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The Lenovo Smart Display combines the functionality of the Google Home smart speaker with a simple touchscreen display you can use to make video calls, watch YouTube or get more info about restaurants.

In fact, the display shows a lot of helpful extras. Because it has the same always-listening Google Assistant built-in as Google Home, you can do everything Google Home can do with the Lenovo Smart Display. Beyond that, click through to see the ways Lenovo's Display enhances Google Assistant with its screen. 

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The basics

The Lenovo Smart Display responds to voice commands just like Google Home. You can see your command processed in real time at the top of the screen, so you'll know if Google Assistant didn't hear you correctly.

We tested the 10-inch Lenovo Smart Display with a bamboo back. Lenovo also has an 8-inch model with a grey back. Both have the same capabilities and both are available starting Friday, July 27 from major electronics retailers. The 10-inch model costs $250. The 8-inch Smart Display is $200. 

Published:Caption:Photo:Chris Monroe/CNET

Kitchen assistance

My favorite feature of the Smart Display is its recipe assistance. You can search for recipes with your phone and send the one you want to the Smart Display. You can also search options with your voice on the display itself.

Start cooking, and the display will go over the ingredients with you one by one after showing you an overview of the recipe. Move to the cooking directions, and the feature gets really good... 

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A great sous chef

The Smart Display reads and shows every step in your recipe one at a time. You can skip forward or back with your voice or with a touch, and the Smart Display keeps the ingredient list on the right. 

You can ask questions about any step in the process and Google Assistant will find extra info or show you an instructional video. If you forget how much of a spice to add, just ask and Google will look in the recipe and tell you the answer.

The instructions stay on the screen while you work, unless you get bored. Then, you can watch a video, play music, set a timer or do any other task you can think of. When you're ready for the next step, you can just ask Google to resume cooking, and it'll jump right back to the recipe where you left off. Seriously, this feature is awesome. 

Published:Caption:Photo:Chris Monroe/CNET

Shopping

You can shop on the display using Google Express. You'll need to set up voice recognition in the Google Home app to authorize any purchases. 

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Browsing restaurants

You can search restaurants in the area and pull up pictures and details of your options. 

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Send it to your smart phone

I mentioned you could use your phone to send recipes to the smart display. You do that with the "Send to Google Home" button pictured. 

After searching for a restaurant on the Smart Display, you can also send driving directions to your phone. 

Published:Caption:Photo:Screenshot by Andrew Gebhart/CNET

Smart home controls

Use your voice to control your compatible smart home devices, and you'll see a control screen allowing you to fine-tune details. Adjust the temperature of your thermostat with a touch or switch from heat to cool. Change the brightness of your smart lights or adjust their color. 

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Weather

The Lenovo Smart Display shows extra details when you ask about the weather, the news, search the web and more. 

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Personalized results

If you enable voice recognition, the home screen can show you reminders and calendar appointments. You can edit them with a voice command or with the touchscreen. You can turn off the feature if you don't want your housemates to see what's on your schedule.

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HD videos

You can also search for and scroll through YouTube videos. I watched a few movie trailers on the Lenovo Smart Display and they looked great on the HD screen. 

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Nutritional info

The Lenovo Smart Display can also show answers to your general questions while Google Assistant reads through the text, including nutritional info. 

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Video calls

You can make calls with the Lenovo Smart Display to businesses or anyone in your contact list. If your contact has Google Duo, you can make a video call. 

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Ambient screen

You can customize the ambient screen and listen to music. From any screen, swipe left from the right side to go back to the previous screen or swipe up for a quick settings menu including volume and screen brightness. 

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Welcome home

My favorite ambient screen was the simple clock. The Lenovo Smart Display is elegantly designed and offers enough cool features to make its screen feel worthwhile. 

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