Speakers now have screens. Lenovo, Google's partner, offers the Smart Display, a model that has been designed to invite you into your kitchen. Does screen integration transform the experience? What is the greatest of this type of product? Answers in our comprehensive test!
The related speakers market is experiencing tremendous growth. According to the cabinet TrendForce sales are expected to reach 92.3 million units by the end of 2019. In 2018, Médiamétrie 1.7 million of France were conquered.
There are so many models multiplying models and trying to develop new materials. With Smart Display, Lenovo offers a screen (8 or 10 inches) to a speaker to complete the usage through voice control. However, it's designed to invite you to a kitchen, it can be installed in every room in the house. But what does this screen offer? We used the Smart Display; for several weeks. Find out our complete test.
Date price and release
The Lenovo Smart Exhibition is available in most retailers in two versions: 8 inches to 179 euros, 10 inches to 239 euros (our test model). Lenovo prepares a third product designed for the bedroom. At this price, the Smart Exhibition is a little more expensive than the Google Nest Center (7 inches) available from May 28, 2019 for 129 euros.
The Smart Display includes a Snapdragon 624 processor (plenty for this type of product) and 2 GB of RAM and 4 GB of storage. Four polls collect your applications from a Google Assistant, and two 10W speakers are responsible for broadcasting the sound. A wide 5-megapixel camera provides video calls. Finally, the Smart Display is compatible with WiFi 802.11ac 2 x 2, 2.4G / 5G, MIMO and Bluetooth 4.2 WHERE.
Fine and minimalist design
After opening the box, A Smart Exhibition shines with elegance and minimalism. Lenovo chooses a white plastic shell and original size. In a frontage, our grid integration encapsulates two speakers. On the right, the 10.1-inch screen is surrounded by four black stripes that make it look like a digital photo frame.
At the back, Lenovo chooses more massive, but elegant support. This aesthetic option incorporates the originality of the Smart Exhibition. Our white test version remains sober, but a more attractive bamboo model exists. The device has four physical buttons : two for volume, one for mute / unmute, one for enable / disable camera.
The minimalist appearance of the Smart Exhibition makes it possible to place it anywhere in the house. Despite that, we do not recommend the bedroom because screen is too bright (we will come back to this later) In addition, Lenovo says that his product was designed to fit himself into the kitchen and to be an assistant. If our pictures of pictures were taken in a living room, we used the Smart Display in a kitchen throughout our test.
A bright screen succeeded
Lenovo rejects its Smart Exhibition as two models that are mainly recognized by their screen. The first includes an 8 inch HD slab. The second (our test version) has a 10.1 inch IPS LCD screen in 19:10 format (wide in the PC universe) with Full HD definition (1920 x 1200 pixels).
Surrounded by large black borders, the screen shines with its display quality. Very bright, can be used in any conditions. We put it in a kitchen with a big window in front of us: we never had any trouble reading the information on the screen. There is only a very small fault that derives from the use of the IPS: the light (even black) is cheating the night (no, we don't have) t at 3am).
Moreover, the 19:10 format allows viewing of 16: 9 multimedia content without black bars. Please note that Lenovo and Google have developed the interface to perfectly customize this format. It should also be noted that the contrast remains very good and that the colorimetry is balanced despite the use of IPS technology.
Ask each of the Google Assistants
The Lenovo Smart Display incorporates all the features of a Google Assistant and adapts them to their format. So, all the information (or almost all) appears on the screen when you ask a Google Assistant. Not only do you enjoy Google Home experience, you can also interact directly with Smart Display.
Attention, the use of this product continues to focus on voice control. You can't launch an application from the device. However, after a first application, an interface appears on the screen and allows you to interact with your finger. Even if the microphones are efficient, this possibility is particularly useful for managing music (especially at a high level).
The screen never stays in idle mode, it always displays graphic elements. By default, like Chromecast, we unveil artworks or pictures from a image bank. You can choose to convert the Smart Display into a digital frame by scrolling through album photos from Google Photos.
