Get a new digital helper with this interactive Google Nest Hub device. Its 7-inch touch-screen display lets you view today's reminders, stream videos and watch your smart security camera's footage through Google Assistant. The built-in speakers and microphones of this Google Nest Hub device have far-field voice recognition for convenient hands-free control.
Help at a glance
Google Nest Hub helps you make the most of moments at home.
Command your day
With Voice Match, get your calendar, commute, reminders, and more right on the home screen. You can even watch the news, make a shopping list, and place calls to friends, family, and local businesses.¹
Simplify your smart home
Voice control compatible lights, cameras, TVs, and more from a single dashboard. Works with Nest and 5000+ smart devices from 400+ popular brands.
7-inch touch screen
View more information and content at a glance, clear and crisp.
Answers for any moment
Ask questions and get visual, immersive answers from Google on weather, recipes, local business information, and more. You can even watch helpful videos from YouTube.
Play your favorite songs
Use your voice to play your favorite songs, albums, artists, and music videos from YouTube Music. You can also listen to Spotify and Pandora. All available free.
Relive your memories
Use your voice to show any picture you've ever taken in Google Photos. And with Live Albums, always view the latest photos of loved ones.
Add a Nest Aware subscription
Starting at $6 a month for all your Nest cameras, speakers, and displays. Nest Aware gives you more video history and alerts that matter.
¹ Calling available for US and Canadian domestic calls only, not including 911 calls and premium numbers.
Google Nest Hub Smart Display with Google Assistant
==== Summary ====
Google has created a really good smart display hub system that combines a sharp and vibrant 7" screen, a decent music speaker, and a smart artificial intelligence program (the Google Assistant) held together by an interface that expertly blends sight, speech, and touch controls. It is fun to use, simple to control, and offers powerful automation control options for a home equipped with smart devices & appliances. It can also serve as a delightful picture frame. Best of all, the pricing is just right ($150) making the Google Hub accessible to most people. It's a Win from Google.
-Clean, minimalist design that blends easily into most settings.
-Sharp, responsive, and colorful touchscreen.
-Decent sound quality for its size.
-Far-field microphones work well & reliably.
-Google Assistant is smart and responsive.
-Smart Home controls (e.g., lights, TV's, security cameras, thermostat, doorbell, etc).
-Routines (multiple automated tasks) are easy to setup and use inside the Google Home app.
-Via “Voice Match” technology, up to 6 different people can create their own custom Routines.
-No video camera/webcam (good for privacy).
-The Hub makes for a lovely picture frame.
-Comes with 6-months of free YouTube Premium.
-The Hub needs to be plugged in all the time - no rechargeable battery inside.
-I wish there was an onscreen keyboard for YouTube music & video search.
-In a pitch-dark room in ambient clock mode, it's difficult to tell the time (unless you're really close-by) because the screen becomes too dark.
-Can't cast Netflix videos to it.
==== Design ====
I find the design of the Google Home Hub to be clean, simple, and unobtrusive. The Hub, with its 7" LCD touchscreen framed by a white front bezel and a fabric-textured charcoal stand in the back, is able to fit in easily and naturally pretty much anywhere in the house (e.g., desk, nightstand, kitchen counter, dining room table). The white rubber mat on the bottom of the stand is super grippy and prevents the Hub from moving around and easily falling over.
The screen is nice with its sharp and vibrant colors and the viewing angle is good as well. The ambient light sensor on the top middle of the frame does an excellent job adjusting screen brightness and reacts quickly. If the default auto-brightness is too bright or too dim for you, you can adjust the Ambient EQ auto-brightness level from the Google Home app (Settings -> Display Settings -> Ambient EQ). From there, you can also control other settings such as Screen Timeout, Screen Color Matching, and there is an option to show the clock during low light.
Also on the top frame of the screen are the two far-field microphones that does an excellent job picking up your voice commands easily from across the room. The Hub always picked up on my prompts and commands reliably. Speaking to it in low volume worked just as well. Should you want to disable the voice command functionality, there is a toggle behind the screen you can slide to Off which is a nice touch.
The microphones and the speaker performed satisfactorily together during phone calls and the voices came in and went out clearly.
Behind the right edge of the screen is the volume control button that goes from 0 (silence) to 10 that is tactile and easy to locate. Although the speaker is small, it gets loud enough to entirely fill out a small- to medium-sized room. Music playback was pretty decent although, as expected, bass is weak and the soundstage is limited. It is no replacement for a quality bluetooth speaker. Audio quality can be slightly adjusted inside the Google Home app where you can set Bass and Treble levels between -6dB to +6dB. Your music won't become super fantastic all of a sudden but the inclusion of these settings is still appreciated. For what it is, however (a smart AI display), the Hub is good enough for me for casual music listening and streaming videos.
