When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Here’s how it works

Home / Features / Best smart display 2024: home hubs reviewed

Best smart display 2024: home hubs reviewed

Keen for a cleverer home hub? This list features our pick of the best smart displays for every space and budget

Every home has a hub. Some families use a whiteboard for write-and-wipe reminders. Others stick calendar commitments to the fridge. But only the best smart home devices can recognise faces and nudge you not to neglect your chores. Creepy, but more effective than littering the house with scrappaper prompts.

More than countertop tablets, the top smart displays serve as nerve centres for everyone in your abode. From controlling connected tech and setting personalised alerts, to looking up recipes, streaming entertainment and dropping in on unsuspecting relatives, these panels can assist with almost every domestic demand.

Smart displays come in a range of shapes and sizes, from compact alarm clocks to wall-spanning panels. The list below features our pick of the best smart displays for every space and budget. So you can upgrade your pad’s approach to admin, whether you’re installed in a flat or a four-bed semi.

If you’re only interested in Amazon’s devices, check out Stuff’s guide to the best Echo Show smart displays, and, if you don’t need a screen, check out our guide to the best smart speakers.


Best smart display: Echo Show 8

1. Amazon Echo Show 8 (2nd gen)

Stuff Says…

Small but perfectly formed, the updated Echo Show 8 hits the smart screen sweet spot with punchy speakers, a clever webcam and solid app support

Tech spec:

Display: 8in 1280×800 • Speakers: 2x 2in drivers • Camera: 13MP • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth • Dimensions: 148x86x73mm

Amazon’s medium Echo Show is a Goldilocks smart display: just right for most people. At 8in, its touchscreen is big enough for browsing, binge-watching and button-pushing, yet the Show’s free-standing form is still small enough not to dominate your countertop. A pair of 2in speaker drivers also deliver audio that’s fine for casual kitchen listening, even if the 1280×800 screen resolution isn’t the sharpest.

Aping the Meta Portal and Apple’s Centre Stage, the upgraded 13MP camera can digitally track your face around the frame – so callers will always get a good look at your mug, even if you’re pacing the place. Anyone with an Echo device or the Alexa app can hop on a group call, while Zoom support means you hit up the boss from your home office. The cam can also be used to keep an eye on your abode when you’re out and about.

Alexa’s installed as standard, as are all the smart home controls and tools you’d expect from an Amazon hub. You can also expand your Echo’s skill set with a range of third-party apps and services, including Netflix and Spotify. Sharing your Show? New Visual ID smarts can be trained to recognise your face and display personalised content. Don’t like looking down on your smart display? The optional magnetic stand makes it easy to tilt and tweak the viewing angle.


2. Google Nest Hub (2nd gen)

Stuff Says…

Cam-free and relatively compact, Google’s smallest display is a streamlined screen for easy smart assistance – and it’s got solid streaming skills, too

Tech spec:

Display: 7in 1024×600 • Speakers: 1x 1.7in driver • Camera: N/A • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Thread • Dimensions: 177.4×120.4×69.5mm

A streamlined smart screen that nails the basics, Google’s second-gen Nest Hub is a neat fit for any shelf. Styling refinements are minor: large bezels still frame the display, but the glass now extends to the edges. The panel angle is fixed as before, with a familiar fabric wrapping the base. It’s as functional, friendly and low-profile as the original.

No lens means no video calling, but if you’re not a Zoomer – or you’re not sure about Google having a peeper in your pad – the camera’s absence won’t concern you. Plus you can still get feedback on your sleep patterns, courtesy of Google’s motion-detecting Soli chip.

It handles all the standard smart stuff, too. Three near-field mics mean the Nest Hub can detect your dulcet tones better, with Google Assistant listening for your commands. Visuals complement your interactions with the digital helper, from weather cards to on-screen Spotify controls. Smart home control is deeply integrated as well, with Thread support for seamless connection with compatible kit.

