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Smart displays are pretty popular now — and the hype’s completely warranted. They’re extremely useful and are even considered essential in households with elders, people with disabilities and everyday home and apartment dwellers.
For apartment living specifically, investing in a smart display is a wise decision since it combines multiple devices/products into one compact and interactive device. This entire philosophy fully aligns with that of apartments — there’s not much space to work with, so multi-functional devices help you take up less space while actually doing more.
The best smart displays on the market play music, answer most questions you ask them, tell you the weather, stream series and movies, display camera footage and more.
Below, we’ve listed the six best smart displays that make apartment living so much easier and much more efficient. To make shopping for your needs even more seamless, we’ve separated them into defining categories:
- Best Overall: Google Nest Hub (2nd Gen) Smart Home Display With Google Assistant
- Most Affordable: Lenovo Smart Clock Essential With Alexa Built-In
- Best For Streaming: Google Nest Hub Max
- Best For Small Spaces: Amazon Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen, 2021 Release)
- Most Thoughtful Design: Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen)
- Top Wall-Mountable Pick: Amazon Echo Show 15
If you’re looking for the best of the best — a smart display that’s extremely compact and space-conscious with a sleek design and performs most major functions well, the Google Nest Hub (2nd Gen) Smart Home Display With Google Assistant is the one to buy.
The Lenovo Smart Clock Essential With Alexa Built-In is one of the best options that also doubles as a nightstand alarm clock. If you want a grand smart display that’s wall-mountable and displays art and photo slideshows, the Amazon Echo Show 15 is the best pick.
Check out all six options below in a bit more detail.
1. Best Overall: Google Nest Hub (2nd Gen) Smart Home Display With Google Assistant, $67-$89.99
This is one of my all-time favorites. The Google Nest Hub (2nd Gen) Smart Home Display has an edgeless glass display and works as a speaker for music and streaming. It’s also the only smart display that tracks your sleep. When positioned on your nightstand, the device uses the Soli radar sensing chip to monitor how you’re sleeping and shows you stats on how many hours you’re getting and how to improve over time.
It also responds to air gestures that let you pause and play YouTube videos or even snooze an alarm without actually touching the device.
In terms of sound quality, it ranks high on the list, especially given its size. There’s no distortion or muffled emissions. The only drawback of this smart display is that it doesn’t have a camera, so you won’t be able to make video calls. This, however, is a plus for some who prefer not to have a camera on a smart display, especially if they plan to place it in their bedroom or any other private area.
2. Most Affordable: Lenovo Smart Clock Essential With Alexa Built-In, $69.99
Not all smart displays are expensive — but most are. The best-selling Lenovo Smart Clock Essential With Alexa Built-In is one of the most affordable on the market and has a compact, more laid-back design and aesthetic that blends in easily.
It’s one of Lenovo’s best smart displays for nightstands, specifically. The large, high-contrast LED display shows the weather, humidity and temperature outside, beside the time. If you don’t have time to look, just ask Alexa. The virtual assistant sets timers, alarms and reminders, fills your Amazon shopping cart and more.
The Lenovo Smart Clock Essential also doubles as a smart speaker, allowing you to stream songs from your favorite platforms. It also lets you control home devices set up in your apartment, like lights, plugs, thermostats and more.
3. Best For Streaming: Google Nest Hub Max, $149-164.99
Consider this to be the older, more advanced sibling to the Google Nest Hub (2nd Gen). One area where it shines best, arguably more than any other smart display, is with its smart speaker. It has two 18-millimeter, 10-watt tweeters and one 75-millimeter, 30-watt woofer. All in all, this one’s a monster with the sound — so much so that you’ll be able to hear it from across your apartment.
Also, since it has a large 10-inch display, it’s perfect for streaming movies or TV shows from your nightstand while you’re lying in bed or from your kitchen counter while you cook. Speaking of cooking, this is also the perfect smart display for following step-by-step recipes since the display shows you everything you need at once.
Unlike the Google Nest Hub, this one has a camera that’s great for making video calls. It also has clever motion-tracking that keeps you in the center of the frame while you move about, so you’ll always be perfectly centered.
4. Best For Small Spaces: Amazon Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen, 2021 Release), $84.99
If you don’t have a lot of space to work with, the No. 1 best-selling Amazon Echo Show 5 is the best pick. While this one isn’t the most ideal for watching videos, its 5-inch screen is large enough for displaying useful information and displaying Alexa’s results and essential details like the time and weather.
The camera also makes this useful for making video calls, and its compact size makes it best for use on nightstands, desks or end tables. Shoppers also love that it’s affordable, can go virtually anywhere because of its size and has great Alexa integration.
5. Most Thoughtful Design: Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen), $249.99
The Echo Show 10 stands out above the rest solely based on its star feature: its motorized base. The camera tracks your face as you move around the room, and it prompts the device to turn and follow you. This comes in handy if you’re cooking or on a video call since it allows you to move around as you would without having to move the device at all.
If you like to pace and walk around during video calls, this is definitely the smart display for you. Shoppers also love the speaker quality and volume (it gets pretty loud — much louder than the Echo Show 5 and 8 models).
Since this device is a bit larger, it’s not the best for desk or nightstand placement. We’d recommend placing it on a kitchen counter, island, or coffee table to maximize its features best.
6. Top Wall-Mountable Pick: Amazon Echo Show 15, $254.98
Specifically designed to be mounted onto a wall like a piece of art, this smart display is the most show-stopping of the bunch. It has a 15-inch display (think a standard laptop screen size) and actually showcases art and your favorite photos when it’s not actively in use.
Like the Echo Show 10, it has a camera and pretty impressive speakers (though shoppers say the Echo Show 10 has it beat in both areas), but where it shines most is with its widgets.
Its specific interface offers unique widgets that were made to take advantage of the larger screen. Also, if you live with roommates, its special facial recognition feature loads custom profiles for each person.
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