The Best Smart Displays of 2020

Table of Contents

So you want a TV, a speaker, and a voice assistant rolled into one. In the year 2020, that probably means you’ll buy a smart display, a device with a screen and speakers that has a voice assistant built-in. Not only can you use this device to ask questions, watch movies and TV shows, listen to music, audiobooks and podcasts, and a ton of other capabilities, it will also connect all of your Internet of Things devices to each other.

What does that mean for you? Well, it means you can start to create triggers and automate actions, like having your lights turn off when your security system is disarmed, meaning you’re home. Overall, a smart display is a great first step to take to make your life a whole lot more convenient, but which one is right for you? Enjoy my best smart displays review below to find out!

Google Nest Hub Max
Google Nest Hub Max
Google Nest Hub Max
Google Nest Hub Max

With Google Assistant and built-in Chromecast, this 10 inch touchscreen display gives you access to Youtube, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and many other great apps you know and love. 

Doesn't expire

Echo Show 8
Echo Show 8
Echo Show 8
Echo Show 8

If you want a larger smart display that works with Amazon and Alexa, the Echo Show 8 is a great option. 

Doesn't expire

Echo Show
Echo Show
Echo Show
Echo Show

Shop on Amazon, listen to music on Spotify, and access over 50,000 Alexa skills with this 10 inch display. 

Doesn't expire

Google Nest Hub Max

Watching Youtube on the Nest Hub Max

Google Nest Hub Max

Google has really hit it out of the park with their largest touchscreen display, the Google Nest Hub Max. Aside from having access to over 4,000 Google Assistant actions, the device itself is set up in ways that make your day-to-day more joyful and convenient. Take their Live Albums feature, for example. Using Google Photos, you can upload your favorite photos of your family and friends so that they automatically display on your Google Nest Hub Max. You can even ask the Google Assistant to show you specific pictures! But what really puts it over the edge is their Ambient EQ feature, which automatically scans a room for it’s colors and lights so that the photos displayed go with your decor and adjust to the room’s brightness. Aside from the Google Nest Hub Max being the smartest picture frame I’ve ever seen, it’s 6.5MP camera has facial recognition technology so that it automatically knows who you are, a process called Face Match. That means that you’ll only receive notifications that are relevant to you and your accounts, allowing multiple people to use the Google Nest Hub Max without issue. 

To learn more, read our full review of the Google Nest Hub Max

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Google Nest Hub Max
Google Nest Hub Max
Google Nest Hub Max

With Google Assistant and built-in Chromecast, this 10 inch touchscreen display gives you access to Youtube, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and many other great apps you know and love. 

Echo Show 8

The Headspace Action on the Echo Show 8

Echo Show 8

With an eight-inch touchscreen, hence the name, the Echo Show 8 comes in charcoal and white. Simply plug it in to access a ton of great features; basically, this thing is a smart speaker, TV, e-reader, and more, all built into one package. It comes equipped with two-inch speakers and two microphones so that you can video chat with friends, aside from watching movies and TV. 

As Alexa is the most used voice assistant, most connected devices will work with your Echo Show 8, from smart bulbs to smart plugs to video doorbells. Watch Hulu or Prime Video, order food from Seamless, or Skype with long-lost friends over Skype. With new skills being developed every single day, you’ll never run out of convenient and fun things to do on your Echo Show 8. 

Shop Amazon
Echo Show 8
Echo Show 8
Echo Show 8

If you want a larger smart display that works with Amazon and Alexa, the Echo Show 8 is a great option. 

Echo Show

Amazon Echo Show and Box

Echo Show

Available in charcoal or sandstone, the Echo Show combines movies, TV, music, podcasts, audiobooks, shopping, and oh yea, did I mention? With Alexa, the most popular voice assistant, the Echo Show provides over 50,000 skills in basically any area you can think of, from reading your daily schedule to updating you on the latest celebrity gossip (or news, if that’s what you’re into). With a 10 inch screen and Dolby processing, you can expect excellent video and audio qualities, plus, you can even video chat on the Echo Show’s 5MP camera. Sign me up! 