Some other notable hardware features inside the Hub is the inclusion of Bluetooth 5.0 technology, 2.4 & 5 GHz Wifi capability, and support for multi-room audio sync and playback with other Google Home enabled speakers (such as my JBL Link 10).
The Hub is powered via a power cord tethered to the wall and has no rechargeable battery inside, which is a slight disappointment. It would've been nice to temporarily unplug it and carry it around with me around the house. I'm hoping for third-party companies to quickly release battery base mods so I can turn the Hub into a portable smart display.
All in all, the Google Home Hub is a very well-designed smart display system with many thoughtful touches and good hardware.
==== Control & Navigation ====
There are two main ways of interacting with the Google Hub - via touch or voice - and both methods worked very well. The screen is very responsive to taps and swipes and all the animations and transitions are smooth and fluid. A single tap wakes up the display from its slumber clock mode into its ambient mode. Another single tap takes you into your "home screen." From there, you can swipe from left to right to go back into ambient mode or swipe from right to left to view your Reminders, Calendar events, News, Music, Videos, and more.
Swiping up from the bottom of the screen reveals some convenient shortcut settings - the Ambient EQ brightness setting, Volume level, Do Not Disturb Mode, and a About Device screen. Swiping down from the top of the screen reveals the "Welcome home" or "Home View" screen where you can control all the smart devices around the house such as smart light bulbs, speakers, thermostat, etc. There is also a "Broadcast" option which allows you to say something and have it played back across all the connected speakers around the house like an intercom system. Very neat.
The second major way of interacting with the Hub is via your voice and this method, too, worked very well. Just speak "Hey, Google or "Ok, Google" and speak out your query or command and the Google Assistant responds back quickly. Simple and powerful.
The only control option I wish the Google Hub had included was an onscreen keyboard. Having a keyboard would’ve made searching for music and videos more precise and easier. Hopefully, Google will add an onscreen keyboard in one of the future firmware updates.
To sum it up, Google did a fantastic job with the control options. Everything worked well without any hiccups.
==== Functionality & Usefulness ====
The brain behind the Google Home Hub is the Google Assistant AI software and what a powerful tool it is~! The list of things that Google Assistant can do and perform is too numerous to list in this review. Instead, here are two links that showcase some of the capabilities of the Google Assistant - one from Google and one from a popular news site.
For me personally, I find Google Assistant to be very helpful for the following things in my life - playing music and music videos, setting up Reminders and viewing my calendar entries, getting weather forecasts, creating shopping lists, having the news read to me, setting up alarm clocks, viewing my family photos in Ambient Mode, making hand-free phone calls, quickly finding recipes in the kitchen, getting restaurant recommendations, and turning on and off my smart home devices (e.g, light bulbs, TV).
I do wish, however, for a little bit more. As of right now, the Google Hub cannot send text messages and for some reason, Netflix movies does not work although it is listed inside Settings as a supported “video service” that can play videos. Casting from other video apps such as Tubi and Hulu, however, worked just fine.
Despite these somewhat minor gripes, I feel confident that the Google Hub will continue to be improved steadily by Google and new features will be added in the short- and long-term future.
Overall, I’m excited and enjoying the convenience of having such a smart AI assistant nearby that can, in addition to speaking back answers to my queries, also show me videos, make phone calls, control my smart devices, and act as a wonderful and dynamic photo frame.
==== Closing Thoughts ====
For ~$150, the Google Home Hub is a fantastic product with great value. It has a clean and pleasing design, the AI component is brilliant, the screen is vibrant and clear, and the powerful automation and smart home control features are well-integrated & highly functional. It also doesn't take up too much space, easily blending into almost any environment inside a home. The Hub is an excellent creation from Google that I highly recommend.
The Google Home Hub is much like its older relatives, the Home and Home Mini, but adds a display that allows you to get more information out of your queries, provides a gateway to other Google Assistant capabilities that would otherwise only be available from your phone, and gives you a Hub to your smart connected home environment. These additions make the Google Home Hub the best iteration yet..
The unboxing experience is quite simple. In the box is a 15 power adapter and the Hub, itself. I was a bit surprised to see that the Hub does not use micro USB or USB-C. Rather, it uses a DC Power Jack. In the grand scheme of things, this device doesn’t need to connect to other hardware via USB, so it perhaps makes sense why they chose this approach. The plastic film wrapped around the display was more difficult than I’d have liked—definitely a con for this unboxing experience. It’s nitpicking, but I definitely found it annoying.
