Smart Displays are coming first from JBL, Lenovo, LG, and Sony.
One of the big trends from CES 2018 was Google’s response to the Amazon Echo Show. In 2017, Google matched the Amazon’s Echo Dot with the Google Home Mini, and this year it took aim at the Show with its new smart displays with Google Assistant built in.
Smart Displays are Google Assistant-powered speakers that also feature screens, and while we likely won’t see a Google Home-branded one until later in the fall, there are already four companies that have announced Smart Displays of their own. Let’s take a look at what we know so far.
Lenovo Smart Display
The first of these gadgets announced was the Lenovo Smart Display. You’ll be able to get Lenovo’s Smart Display with either an 8-inch or 10-inch display, and while the 8-inch model opts for a traditional plastic back, the 10-inch unit has a gorgeous bamboo one.
Both models have an odd wedge on the back, and this allows you to position the Lenovo Smart Display either vertically or horizontally. There are buttons for adjusting speaker volume, and there’s even a switch that places a physical lens cover over the front-facing camera that’s used for video calls.
Lenovo will sell the 8-inch Smart Display for $199, and upgrading to the larger 10-inch one will cost you $249. It’s on sale starting July 27.
JBL Link View
JBL’s Smart Display goes by the name of the Link View, and while it serves the same general purpose as the Lenovo Smart Display, its design is quite a bit different. JBL has only announced one version of the Link View so far, and it comes with an 8-inch screen. There’s a 5MP camera above it and a JBL logo at the bottom and both the left and right side are flanked by two 10W stereo speakers that are paired with a passive radiator on the back to enable "rich, deep bass."
The body as a whole favors an oval shape versus the rectangular nature of the Lenovo Smart Display, and while you won’t find any bamboo back here, it’s arguably the sleeker of the two thanks to the all-black paint job. Along with this, there’s also support for Bluetooth, Google Cast, and IPX4 splash resistance.
Pricing details have yet to be announced, but JBL says the Link View will be available at some point this summer.
LG ThingQ View WK9
LG’s first foray into the world of Smart Displays comes in the form of the LG ThinQ View WK9, and while we’ll have to get hands-on time with the device before we can make any final judgments, it currently looks like the most underwhelming of the Smart Displays we’ve seen so far.
The large, boxy design looks boring and not all that aesthetically pleasing, and while the 8-inch touchscreen display itself should be fine, the fact that there’s no tilt to it like there is on Lenovo and JBL’s options could make for some difficult viewing angles.
Speaker tuning from Meridian Audio still has us interested, however, and this paired with the two front-facing stereo speakers will likely create a solid audio experience. Similar to the other Smart Displays on this list, you’ll also find Chromecast support.
LG simply says that the WK9 is "coming soon" with a hefty price of $299.99.
Sony’s yet-to-be-announced Smart Display
Google confirmed that Sony will be releasing a Smart Display, but a month on from CES and we still know literally nothing about it. Neither specs or renders for the speaker have been released, and as such, there’s not a whole lot we can say about it right now.
As soon as details are released, we’ll be sure to share them with you!
Updated July 2018: Added the latest information available.
July 26, 2018 at 06:19AM