Lenovo has few personalization elements: apart from fast settings (WiFi, brightness, etc), everything is managed directly from the Google Home app. Finally almost. When the screen is idle, cards inspired by Google Feed provide some information such as the weather, the time, your appointments, etc. The amount of items presented depends on the permissions granted to Google and your use of its services.
After using a few services, cards fit on the screen and provide quick access to these services. For example, if you start music on Spotify then look for a recipe, you will find the "Spotify" card on the home screen. Please also note that in order to return, you must scan from the left to the right of the boundary for each service launched.
Most connected will appreciate quality and ergonomics of the control interface. After asking Google to switch on lights for example, a complete control panel appears on the screen. The same is true of the music where each associated speaker can be individually adapted. The top!
Top for video, less for music
The Smart Smart provides a compelling multimedia experience. However, we stand out especially in a video thanks to our screen and two 10W speakers in front of us. They don't broadcast the sound at 360 ° as Google Home can. They turned out so much more effective in video than in music.
However, for this use, we provide the essential. The sound quality is correct with a low set and a slightly flat set. The Smart Exhibition is especially interesting if you imagine it as an extra speaker to your audio system. The Bluetooth 4.2 compatibility allows you to connect it to a complete setup. For example, I connected it to all the related speakers in my flat to enjoy the music in the kitchen. In such a configuration, Lenovo's product makes perfect sense.
For music services, the Smart Display incorporates Google Home compatibility. For music, we see Spotify, Deezer, Youtube Music, Google Music Play and soon Amazon Music. All these platforms can be managed by voice. To avoid repeating the desired service name, you can set one by default, the Smart Display will launch it automatically without you stating it in your application. After the first application, the music can be managed directly from the screen. The developers have optimized their applications to adjust to this new type of product. The light and ergonomic interface of Spotify for example appealed to us in particular.
It's not surprising, t using a Smart Exhibition makes perfect sense in a video. If YouTube is the only service that has to be integrated directly (Netflix doesn't work for example), you can avoid this limit simply. The Smart Display incorporates Chromecast compatibility. Yes, you know where we come from. With this you can start most video services directly on the screen. From Twitch to Molotov, almost everything can be seen. You the fierce parts of Motus as you prepare the dinner!
Quality video calls
With its 5-megapixel wide angle camera, The Smart Display allows video communication to be connected. Unfortunately, only with Google Duo, it's not common among French users, that we work. Using this feature will depend on your ability to persuade your loved ones to adopt Duo and to install it on their smartphone.
Once installed, the service works perfectly with high definition image quality (depending on your internet connection) and high performance microphones. Smart Smart's design allows to make calls in a horizontal and vertical format, a very good point. Unfortunately, we would have liked this possibility of referring the screen to be extended to other uses.
Finally, please note that the Smart Display could have worn the camera's surveillance clothing thanks to its wide angle. It could even have completed a set of tools already installed. Alas, Lenovo does not offer this possibility. Too bad.
Prepare for the Head Chef
We've been saying this since starting this test, Lenovo has thought about its Smart Display to be installed ideally in a kitchen. YouTube integration provides unlimited access to cookery tutorials. We advise you the essential tutorial "How to minch onions without pressing as dolenn" t.
To help you become Head Chef, Lenovo turns its Smart Display into a virtual clerk. Ask him for a recipe to display a list of sites and apps that he offers (Marmiton, 750 g, Cuisine AZ and others). An interface is then shown dedicated to cooking recipes in transparency. More clearly, it allows following the instructions to the letter. When pronouncing "Moving on to prepare", the user goes from the list of ingredients to steps to follow step by step.
These operations can be performed directly on the touch screen, but the object then loses its interest. When cooking, our hands become dirty, slide, or clutter. During our test we rarely used our hands to follow a recipe. A few times this happened, it was at the beginning of the recipe, before putting your hands in.
the grease the stuffing.