The setup process is mostly headache free. You’ll need to use the Google Home App from your Android or iOS device to perform the setup process. If you’ve ever performed a setup for a Chromecast, the Hub’s display will run you through the same process. Thankfully because of the display, you won’t be left wondering if you’ve done things correctly; rather, both the Hub and Google Home app will guide you through every step of the way to connect to your Wi-Fi network and even perform a bit of a tour regarding some of the capabilities of the Hub.
So now you’ve got your Hub set up on your Wi-Fi network! What exactly can you do with it? Well, lots! But here are some of the things I have performed with my Google Home
Ask for nearly any bit of quantifiable/numeric information (e.g. how tall is Michael Jordan?).
Ask yes/no style questions (e.g. Is Tesla a publicly traded company?)
Ask broader questions (e.g. who is the CEO of Google?)
Set timers, alarms and reminders.
Get step-by-step recipes at your own pace.
Stream Music over Spotify, Pandora, Google Play Music, YouTube Music and more. Google Home can even stream to a Bluetooth Speaker in your house if you configure it to have a ‘Default Speaker’ from the Home app.
Get the latest news from popular news outlets like NPR and CNN.
Play games that utilize your voice—different in comparison to most touchscreen games.
Control/view your connected home devices like smart lights, switches, thermostats, cameras, appliances, sprinkler systems, robot vacuums, speakers, cast devices, and more.
Order food delivery via supported companies like Starbucks or Dominos.
Request an Uber to your house.
Shop for products that are available on Google Express.
This list is by no means exhaustive, and I’m sure these capabilities will grow over time, as well. I won’t delve into all the concrete details for these capabilities, but I will say that many of these capabilities have a visual aspect in addition to their auditory aspect. The ‘Google Home’ series was originally just a smart connected home speaker without a display, so many of these capabilities were originally designed to work with just speakers, but as Google Assistant has made its way to our phones and TVs, more visual capabilities have been added, such as viewing your Google Assistant-enabled cameras, watching YouTube and even seeing multiple kitchen timers—an absolute godsend.
MY USAGE (In the kitchen):
With the addition of the touchscreen, I can now view and control many of my smart devices like my thermostat, doorbell, and smart lights.
Being able to have step-by-step recipes that are both visual and auditory makes the Hub an excellent addition for those looking to spice things up in the kitchen—which is my preferred area for the Hub. And since I’m a multi-tasker in the kitchen, I often need timers, so the new display is excellent for setting multiple timers, naming them, and also seeing their status so you can anticipate your next movement. And if your hands are clean, you can control them on the touch screen, or opt to use your voice to acknowledge the timers as they go off.
While I’m cooking in the kitchen, I’d normally listen to music on my Home speaker or watch YouTube videos on my phone, but now I can do both of these things on my Hub thanks to its loud speaker and 7” display.
As far as sound is concerned, the Hub isn’t meant to compete with your Google Home Max, soundbars or other speakers. It’s really meant to be functional and decent while doing it, and it does just that. I appreciate that it is loud and clear, but it doesn’t carry the musicality I’d personally want due to my audiophile needs. The average person will be happy using it for music, but those accustomed to more expensive audio performances will likely use those systems for listening to music. And thanks to the the built-in Bluetooth, you can configure your Hub or any other Home speaker to play music on a nearby Bluetooth speaker instead of its own speaker. Since I keep a high performance soundbar near my kitchen area, I can ask my Hub to play music and enjoy music on my soundbar instead. Just set a ‘Default Speaker’ for your Hub via the Home app.
The display is only 7” and has a resolution of 1024x600, so it’s not meant to replace your television, but instead acts as a tool for helping you out while you’re home. It gets plenty bright and also dims very well so that way it isn’t constantly illuminating a space where you’re currently vacant. It has an ambient light sensor that detects the light in the area and will automatically brighten/dim to match. The touchscreen hasn’t had any issues for me. Overall, I’m satisfied with the display, considering the price.
The Google Home Hub is perfect for a lot of situations—it’s up to you to choose how you want to make use of it. I find that the Google Home Hub is meant to be used in a place where you spend a lot of time—and for me, that’s in the kitchen. But even more so, it’s meant to help you be productive, organized, informed, and entertained. And the Hub does all that with not only clear audio, but also with bright visuals. For me, it’s made my kitchen a more productive environment, as well as more fun.
