Started by Amazon with its Echo devices that use its Alexa voice assistant, the war of the digital assistants is in full effect. Now, it's onto third-party OEMs to create their own devices that use Alexa, Google's Assistant, Microsoft's Cortana, or something else.
But when it comes to third-party hardware, Lenovo is hedging its bets. Last year, it introduced the Smart Assistant, which uses Alexa. This year, however, it launched the Smart Display, which uses Google Assistant. And it has a unique quality, which is that it has a screen.
Google doesn't make a first-party device like this, so this is new. And the product is pretty good, as I've been using it for about a week at this point.
As tends to be the case with digital assistants, it helps if you're invested in the ecosystem. I use Gmail, Google Calendar, and I'm subscribed to Play Music, so this device works for me. Unfortunately, Assistant can't show me my Gmail yet, but it's cool that it can show me my calendar. Along with that, the Smart Display can be used to watch videos from YouTube.
Another thing that's pretty cool is that not only can you use it to display recipes, but it will actually walk you through the steps of making a dish. This makes the Smart Display particularly useful in the kitchen. Of course, you can also have it show you news, weather, and more, and the display adds another dimension to the Assistant, as it's no longer just audio.
The Lenovo Smart Display comes in two sizes: 8- and 10-inch, the latter of which was sent to me by the company. They're priced at $199 and $249, respectively, and they're available today.
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