lenovo smart display versus google home hub
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While Google Assistant smart displays options are still quite limited, there’s already a model for nearly every user. The first option was that of the Lenovo Smart Display. Though now, everything is compared to the Google Home Hub that undercut the pricing of everyone else. For Black Friday, however, the Home Hub and smaller Lenovo Smart Display have the same price tag, and I think Lenovo’s might be a better buy. Here’s why.

What the Lenovo Smart Display 8-inch does better

– Sound Quality

The biggest win in my opinion when comparing the Google Home Hub to the Lenovo Smart Display is the sound quality. Despite the 8-inch model’s smaller size compared to the larger 10-inch we reviewed over the Summer, the sound quality is still solid. I think bass is slightly exaggerated, but the front-firing driver puts out sound that is full and loud.

Considering I keep this model in my kitchen, that’s perfect whenever cooking gets loud. The Google Home Hub still packs a punch in audio, but it’s just not the same, especially since those speakers don’t face towards you. Lenovo has a clear advantage in this department.

– Camera for Duo calls

While this may be a pro or a con depending on your outlook, from a pure features standpoint one thing you’ll get from the Lenovo Smart Display that you won’t get on the Home Hub is a camera. Google’s smart display OS enables users to make Duo calls, and on Home Hub, they’re audio only. While personally I still don’t love making video calls on this sort of form factor, it’s something that proves handy to have around. Plus, if privacy is of concern to you, there’s a switch to physically cover the camera.

– A slightly bigger, sharper display for video content

Part of the appeal of both the 8-inch Lenovo Smart Display and the Google Home Hub is the size, but I’ve often found that I enjoy video content more on Lenovo’s option. This is partly because of the size of Lenovo’s option which is an inch larger compared to Google’s, but it’s also sharper. While the Home Hub has a measly 1024×600 resolution, the Lenovo display clocks in with a sharper 1280×800 panel. It’s not exactly what you’d get on a TV, but it’s a noticeable difference when watching video especially.

What you’ll lose out on compared to a Google Home Hub

– A more compact footprint

Like I previously mentioned, one big reason to buy the Home Hub and the 8-inch version of the Lenovo Smart Display is size. Not everyone can fit a big display on their countertop, and I’m certainly one of those. The size on either of these two products is slim, but on the Home Hub, the overall footprint is smaller. If you’ve got a tight workspace, that might make the decision for you.

– Quicker feature updates

Unfortunately, not all Assistant smart displays are created equally. The Google Home Hub may have the same interface, but it actually runs an entirely different operating system and that means there will be a gap between when certain features hit the Hub versus alternatives. We’ve already seen an example of this with “Home View”, which is rolling out, but still not available for many users. Meanwhile, the Home Hub ships with this feature out of the box.

– Ambient EQ

Personally, my favorite part of the Google Home Hub is the addition of Ambient EQ. This takes auto-brightness and turns the dial up to 11. Not only will the display adjust to the brightness of a room, but it also changes the color tone too. It seems minor, but it makes the Home Hub fade into the background so much more easily. The Lenovo Smart Display, meanwhile, can only adjust its brightness.

Where to buy

For Black Friday, the Google Home Hub and the 8-inch Lenovo Smart Display are both going to cost the same $99 at various retailers. On any other day, I’d always recommend a Home Hub, but considering these will have the same exact price, I personally lean more towards the Lenovo Smart Display. It’s got more features for the same cost, and to me, is just a no-brainer at the end of the day. Links are available below to order either product. Keep in mind that not all retailers may reflect the changed prices until later this week.

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Lenovo Smart Display (8-inch)

Google Home Hub

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Ben Schoon

Ben is a writer and video producer for 9to5Google.

Find him on Twitter @NexusBen. Send tips to schoon@9to5g.com or encrypted to benschoon@protonmail.com.