Keen to stream while you steam the veg? While the low-res 7in panel isn’t perfect for movie marathons, it’s absolutely fine for background box-sets – especially with the improved speaker delivering more authoritative audio. Plus you get support for Netflix, Disney+, All4 and YouTube baked in, as well as Chromecast functionality.


3. Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd gen)

Stuff Says…

Spinning isn’t an essential trick, but if you want a sweet-sounding hub that’s always there to face you, the Echo Show 10 should turn your head

Tech spec:

Display: 10.1in 1280×800 • Speakers: 2x 1in tweeters, 1x 3in woofer • Camera: 13MP • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth • Dimensions: 251x230x172mm

Tablet or speaker? How about both: the third-gen Echo Show 10 is a hybrid hub for your smart home. Revamped with a brushless motor, tracking tech means the Show can automatically rotate to face you.

Dialling your loved ones? Feel free to walk around the room, because the Echo Show 10 will keep you framed and centred – not just by digitally panning with the 13MP camera, but also by physically revolving the 10.1in touchscreen panel through a 175-degree arc. The same skill can be used for wider security coverage when you’re away, while the camera cover provides privacy with a flick.

Its pivoting trick does make the Echo Show 10 trickier to place than a wedge-shaped Show. The panel needs space to spin around the speaker base. The screen itself isn’t the sharpest at 1200×800, while hefty bezels make the whole unit look clumsier than it could. That said, the sonic stand can kick out serious beats, courtesy of two 2in tweets and a 3in woofer inside. Helpfully, the Echo Show 10 also serves as a Zigbee bridge, meaning you can connect compatible devices directly.


4. Google Nest Hub Max

Stuff Says…

With solid audio, a sizeable screen and clever face-tracking features, this is feature-packed control panel for your Google smart home

Tech spec:

Display: 10in 1280×800 • Speakers: 2x 0.7in tweeters, 1x 3in woofer • Camera: 6.5MP • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth • Dimensions: 250.1×182.55×101.23mm

Styled like the fusion of a Bluetooth speaker and touchscreen slate, the Nest Hub Max is one of the best smart displays for entertainment. Whether checking recipes, streaming YouTube or viewing live feeds from Nest cams, its 10in panel is ideal for Google’s bright and tidy interface.

There’s a dedicated panel for controlling your connected tech with a few taps. Got your hands full? Google Assistant is baked-in as well, so you can issue commands with your voice. Feature-rich info cards complement most interactions with the digital helper, filling the screen with relevant info.

It’s no Sonos One, but the 75mm bass woofer and two 18mm tweeters inside the fabric-wrapped stand also give it impressive audio chops. It packs a punch that’s plenty good enough for kitchen tunes.

Installed in a shared house? The 6.5MP camera might not be the sharpest around, but it can identify the faces of up to six people – ensuring only you get to see your messages. It can work as a motion-sensitive Nest security cam, too. There’s a switch on the rear to disable the lens and mics, but not physical shutter to guarantee privacy.


5. Amazon Echo Show 15

Stuff Says…

Wall-mounting won’t be for everyone, but Amazon’s largest smart display transforms the Alexa experience with a slick widget interface and useful face-recognition

Tech spec:

Display: 5.5in 960×480 • Speakers: 1x 1.6in driver • Camera: 2MP • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth • Dimensions: 148x86x73mm

The largest Echo Show is unlike any Amazon device to date. With picture-frame styling, it resembles a scaled-up Meta Portal. And like the Portal, the boxy Echo Show 15 can be fitted with an optional stand. But its true skills are revealed when you mount it to a wall.

Arranged in portrait or landscape, it’s the ultimate family hub. Its 15.6in Full HD display is home to a library of polished widgets, all powered by Alexa. From sticky notes to shopping lists to schedules, these are designed to keep your life in order. And while its 5MP camera isn’t the sharpest in the Echo stable, it does benefit from face-recognition. Backed up by Voice ID, it means family members will see personalised content and reminders.

