were not detected or controllable. Because of this, we recommend you check for compatibility before buying.
Another handy use for the Smart Display was as a video phone. While I’ve not used Google Duo often in the past, the Smart Display makes it a compelling option. By simply saying, “Hey Google, video call [friend’s name],” a duo video call was initiated. Because most people I know are Android users, they’re already Google Duo equipped, which makes video calling a breeze.
For Android users who are on the hunt for a smart speaker/display, the Lenovo Smart Display 7 is a good bet. It’s reasonably priced, pleasingly designed and its versatility versatility will see it becoming a regular part of the daily routine.