Update, 1/7/2022: We’ve reviewed our recommendations and are confident these are still the best smart displays you can buy.
Shopping for a smart display is incredibly easy nowadays. Companies like Google, Amazon, and even Facebook are churning out incredible products, and you’d be well-served by most of the displays currently lining store shelves.
However, all of these products cater to a specific audience. Some are built with massive screens and premium cameras for crisp video calls, a few remove cameras for an affordable price tag, and others still attempt to be a jack-of-all-trades. Before you set out on a journey to find a smart display for your home, there are a few things you should consider.
First and foremost—do you need a camera built into your smart display? If you plan on using this for a video call device, you’ll need a good camera, but that comes with a higher price tag. On the flip side, if you’re looking to turn your display into a smart home hub, you probably won’t need a camera and can save a lot of cash.
It’s also important to determine your current smart home ecosystem. Many smart displays play well with either Google Assistant or Alexa, but it’d be a shame to pick up a shiny new gadget only to realize it won’t connect with the rest of your setup. Compatible voice assistants and smart home ecosystems are listed front-and-center on the spec sheet, making it easy to ensure it’ll fit your needs.
Once you’ve answered those questions, take a look at our favorite smart displays. No matter your needs, one of these highly-rated products is bound to serve you well.
Best Smart Display Overall: Google Nest Hub (2nd Gen)
- ✓ Affordable
- ✓ Supports Quick Gestures
- ✓ Built-in voice control
- ✗ Lacks a camera
Google’s second iteration of the Nest Hub is without a doubt the best smart display on the market. It won’t be for everybody, as the Nest Hub lacks a camera for video chats, but if you don’t mind the omission, there’s a lot to love about the tiny gadget.
One of the biggest improvements to second-generation Google Nest Hub is the inclusion of Soli and its Sleep Sensing technology. It also makes use of Quick Gestures and voice controls for touchless operation.
Aside from those standouts, it does everything you’d expect from a smart display. You can watch videos from Netflix and YouTube, listen to music through Spotify, or use it as a digital photo frame with a vibrant seven-inch display.
Despite the Google Nest Hub’s lengthy list of features, you’ll be happy to know it’s still as affordable as ever—the best smart display around can be had for $100.
Google Nest Hub (2nd Gen)
Affordable, powerful, and compatible with a laundry list of apps, it’s difficult to find a smart display better than the new Nest Hub.
Best Budget Smart Display: Amazon Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen)
- ✓ Affordable
- ✓ High-end camera
- ✓ Mechanical shutter for privacy
- ✗ Slow auto-framing
If you’re looking for an affordable smart display that makes it easy to jump into video chats, look no further than the Amazon Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen). Big improvements were made to the smart display’s video features, and the Echo Show 8 now features a vivid 13 megapixel (MP) camera. There’s also a mechanical shutter that slides in front of the camera for a bit more privacy.
Compatible with Zoom, Skype, or any device with the Alexa app, there’s no shortage of ways to connect with family and friends around the globe. Its auto-framing capability is a bit lackluster, but that’s a minor complaint about an otherwise robust, frugal device.
Amazon didn’t stop with camera improvements for its second-gen smart screen, either. A new processor allows for a more responsive touchscreen, although the Echo Show 8 is still best controlled with voice via Alexa. Still, this is a great smart display for music, streaming, and as a smart home hub.
Amazon Echo Show (2nd Gen)
Carrying a price tag nearly half that of the competition, anyone in the market for a smart display should give the Echo Show (2nd Gen) a closer look.
Best Smart Display for Video Calling: Facebook Portal+
- ✓ Premium camera
- ✓ Gigantic 14-inch screen
- ✓ Sleek design
- ✗ Missing popular apps
- ✗ Facebook branding
The Facebook Portal+ was built for video calls. Its massive 14-inch HD adaptive screen captures facial expressions and nuance not seen on smaller devices, and its 12MP camera is among the best in any smart display. Its touchscreen is also one of the easiest to use, with a clean UI for touch controls and voice commands for hands-free operation.
