Smart displays are very similar to smart speakers in that they have many of the same functions, but as you might surmise, they have a screen. It’s helpful because when you ask for the weather report, as an example, you’ll be able to see all the details for yourself. This model is small enough to be useful on the nightstand or kitchen counter (and there is no camera). It can also track your sleep, though the feature was in beta when we tested it and wasn’t very polished.
The benefit of having a camera on a smart display is that you can make video calls with friends and family. On the Nest Hub Max (8/10, WIRED Recommends), it works through the Google Duo app. This display has better speakers than its sibling above, and a larger screen that makes it nicer for following recipes, and if you ever need it to pause an alarm, timer, or song, just show it your palm—handy if you’re in the kitchen and don’t want to touch the screen.
Smart Home Deals
The new Nest Cam is in our guide to the Best Outdoor Security Cameras, but it works just as well indoors. This one is battery-operated, so you can place it pretty much anywhere (within range of your Wi-Fi network), and the battery only needs to be recharged after a month or more. When you need to charge it, you can just take it off the mount—it attaches magnetically. The 1080p video quality is solid, and the motion alerts are seamless. You can pay for a Nest Aware subscription ($6 per month) so it can learn faces, have access to a 60-day event history, and more. The corded version is also on sale for a significantly cheaper $80 ($20 off).
We haven’t tested this version of the Nest Doorbell yet, but it adds HDR and night vision. The sun or streetlights won’t blow out the image and ruin your footage. You can get alerts customized for people, packages, animals, and cars, and you can talk through the doorbell when you’re not home.
We have not tried this model, but we’ve tested and liked previous Nest Thermostats. You can control your home’s heating and cooling system from your phone and set schedules. It can remind you when to change your filter, and it can detect when you leave the home to turn on Eco mode to save energy.