Lenovo's new Smart Display 7 looks a lot like the Google Nest Hub, and that's OK

The 7-inch touchscreen gadget with Google Assistant built-in took notes from the popular Google Nest Hub.

Andrew Gebhart Former senior producer
2 min read
Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Lenovo already has a smart display with a 10-inch screen and one with an 8-inch screen. It also has the Lenovo Smart Clock , a smaller 4-inch version for your bedside with less functionality and no camera. Now the company is trying to hit the sweet spot between a full-sized smart display and a petite bedside model with the Lenovo Smart Display 7.

The Lenovo Smart Display 7 will have the same features as the 8- and 10-inch models, including a built-in video camera. It has Google Assistant , so it will respond to the same voice commands as smart speakers like the Google Home Mini . The touchscreen will show extra info after you ask certain questions. For example, search for the weather and you'll see a forecast. Ask for a recipe and you'll see the directions broken down by step. 

More from IFA: Google's new Ambient Mode lets you turn a Lenovo Tablet into a smart display.

Beyond what the previous models could do, the Smart Display 7 has an RGB sensor that will allow it to adapt the screen image to the color quality of the room. The Google Nest Hub (formerly the Google Home Hub ) uses a similar feature to great effect that helps it excel as a digital photo frame. That popular smart display also has a 7-inch touchscreen, so Lenovo is following Google's example closely with this new model. The Smart Display 7 will cost $130, the same as the retail price of the Nest Hub, though the latter is often on sale for much less.

Watch this: Lenovo's new smart display looks to follow in the Nest Hub's footsteps

The Nest Hub doesn't have a camera, however, and the Lenovo Smart Display 7 does. You'll be able to use it for video chats and you can slide a physical shutter over the lens if you want extra privacy. That camera won't have some of the more advanced features of the upcoming Google Nest Hub Max , which also features gesture controls, but it does help it stand out from the Nest Hub a little.


The Lenovo Smart Display 7 has a camera with a physical shutter. 

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Lenovo's 7-inch smart display will also look to improve on the sound quality of older models. Instead of relegating the speakers to one side, the two 5-watt speakers now sit along the bottom and will provide stereo sound. According to a Lenovo representative, they sound even better than the speakers of the 10-inch model, which had significantly better sound quality than the Nest Hub. We only got a brief chance to listen to the speakers in action during our demo at the IFA tech conference in Berlin, and the music was indeed crisp. I couldn't tell in the hotel room where Lenovo hosted me if the audio quality from the new display was a significant step up from its predecessor.

At a glance, Lenovo's Smart Display 7 might have trouble standing out from the increasingly competitive field of smart displays. That said, it could prove to be a viable alternative to the Nest Hub if it's similar in most ways but has better sound quality and a camera. 

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