To learn more, read our full review of the Echo Show

Shop Amazon
Echo Show
Echo Show
Echo Show

Shop on Amazon, listen to music on Spotify, and access over 50,000 Alexa skills with this 10 inch display. 

Smart Display Methodology

Ring Stick Up Cam Battery Footage on Amazon Echo Show
Ring Stick Up Cam Battery Footage on Amazon Echo Show

Maybe you’re a more DIY type of person who wants to look for a smart display on your own— that’s great! Here are some things to look out for:

  • Color options: The majority of smart displays come in neutral colors like white, gray or black.
  • Dimensions: I’ve seen smart displays with screens from anywhere of five to ten inches.
  • Screen quality: You’ll also want to take the screen’s display quality into account, typically measured in pixels. Ideally, the screen has 1,280 by 800 pixels, as that seems to be an industry standard. Lesser quality screens will have around 960 by 480 pixels.
  • Camera quality: Camera quality is measured in megapixels, and can be anywhere from one to over six MP. This may or may not be super important to you, depending on how much you’re planning to video chat on your smart display.
  • Speaker quality: The best speakers have Dolby processing, which allows the device to use less data while delivering the highest-quality sound.
  • Microphone quality: Similarly, you should pay attention to the number and placement of microphones as well as the sound settings.
  • Skills or actions: Different voice assistants have different numbers of skills, if you’re using Alexa, or actions, if you’re using Google Assistant. Alexa has the most skills out of any voice assistant, as it is the most commonly used, with Google Assistant taking second place. Plus, different smart platforms use different apps. For example, on any Echo Show, the shopping app is Amazon, whereas Nest Hubs default to Google Express. Choose a smart platform that works with the apps you already love to use.

Recap of the Best Smart Displays of 2020

And that’s all you I have for the best smart displays of the year! If you have any questions, check out our list of FAQs below, or leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

FAQs

Which smart display is best?

My pick for the best smart display is the Echo Show. Available in charcoal or sandstone, the Echo Show combines movies, TV, music, podcasts, audiobooks, shopping, and oh yea, did I mention? With Alexa, the most popular voice assistant, the Echo Show provides over 50,000 skills in basically any area you can think of, from reading your daily schedule to updating you on the latest celebrity gossip (or news, if that’s what you’re into). With a 10 inch screen and Dolby processing, you can expect excellent video and audio qualities, plus, you can even video chat on the Echo Show’s 5MP camera.

Does Apple have a smart display?

As of November 2019, Apple does not have a smart display.

What can the Google smart display do?

Aside from having access to over 4,000 Google Assistant actions, the device itself is set up in ways that make your day-to-day more joyful and convenient. Take their Live Albums feature, for example. Using Google Photos, you can upload your favorite photos of your family and friends so that they automatically display on your Google Nest Hub Max. You can even ask the Google Assistant to show you specific pictures! But what really puts it over the edge is their Ambient EQ feature, which automatically scans a room for it’s colors and lights so that the photos displayed go with your decor and adjust to the room’s brightness. Aside from the Google Nest Hub Max being the smartest picture frame I’ve ever seen, it’s 6.5MP camera has facial recognition technology so that it automatically knows who you are, a process called Face Match. That means that you’ll only receive notifications that are relevant to you and your accounts, allowing multiple people to use the Google Nest Hub Max without issue.

Gabe Turner

Gabe Turner

Gabe Turner is an attorney and journalist with a passion for home tech and secure, efficient living. Since graduating from NYU Law, he has maintained a paradoxical existence of trying to live life adventurously while remaining staunchly risk-averse. He is torn by the dual desires of wanting to only be in Brooklyn writing about housing policy and smart home tech and aspiring to visit his friends scattered across the globe. Gabe believes that stable, safe communities are the cornerstone to a vibrant and healthy society, and it is this passion that brought him to contribute to Security Baron.