Lenovo Smart Display Manual – Lenovo has designed the smart display with images and audio in the same approach, hence the horizontal orientation and the strange shape of the back panel for a larger screen and stronger audio, respectively. The design allows for super-sharp, sharp images, stunning audio performance with spoken words, as well as music and video tracks.
That silly case design has more than just considerable acoustics in mind, as the screen has small rubber feet on its left side that allow it to be placed in portrait orientation. This could be great for homes with limited kitchen counter or side table space. Unfortunately, this feature is only available when making video calls with the Google Duo service.
This may be a limitation of the Google Assistant’s visual interface, but it is still a very lost golden opportunity to differentiate yourself further. Honestly, we prefer to use this speaker in portrait rather than horizontal mode for this very reason: limited counter space.
In any case, at least the smart screen is easy to set up via the Google Home app, although you will need to reset your voice pairing saved in Google Home if you want to use Duo video calls.
If you already have a Google Home device, setup becomes even easier, although you still need to register your device with a screen code feature that matches your phone’s app. The installation program gets an additional layer of intuitive design through the visual signals that the display can also produce.
Finally, privacy also seems to be among Lenovo’s top design priorities, with hardware shutdown buttons for the microphone and camera that correspond to software-level indications.
While it’s true that we don’t use our Google Home speaker much in the kitchen, the screen adds a completely deeper element to the experience. Being able to see the recipe why Google Assistant is guiding you in plain text, tapping the next step to not interrupt your favorite song is a very special benefit, but it’s a big problem when talking to Google Assistant gets tired.
The great thing about Google’s approach to visual design of the Google Assistant is that it allows you to enter commands via touch prompts for almost everything you could ask it to do with a ‘Hello, Google’. Being able to touch what Google Assistant wants to do it without conjuring the magic string of words is a welcome improvement.
That said, going beyond activating that feature with a tap usually requires your voice to finish the task. There is no keyboard function on Lenovo Smart Screen that we can find, which would be useful when trying to enter voice commands that the speaker doesn’t seem to understand.
Similar to Echo Show, the visual interface of the Google Assistant is primarily card-based, with various card-linked features that, when touched, expand to reveal its full functionality. For example, tapping the “Coming Soon” card opens the function for your calendar. If you want to add an event, the screen tells you which command to say after the callphrase.
The card system does a good job of inviting you to use the smart screen for different things. At different times of the day, a card simply known as “For your [insert time of day here]” appears towards the end of the available cards if you swipe left, suggesting the most appropriate tasks for the time.
Lenovo Smart Display Manual – As with Google Home, you can also create routines for Google Assistant to follow with certain commands. For example, you can set it to “good morning” to the screen by turning on your smart air conditioner or smart light bulbs, turning on the smart machine to prepare, and starting to run your brief morning news.
Navigation through the touch interface is largely self-explanatory. Swiping from the left side of the screen sends it back to the previous screen, and swiping up from the bottom evokes a setup screen. You can also use commands such as “Hello, Google: Go Home” to access the home screen.
Finally, the screen makes wonderful use of its gorgeous sharp images and wide viewing angles with various photo gallery modes for when inactive, including your own photos and professional artwork and photography. Because of the screen, we find that the Google Assistant is actually more useful and versatile. Frankly, this is the best kitchen TV if ever there was one in our house.
Introducing Google Duo voice and video calls to Google Assistant is huge for the platform. However, it is a bit difficult to set up as it requires resetting your voice profile with the service and giving up your phone’s contacts.
Then, of course, the video part of this feature only works when you call those with Google Duo installed on their phones or tablets, or other Google smart screens. Fortunately, voice calls work with any old, cellular or fixed phone number, and sounded fantastic in our tests, with excellent separation between the microphone and speaker audio.
The video looks colorful and crisp on the smart screen, thanks to the FHD+ display and the 5 megapixel camera. Naturally, much of the call quality depends on the connection force of the person at the other end, considering that most of the time they will be on LTE compared to their Wi-Fi.
Whenever you can convince your friends and family to install Google Duo, this is an excellent feature. However, having everyone in your life use the same app you use for video calls, which isn’t Apple’s FaceTime, is a Herculean task. At that point, it’s best that only FaceTime show her mother-in-law her new outfit for her son who sent her … unsolicited.
Lenovo Smart Display Manual – Music and video are probably the strongest suits in Lenovo Smart Display, as it was expressly designed to emphasize these features. The large screen allows excellent video viewing, even from strange angles, and the speakers are powered by large controllers with plenty of breathing space for a loud, deep and crazy sound (like Google Home Max).
The integration of Google Play Music is a bit rudimentary, it simply offers to play your playlists or whatever you can think of. The full screen player shows nothing but the card on the home screen, which is a missed opportunity. We should be able to slide down the tail or read letters using this stunning screen, but unfortunately.
YouTube integration isn’t much better, offering “Recommended” videos based on what you’ve seen in the past with your linked Google Account and subscriptions. There is no ability to browse YouTube for a specific video, and it is much harder to get to a specific video through a voice command than a song.
This may (and should) improve as the Google Assistant interface is updated, but it’s certainly not a great first sight. Of course, the screen and speakers make the video and music on Lenovo’s smart screen fantastic and more useful in its own right, more could be done here. We don’t need the full Google Play Music or YouTube experiences, but we need something closer and more personalized for screen-based Google Assistant speakers.
Google’s virtual assistant works great here. The microphones of the device are double matrix, which works quite well, but they are not far field microphones. It is an unfortunate oversight, since even around the corner of a shallow wall prevents the speaker from hearing our voice.
Comparatively, Google Home can listen to us from other rooms completely inside the house, and Amazon Echo Show also uses far-field microphones. Otherwise, the voice-controlled facet of Google Assistant is faithfully replicated here with a wonderful effect.
However, it is true that the visual portion of the service needs a little more time in the oven. Simply put, we need more touch interaction with the parts of the Google Play Music, YouTube and Google News interface. If the interface can conjure a blocked web browser window to explain what a giraffe is with Wikipedia, it should allow me to swipe my favorite Google Play Music playlists and YouTube subscriptions.
Beyond this oversight, Google Assistant is fantastic. The service remains the most versatile and advanced digital assistant out there, making incredible use of Google’s massive data repositories to look smarter than any other.
For example, when the Google Assistant on Lenovo Smart Screen is asked what a narwhal is, the visual interface shows what it considers to be similar questions to explore as touchable icons. They were unicorns. That should only explain how much more advanced Google Assistant is against its rivals.
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