I have had the Google Home Speaker and really enjoy the amenities it has and all the smart home functions it provides. I decided to try out the Google Home Hub as I thought having a screen would really improve my experience and overall I am very happy with the experience! I'm not going to talk about all the features that a Google Assistant has but rather what makes the Google Home Hub different:
- First impression out of the box is that it's really not big at all! Takes up very minimal space on a counter or table and the screen is not much bigger than a smartphone. I like this style - I want it to feel out of the way and just apart of the room rather than a big eye sore. That being said, it does stand out! The screen is clean and crisp and the overall style is simple and modern.
- Set-up was really easy with the Google Home App. The Hub then shows a brief video on how to use it and it's easy.
- A debated choice Google made was not putting a Camera on this Home Hub and I am perfectly fine with it! If I ever want to video chat I would rather use a phone, tablet, or computer which is much more versatile than a stationary smart display. Plus I like that I don't have to be worried on the camera being hacked.
- The display is very useful! You can change the settings to display a clock, pictures that Google hand picks, or pictures directly from your phone. When asking the Hub questions, it's just a nice feature to have the results pop up on the screen. Showing your drive in, what music is playing, what the score of the game is, or even brings up YouTube videos of what you want to see. If you are a visual learner it just really hammers home the point.
- The quick options on the screen you can tab are nice. That way you can change the lights or the temperature with the tab of the screen if you want to control it that way.
- I think the trade off between the $150 Google Home Speaker and the $150 Google Home Hub is speaker quality vs having a screen. The Home Speaker has better sound even though it's nothing spectacular. The Home Hub still has a nice sound but it definitely is not as good as the Home Speaker but I like the option of having the screen better. Also for $150 for either Smart device, I would not expect amazing sound compared to the $300+ competitors out there.
- As of this reviews, Google does not have support for any video apps besides YouTube or YouTube TV and a few others. This is disappointing given Google's flexibility in the past. I just think the Hub has huge potential in being your kitchen media center where you can watch live news or Netflix while cooking, etc.
- A lot of the device's settings can only be change through the Google Home App. You would think with a screen they would give you more options to adjust settings from the device itself.
The Google Home Hub is a well priced Smart Display that adds another dimension to your Google Home Speakers. If you like your current Google Speaker or are wanting a Google Smart Speaker with some extra benefits of having a display - this is a great purchase and will be a welcomed addition to your home!
I would recommend this to a friend
Rated 5 out of 5 stars
A More Personal Smart Display
I really like the Google Home Hub, but not necessarily for the reason I thought I was going to. Having already owned a Google Home and Home Mini I thought one with a touch display to control and watch videos on would be a nice addition. It turns out the screen ends up being a bit more utilitarian in practice, but it works really well and is an excellent display for my hundreds of photos that have been locked away on my phone all these years.
The Home Hub has a nice build. It’s much smaller than I expected it to be, even knowing it only has a 7” screen. It doesn’t take up much more space than the standard Google Home. The box is just the display and a power cord.
Setup was as short and easy as it has always been through the Google Home app; the app will automatically detect the Home Hub and guide you through the setup process of connecting to WiFi and logging in to your Google account. I was a little surprised that the setup couldn’t be done on the display itself, but I guess it keeps it consistent with the other Home devices.
Once the setup is finished you’re brought to the main home screen that shows you all the normal Google Assistant stuff; weather, traffic, news, etc. It’s all personalized to you, so it will show things like your commute to work and stories based on your search history. It’s something I’ve become well accustomed to using Nexus and Pixel phones over the years, so it wasn’t anything to new for me. There’s a pull-down menu on the top that will allow you to control everything you’ve connected to Google like smart thermostats, lights, security cameras, and Chromecasts. I all of these things in my house and they control very easily once they’re all connected to your Google account. It’s nice to have onscreen controls for the lights and thermostats; calling out to Google by voice to adjust these things still doesn’t feel 100% natural to me.
Outside of those activities there isn’t all that much to do on the screen. It’s a good-looking screen, though at 7” it’s not that much bigger than a lot of smartphones, so you have to get up close to it to really see anything. You can watch YouTube videos, but nothing on other services like Netflix or Hulu. I’ve found that I’m able to Cast YouTube videos to the Hub, but my other video apps do not show it. It seems like this was an intentional choice by Google to make the Hub more of a display for visual information, not some kind of stationary Android tablet. It’d be nice to a least have the option to Cast to the Hub, but for me I’ll probably just be using this to look up short YouTube videos.
