Lenovo Smart Display vs. JBL Link View

Here's our comparison of the Lenovo Smart Display and the JBL Link View

Looking for a hot new smart display? Two of the currently popular models on the market are the Lenovo Smart Display and the JBL Link View. These two smart displays have very different designs – and very different purposes. Let’s take a look at all the major differences so you can make the right choice when deciding between them.

Display

JBL Link View review wallpaper
Riley Young/Digital Trends

When it comes to a smart display, the most important part is usually the screen, and for good reason. The size and quality of the screen dictate how clearly you can see images, which is vital whether you’re following sports scores, watching a show, having a video chat with a friend, or just glancing at the time.

Lenovo’s display is one of the few that gives you a choice of screen with its two different models, one with an 8-inch screen and one with a 10-inch screen. The 8-inch screen takes up less room and is great for basic notifications, conversations, and generally for watching the screen when on the countertop. The 10-inch screen is a pretty big improvement if you want to watch shows and videos, or see the screen more clearly from across the room. Which of these works better for you probably depends on how you plan on using the smart display.

The JBL Link View, on the other hand, is only available with an 8-inch display. As we will discuss further in the following sections, a large display isn’t quite as important for the audio-focused Link View, and this 8-inch screen does fine for displaying an array of Google Assistant features.

There’s not much to worry about on the display for either model, but the option to spring for a larger Lenovo screen is really nice to have.

Design

Lenovo Back View Smart Display

The Lenovo Smart Display has an interesting design concept: Much like a portrait, it has a rectangular, thin design (with the speaker located on the side of the display). However, at one end the back of the display suddenly expands into a triangular shape that provides stability and houses power components. You need a little bit of space for that corner base, but otherwise the display can fit pretty much anywhere. The single front-facing speaker panel is a little stranger, but does match the rest of the sleek design. The back of the display can be customized with a smooth gray or bamboo-themed surface.

With the JBL model, a lot more emphasis is placed on speakers, and you can see some of the DNA of JBL’s previous Bluetooth speakers in this display. It has a rounded, oval display that incorporates the base in an organic way, but doesn’t leave as much room behind the display as Lenovo’s version does. Inside JBL’s oval front is a squarish screen, a border for mics and the camera, and two rounded speakers at either end.

Performance

JBL Link View review offset
Riley Young/Digital Trends

Speaker: The Lenovo Smart Display uses a 10-watt speaker with two passive tweeters. It’s a fine setup for calls, voice assistant conversations, and so on, but the front-facing speaker isn’t great at filling a room with music. The JBL Link View, on the other hand, has the best sound of any smart display we’ve tested, utilizing JBL’s extensive experience with music-oriented speakers and two powerful speakers with bass. If you want environmental, room-filling sound, there’s really only one option here for you.

Voice assistant: Both smart displays use Google Assistant for voice commands. That means there’s not really any difference to discuss in the voice assistant — if you have used Google Assistant before, you know what to expect here, with many options for scheduling, asking questions, and taking action with most of Google’s online services.

Camera and calls: Both smart displays have cameras and mics that you can use to make video calls with family and friends, which is literally just as easy as saying, “Hey, Google, call – ” and filling in the blank. Of course, this might make you nervous if you want a smart display for a more private area. Don’t worry! Both devices give you options to shutter/mute the system so the camera cannot function. There hasn’t been any reported trouble involving smart display cameras being hacked so far, but having the option is nice. It’s also worth noting that you can use the Lenovo display in portrait for voice calls, although portrait mode doesn’t yet work for anything else.

Smart home integration: Google Assistant is compatible with a wide variety of smart devices around the home (around 1,500), especially newer smart devices that aim for voice assistant compatibility. You can also connect and program multiple smart device home action plans even you need to. But again, there’s not much difference between the two models, since they both use the same system.

Settings and controls: Both models have a camera shutoff, mic, mute, and volume control button. Again, no significant difference here.

