"I could just do that with a tablet!" That's a comment I got a number of times regarding the new Lenovo Smart Display, which is the first in a line of products running Android Things. It's basically a Google Home speaker with a touchscreen attached. And it's a pretty good product, even if it's not perfect, and certainly not one of those things that you just have to have in your home.
OK, the even shorter version: It's Google's version of the Amazon Echo Show.
It's been interesting to see just how many reviewers also enjoy using this sort of thing in the kitchen. It's a great secondary display, for sure.
But it's not necessarily the easiest. And it's not necessarily the best option for a cord-cutter when it comes to watching TV where you cook.
If you want easy, and you want more usefulness, you'll want to turn to a tablet. And against my better judgment I'm not going to say it has to be an iPad. (Though if you want a good tablet, it probably should be an iPad.) But it's hard to turn down a 10-inch Amazon Fire HD 10 that tops out at $205. You might not be able find every app that's available on an iPad (or on Fire TV OS, for that matter), but you should be able to come close. A lot of that is going to depend on what it is you want to watch, and how you want to watch it.
And there's no denying that a tablet gains usefulness because of its portability. Watch TV in the kitchen. Then watch TV on the patio. Or on the porch. Or on the lanai. Or any other sort of place that basically means deck. A device like the Echo Show or a smart display (remember, lowercase means any of the products in that category, of which Lenovo's is the first) just isn't meant to be moved around that much. You can do it, sure, but it's not the same as being "portable."
There are arguments against the tablet scheme, though. When you've got a semi-permanent setup like a smart display, you always know where it is. (That is, your kids probably didn't borrow it to watch videos in their room.) You don't have to worry about it being charged, because it's always plugged in. And there's a decent chance you might have better wifi reception, too, with more room for beefier hardware.
Is there a single right answer to all of this? Nope. You can chose to use what you want to use, and spend what you want to spend. You'll get different results with all. A Fire HD 10 is a more economical solution, but you won't get the same experience. The Lenovo Smart Display sits there and does its thing — and does it very well — but you can't easily take it without you. Pros and cons for each, to be sure.
And choices are always a good thing.
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