The biggest downfall for Portal+ is its Facebook (or Meta) branding. The company has had recent data and privacy breaches, although the company says it’s making changes to better secure personal information.
Portal’s app library is also lacking compared to other smart displays—notable absences include Instagram, WhatsApp, and even Facebook itself. Don’t expect to be doing much else with this smart display other than video chatting, though thankfully you can do just that perfectly.
If you can look beyond the Facebook branding, there's a lot to love about Portal+ and its gigantic 14-inch screen.
Best Smart Display for Amazon Alexa: Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen)
- ✓ Built-in Alexa voice assistant
- ✓ Motorized screen for auto-framing
- ✓ Zigbee integration
- ✗ Lackluster audio
- ✗ Bulky design
There’s no shortage of great products for folks who love Amazon Alexa, but none are better than the third-generation Echo Show 10. The star of the show is a 10.1-inch HD screen that’s motorized, allowing it to swivel and follow you around a room. Its motorized base is a bit bulky, and you’ll need quite a bit of room to comfortably fit the Echo 10, but that’s a small price to pay for the added utility.
Built-in Alexa makes it easy to control the action, and it can even act as a Zigbee smart home hub to build out an entire smart home ecosystem. You’ll also be treated to apps such as Netflix, Amazon Music, and Spotify, although its audio is a bit lacking for its sizable price tag.
Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen)
Alexa is the driving force behind the Echo Show 10, and a stacked spec sheet puts this smart display ahead of the competition.
Best Smart Display for Google Home: Google Nest Hub Max
- ✓ Vibrant 10-inch screen
- ✓ Face Match for personalized info
- ✓ Supports Duo, Meet, and Zoom
- ✗ Lacks support for Skype
- ✗ Expensive
The Google Nest Hub Max is one of the most expensive products in the Google Nest lineup, and for good reason. Its sleek design puts a gorgeous 10-inch touchscreen front and center, although it’s backed by a 3-inch woofer for incredible sound and a 6.5MP camera for clear video calls. It also allows you to use Quick Gestures to control the action if you’d rather not make use of voice commands with Google Assistant.
Video calls through Google Duo or Zoom are both possible on the Nest Hub Max, but its library of apps also consists of Spotify, Pandora, Netflix, and YouTube TV. It doesn’t have perfect app support, but the Nest Hub Max has a deep catalog of other popular software.
And when you’re not using one of its dozens of apps, you can turn the Nest Hub Max into a digital picture frame to show off your favorite memories.
Google Nest Hub Max
It’s not cheap, but the Google Nest Hub Max offers a huge screen, a high-end camera, and supports a variety of today’s most popular apps.
Best Smart Display for Apple Homekit: Apple iPad
- ✓ Versatile
- ✓ Vivid HD display
- ✗ Expensive
- ✗ Requires a dock
- ✗ Not really a smart display
Oddly enough, not a single smart display on the market is compatible with Apple Homekit. However, if you don’t mind picking up a few additional accessories, you can easily turn a standard iPad into a makeshift smart display.
The standard 10.2-inch tablet already looks a bit like a smart display—and its Retina display with True Tone is actually one of the nicest looking screens on this list. It’s also capable of streaming music or videos across any of the apps in the Apple App Store catalog, making it a highly versatile “smart display.”
Since the iPad can’t prop itself up, you’ll need to spring for an additional stand—although our list of the best iPad stands makes that an easy task.
It won’t look quite as nice sitting on your kitchen counter as the Echo Show 10 or Google Nest Hub Max , but if you’re building out an Apple Homekit smart home, there’s no other option. But with its A13 Bionic Chip, 12MP ultra-wide front camera, and stereo speakers, you’re the iPad won’t be lacking for features.
Although it's not really a smart display, an iPad is the only option for folks glued to Apple Homekit.
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