Music and movies: You can see all the services that Google Assistant — and these smart displays — work with, but here’s a quick summary. When it comes to music, Assistant can play Google Play music, YouTube Music, Spotify, Pandora, TuneIn, and several other services. When it comes to streaming video, it can handle YouTube, Netflix, CBS All Access, Viki, and HBO Now. Your use will, of course, depend on what services you already prefer.

Pricing and availability

lenovo smart display 952
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Lenovo Smart Display: $180 (8-inch) or $250 (10-inch)

JBL Link View: $200

As you can see, the JBL Link View price falls between the two pricing options of the Lenovo models. If cost is your primary concern, this gives you three different tiers to consider. Of course, there are also other smart displays, like Amazon’s Echo Show 2 and the affordable Google Home Hub, that you can consider.

Product Review

Hue who? Nanoleaf Canvas brings a riot of color and vibrancy to the smart home

Fun and festive, Nanoleaf Canvas feature lighting adds personality and vibrancy to any room. Nanoleaf Canvas features squares that you can connect in any configuration you’d like. Sync to music, play games, or relax in soothing light.
Smart Home

Never crawl under the tree again! Alexa, turn on the Christmas tree lights

Did you know you can make your Christmas tree smart, just like many of the other electronics and gadgets in your home? You can even create routines involving your tree. Here’s how to make a smart Christmas tree this holiday season.
Home Theater

Confused about LED vs. LCD TVs? Here's everything you need to know

Our LED vs. LCD TV buying guide explains why these two common types of displays are fundamentally connected, how they differ, what to look for in buying an LED TV, and what's on the horizon for TVs.
Home Theater

These top-line smart speakers conduct the most sophisticated symphony: Your life

Stuck talking to yourself? Get an A.I. assistant to keep you company! Whether you put your stock in Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri, we've picked out the best smart speaker for any smart home ecosystem.
Smart Home

The Apple HomePod gets a whole lot cheaper today at Target

Apple's HomePod hasn't been the most popular smart speaker on the market but for users who are all in on Apple's heavily policed ecosystem of devices, this smart speaker is on serious sale at Target this week.
Smart Home

Dog or cat shedding? These vacuums do a great job of sucking up pet hair

Got a pet hair problem? Fortunately, there's help for you and your furry friend. We tested out a bunch of vacuums that promise to remove pet hair. Here are a few of the best you can buy.
Product Review

Ring Alarm makes DIY home security simple and affordable enough for everyone

Ring first made waves with its video doorbell, and now the Amazon-owned company is moving on to home security with the Ring Alarm. You can install the sensors and keypads yourself, then have Ring professionally monitor your home.
Smart Home

Rocco wants to rock out. Parrot learns to use owner’s Amazon Alexa

Rocco, an African gray parrot, fell in love with his owner's Alexa unit and ordered himself treats and other goodies, but mostly uses the smart assistant to rock out to his favorite music.
Smart Home

The Echo Wall Clock can help you keep track of multiple Alexa timers

Amazon just released the Echo Wall Clock that was announced at its September new hardware device event in Seattle. The Echo Wall Clock is an analog clock that also indicates the minutes remaining on one or more Alexa timers.
Smart Home

Espresso On Demand: The five best Nespresso machines

Most people still trek down to their local coffee shop to get an espresso or a cappuccino, but you don't have to. A Nespresso machine can put coffee shop quality espresso on your kitchen counter.
Smart Home

This device detects when your pet is at the door and opens it for them

Tired of waiting for your dog to come inside, or running home in the middle of the day to let your four-legged friend out? Wayzn automatically opens sliding doors for your dog and gives you remote control.
Deals

Get electronics gifts for high-tech homes for under $100 with these deals

The holiday season is in full swing with Christmas just around the corner. New deals on interesting, fun, and practical electronic gifts under $100 from major online retailers can convert last-minute shoppers to savvy bargain hunters.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Smart Home

Put away that sponge and let us help you pick the best dishwasher for your buck

Tired of doing dishes by hand? Take a look at our picks of the four best dishwashers currently available and let a machine do the dirty work for you. They’ll do a much better job, anyway.