The extra screen real estate transforms the Echo Show experience. It’s wicked for watching Netflix shows, firing up feeds from connected cameras or hopping on a group video call. Plus you can multi-task – ideal for keeping an eye on the kids while you make dinner.

It still needs a larger arsenal of third-party widgets, plus YouTube support. And it naturally lacks the audio oomph of the Echo Show 10. But it’s also the neatest, smartest Amazon display to date. Despite its size, it’s the easiest to live with and the easiest to hide – especially if you use the Photo Frame feature.



6. Amazon Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen)

Stuff Says…

Small enough for any shelf, Amazon’s dinkiest screen makes a winning addition to any bedside table – without sacrificing on smarts

Tech spec:

Display: 5.5in 960×480 • Speakers: 1x 1.6in driver • Camera: 2MP • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth • Dimensions: 148x86x73mm

Dinky indeed, the Echo Show 5 has a screen smaller than most modern smartphones. So if you’ve already got one of those, is it really worth adding Amazon’s compact panel to your pad? If you want an affordable, accessible smart display with a modest footprint yet all the skills of its bigger siblings, the answer is yes.

Because it shares the same form factor as the first-gen Echo Show 5, the second edition is just as brilliant for bedside tables. Which is handy, because it’s got all the smarts you need to start the day right: alarms, weather updates, news briefings, morning music and automated routines to take away the pain of bleary-eyed admin.

Sure, the diminutive display isn’t ideal for streaming shows, especially with a limited 960×480 pixel resolution. Nor will the single 1.6in speaker start any house parties – and unlike its predecessor, there’s no 3.5mm for hooking up external speakers. But at 5.5in, the screen is fine for interacting with info cards and just about big enough for hopping on calls to your family. Plus pop one in the corner of a room and it can keep a watchful eye using its upgraded 2MP camera.


7. Lenovo Smart Clock 2

Stuff Says…

A simple smart display that’s missing a few features, Lenovo’s little screen is ideal as a bedside clock and charging dock combo

Tech spec:

Display: 4in LCD • Speakers: 1.5in 3W • Camera: N/A • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2 • Dimensions: 113.5×93.3×71.3mm

Lenovo’s second-gen Smart Clock has one ambition: usurping your alarm clock. And if you want a waking aid with added smarts, it gets plenty right. Wrapped in fabric, the Smart Clock 2 stands more upright than its wedge-shaped predecessor. It’s still fronted by a tiny 4in touchscreen surrounded by a chunky bezel, but it now has a flat base. This allows the Smart Clock 2 to work alone or attach to the optional Charging Dock, which adds wireless fast-charging, plus a USB-A slot and neat little night light which glows when you drop a device on the dock.

Elsewhere, things are more familiar. Google Assistant is still built-in, for voice commands and smart home control. And despite the undeniably dinky display, the interface remains uncluttered, with info cards easy to read – even if the screen is sometimes slow to respond to swipes.

You don’t get the full functionality of larger Google Nest devices – there’s no YouTube support, for example – but the Smart Clock 2 does enough to justify its moniker. Besides calendar notifications and weather data, you can set up photo slideshows, configure routines or fire up your favourite Spotify playlist. Do the latter and you’ll be rewarded with surprisingly punchy front-firing audio.

With no camera and limited cards, it’s not the smartest screen in this list. But pair it with the low-profile Charging Dock and Lenovo’s display shapes up as a usefully understated addition to any desk or bedside.

Decided you don’t need the screen? Then you should read Stuff’s guide to the best smart speakers.

Profile image of Chris Rowlands Chris Rowlands Freelance contributor

About

Formerly News Editor at this fine institution, Chris now writes about tech from his tropical office. Sidetracked by sustainable stuff, he’s also keen on coffee kit, classic cars and any gear that gets better with age.

Areas of expertise

Cameras, gear and travel tech

Enable referrer and click cookie to search for eefc48a8bf715c1b 20231024b972d108 [] 2.7.22