The Google Nest Hub has been due for an upgrade for some time now, but I was honestly underwhelmed by the announcement of the Google Nest Hub (2nd Gen). Yes, it breaks new ground for a smart display because of its sleep-tracking ability, which is achieved without an actual camera or wearable to monitor you while you sleep.
There’s a part of me that was hoping for an onboard camera, mainly for the added utility of conducting video phone calls. However, that simply was not the case here. Now that the cat’s out of the bag, the announcement continues to reaffirm my feeling about how the Lenovo Smart Display 7 is one of the most underrated smart displays around.
Video chat over sleep tracking
I know plenty of people who wouldn’t mind a sleep tracker that doesn’t require them to physically wear a watch, band, ring, or some other wearable to bed. They just get in the way and the last thing you want is something feeling all fidgety as you’re trying to fall asleep. In that sense, I can appreciate how some people value the sleep-tracking abilities of the Nest Hub (2nd Gen). If you’re like me and happen to have an odd routine because of cats in the home, one that involves being awakened at 6:30 a.m. and again at 7:30 a.m., you don’t need a gadget to tell you that you’re not getting the best sleep.
That’s why I find more value in having a built-in camera included with a smart display. For one, it makes it easier for me to quickly accept a Google Duo call in my home office, without taking away my focus too much from my computer. While there’s no denying that the camera in the Lenovo Smart Display 7 is widely underused, reserved strictly for Google Duo video calls and nothing more, I’m really crossing my fingers that Google will end up coming out with a similar “drop-in” feature, much like the one on Amazon Echo Show devices, that enables users to remotely access the camera at any moment.
Despite its reservation for video calls through Google Duo, the Lenovo Smart Display 7’s built-in camera is more geared toward what I’m looking for in a smart display
A lower price point
Since it’s been out for a little over a year now, it should come as no surprise that the Lenovo Smart Display 7 can be fetched at a significantly lower price than the new Google Nest Hub. In fact, a quick web search will yield several deals for the smart display — with $70 being just about the lowest price. The $30 difference between it and the new Google Nest Hub ($100) certainly has appeal given that the base functionality of the two is no different.
More importantly, the compact size of the Lenovo Smart Display 7 makes it good as a bedside companion. You can invest that extra savings in something like a Chromecast, which you could use to access one of your home security camera’s feeds through your television.
Even though $30 may not seem all that much, it makes the Lenovo Smart Display 7 a far more attractive option because you’re not really making any major trade-offs.
Google Assistant still rules the roost
If you follow how smart displays have evolved over time, then you realize that the true value is found with their respective digital assistants. In this case, it’s Google Assistant. It’s the same one found in the more expensive Google Nest Hub Max and new Nest Hub (2nd Gen), as well as in all Android smartphones. And you know what? Chances are it’s going to be no different with future smart displays.
When you invest in a smart display, you’re mostly putting money into the value of how its virtual assistant can help out in the home. From turning on the lights to setting reminders for yourself, Google Assistant doesn’t work any better or worse on older or newer smart displays. Even my aging Lenovo Smart Display 8-inch, initially released in October 2018, functions in the same exact manner as the latest Google Assistant smart displays.
Unless you’re adamant about sleep tracking, you should really consider the Lenovo Smart Display 7. It continues to be the most underrated smart display in the Google Assistant community.
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