Google's Nest Hubs and third-party Assistant Smart Displays have been receiving an update that vastly improves their smart home controls. Among the changes we spotted are live light status and scenes for Philips Hue and Lifx, new Shield controls, the ability to unlock your smart lock, plus controls for blinds, air fresheners, and vacuums. Other product categories may be updated too, but we don't have everything on hand to test with.
One of the best uses of the Google Nest Hub, Hub Max, or any third-party Smart Display (Lenovo, JBL, etc...), is as a smart digital photo album. I've already shared with you the steps to set up the photo frame plus tips to make the most of Live Albums, but there are a few new hidden capabilities that make it easier to interact with the photos once they're showing on your Smart Display. In this post, I'll explain how you can ask where and when a photo was taken, add it to your favorites, hide it, and share it directly with one of your contacts.
One of the most appealing uses of a Google Nest Hub or other Assistant Smart Display is as a photo album viewer. It plugs in to Google Photos and rotates through any album you want to view, providing you with (hopefully) good memories throughout the day as you pass by when it's idle. But static albums can be boring after a while, that's why you can make some live-updating ones so you never have to manually choose or change anything.
In the tutorial below, I'll explain how you can create dynamic albums that automatically add photos of specific people or pets in your life, then set them up to show on your Google Nest Hub, Nest Hub Max, Lenovo Smart Display, JBL Link View, or any other upcoming Assistant speaker with a built-in display.
If you're quarantined at home, you might enjoy the company of a smart display. It'll help you get through your day, cook, and stay in touch with loved ones. JBL's Link View offers excellent audio quality, combined with a front-facing camera and microphones, letting you enjoy a complete smart display experience. When it came out, the device cost about $300, but it's now down to just $100 at Best Buy.
JBL was one of the first companies to release a third-party Google Assistant smart display. While the JBL Link View certainly produces richer sound than any other Assistant display, the original $250 price tag was hard to justify. Now you can grab a refurbished unit for the low price of $69 from the company's eBay store. Nice.
In case you haven't heard, the stock market has taken quite a tumble in the last week or two, forcing tech companies all over the world to reconsider their financial forecasts for the foreseeable future. So far, this hasn't affected the number of deals that have come across our desks, but it could have an impact down the road. Nevertheless, you can help support some of your favorite brands by investing in the latest round of discounts from this week.
Although relatively new as far as smart home gadgets go, smart displays are beginning to chip away at the market share of their older, display-free counterparts. While the manufacturers of smart speakers and displays alike have attempted to squeeze the best possible sound out of these devices, it's hard to match the more than 100 years of audio experience that a company like JBL can bring to the table. As of right now, Best Buy has the JBL Link View available for the discounted price of $94.99 — its lowest yet.
Smart speakers with Google Assistant support are ubiquitous these days, but only a small handful of OEMs can claim to understand sound as well as those that specialize in audio equipment. That's why it's no surprise the first smart speaker with integrated display from JBL was built with a premium listening experience in mind. Right now, you can snag the JBL Link View at Best Buy, Harman, JBL for only $99.99 ($199.96 off).
Another year, another category of Google-compatible products has flooded the market. A few years ago, it was the Chromecast, then it was the Google Home and Home Mini, and now it's the Google Home Hub. With every first-party release comes a slew of third-party alternatives, boasting the same features, same integrations, same functions, but with different designs and prices. On paper, they should be equal to Google's, but time and time again, we've learned that they're not.
Never though have the lines blurred as much as with the Home Hub and its Lenovo and JBL brethren.
Google's Home Hub and the Lenovo's Smart Display might be the most popular Assistant-based smart displays this Black Friday — we figured the hardest decision people would have was between the two — but they're not the only Assistant-game in town. JBL's Link View is an option for those that prioritize audio over video. And if you want to pick one up for cheap, Verizon has it for just $150 right now. That's $50 less than any other retailer right now, and $100 less than MSRP.