The Best of CES 2017: Our 13 Favorite Products

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Lenovo Smart Assistant

Lenovo Smart Assistant

Smart speakers — Internet-connected speakers that can respond to voice commands — are the most gee-whiz category in consumer electronics today. Models like Google Home and Amazon Echo have already ushered in a strange new era of human overloads casually barking orders into the air and waiting for a servile artificial intelligence to respond with weather updates, movie factoids, or a change in lighting or temperature. It's all very amusing, until you ask for music and realize that these speakers actually suck as speakers. Here's hoping the Lenovo Smart Assistant fixes that embarrassing flaw. It runs on the same Alexa voice-control platform as the Amazon Echo, but the $170 version features Harman Kardon audio components, promising a major upgrade to music quality for $10 less than the Echo. That Amazon would let others freely use its software, and undercut its price, is proof that the company cares less about selling speakers and more about leading the revolution in ubiquitous voice-computing. [$170;]

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