After its initial release of Echo in November 2014, Amazon has put on a lot of effort and functionality into its smart speaker system, to make it smarter and friendly, with the latest addition of touchscreen as Echo Show.
Unveiled on May 9, 2017, Echo Show sports a pair of 2-inch speakers, 5-megapixel front-facing camera, an Intel Atom x5-Z8350 processor, dual-band Wi-Fi support, and a 7-inch touchscreen, to display Alexa’s visual output. The speaker quality itself is an improvement from the standard Echo models, providing much better clarity and sound quality. The device contains motion sensors, which wakes up the device, in proximity to a user. Setup and connectivity are easier, and once you confirm the Amazon account and timezone, you are good to go. The bottom of the screen contains a light bar, which turns up blue, when Alexa is listening, or red, when not active or offline. Even though YouTube was blocked, after a feud between Amazon and Google, you can still play videos from other sites. The 5mp front facing camera and touchscreen allows you to place a video call, while also making navigation and searching easier. From a price point of view, the Echo Show comes at $229, in comparison to Echo at $85, which is pretty steep, but if you are planning to grab Echo, then you can give it a try, because of its additional accessibility options.
On the other side, Google Smart Display, partnered with Lenovo has launched its first set of smart displays in July 2018. Set to replace Google Home, this Assistant-powered display comes in two sizes, an 8-inch model with 1280*800 HD display, and a 10-inch model, with 1920*1280 Full HD display. Powered by quad-core Snapdragon 624 SoC, Lenovo Smart Display boasts its dual 1.75-inch 10W speakers, wide-angled 720p 5mp camera, Bluetooth, and WI-Fi support, with a stylish look of soft grey and bamboo back finish. It is similar to the functionality of the Google Home speaker, which allows you to access calendar, weather, google maps, and connects easily with other Chromecast-capable devices. You can also cast audio and video content from your phone to the smart display. Binge watching, anyone?
In addition to chrome casting, Smart display also integrates Spotify, YouTube, Play Music, HBO, giving it an edge over the Amazon Echo Show, which has been banned from accessing YouTube. Lenovo Smart Display allows video calling using Duo, which isn’t pretty great, but the sound and call quality is good. The advantage of Amazon Echo Show over the Google Assistant-enabled smart displays is the Alexa Drop-In service, that allows one-to-one conversation with other connected Echo devices, whereas Google provides Broadcast, that connects to all Google enabled devices at once, hence, you cannot with them individually. As far the price is concerned, Lenovo Smart Display is priced at $199(8-inch) and $249(10-inch), in comparison to the Amazon Echo Show ($229).
While Amazon is still the market leader, Google and Lenovo are covering up with leaps and bounds, with Google Assistant getting much faster updates to its core functionalities than Amazon updates to Alexa.
Amazon Echo Show: Amazon.com.
Lenovo Smart Display: Get at Lenovo.