As an assistant the Hub works pretty much like the other Home products, with the added benefit of a display. Looking up places will bring up maps with directions and phone numbers on the screen and factoids usually come with a nice picture too. Even though there’s a touch screen, there isn’t an onscreen keyboard, so voice is still going to be the primary input for the Hub. The microphones do a good job of getting my voice from across the room as well. The speaker quality is just okay; it’s better than the Home Mini, but it’s more suited to videos and not music. It can be linked to a Bluetooth or Cast speaker, but on its own it’s not the best.
When the Hub is not doing anything might be my favorite thing about it. If you keep your photos in Google Photos the Hub becomes a really nice digital picture frame. The app gives you a few different ways to display. The first one will just have Google decide which pictures are good ones and display those, which I found myself using and it worked really well. It can also display pictures that contain certain people. Or, you can choose specific albums you’ve created and have it display those. I have a lot of photos, but I’m not very good at printing them; my wife once told me if someone broke into our house they’d have no idea who lived there, so having something will actually display all the pictures that usually just live on my phone turned out to be a huge plus. And since it’s pulling everything from your photos library you don’t need to go in and add new photos since it will just do it for you based on what you’ve chosen to display. The ambient light sensor also does a really good job of adjusting the brightness and color balance to match the room. It makes the display look kind of dull at first glance, but then it starts to feel more like a real picture frame in that it’s not this super bright screen shining out across the room.
Overall I’m really happy with the Google Home Hub. It’s not perfect; if I could I would give it 4.5 stars, but I’m more inclined to round the score up than down.
Don't get me wrong when I say it's a great add on to our kitchen accessories. By accessories, I meant gadgets we use for listening to or watching while working in the kitchen. We already have a Google Home and Insignia's Smart Bluetooth Speaker with Google Assistant but the feature that tempted us to get this Google Home Hub was its screen. I know there are some other similar gadgets available in the market but it was first of its kind for us and moreover, its from Google and you can't get wrong with Google. So we got it without even a second thought and are happy that we did. We've been using it for little over a week and it hasn't disappointed us so far.
It has a quivering 7" display screen which our both other devices lacked. It may be small for some but is good for us. It's smaller as compared to Lenovo's 10" or other competitors. Set up was breeze and took no time from start to finish. I immediately connected my other smart devices and everything was up & running. I love that you can display your google photos on the screen. My 3 yo son is addicted and jumps in joy when he sees his pics displayed on the screen. If nothing else, it can serve as a picture frame.
-Smaller Foot print: We live in an apartment, so have a very limited space. This Google home is just about the size that we need and put on our kitchen counter. Its incredibly lightweight as well
-Display Screen: You get a display screen along with the speaker which can be used to watch youtube videos
-Customization: The screen is fully customizable. You can choose to display the clock or your pictures. It can display the temperature or even the maps
-Automatic Dimming: Google home hub has an ambient light sensor, (that by the way can be mistaken as camera) that adjusts the brightness of the screen according to the ambient light which is a great feature if you have it in your bedroom. It will automatically dim the brightness the moment you turn off the lights
-Affordable: With the price being $149, although it's a bit expensive than other smart devices from Google but it's definitely cheaper than the same family devices from its competitors like Amazon Echo Show or Lenovo Smart Display or JBL Link View
-No Camera: It does not have a camera, so that means no video chatting. But looking from a different perspective, it's good to not have a camera, so you have no privacy issues at all. Use your phone or tablet for video chatting
-No battery: This is the most important feature that I miss in this device. It does not have a battery, that means you will have to plug it in all the time. I can't understand why this wasn't made wireless. The only reason I can come up with is the footprint. Google wanted to make it as small as possible and that might have been the reason for leaving the battery out
-Decent sound: The sound is not that great on this device. You will be better off using your other devices if you are an audiophile but for simple sounds, it serves the purpose. It's fine if you want to listen to background music, but it's not particularly loud or crisp. Unfortunately, the sound quality isn't in the same league as other smart displays like the Amazon Echo Show or the JBL Link View.
-No Netflix: You can't stream Netflix on this device. The only streaming app is Youtube and that's what you will have to live with
-No Onscreen Keyboard: There is no on screen keyboard. So you will have to rely on Google assistant to find whatever you are looking for. If its something in English, there hardly will be any problem but if you are searching for something in foreign language, then good luck hitting the bulls eye or getting anywhere close to it
With so many cons mentioned above, I am still in love with my Google Home Hub. I can live with all above cons but the "no battery" one. We don't live in a perfect world and every gadget has its pros & cons. I'm sure Google with come up with a modified version. Overall, I am satisfied with this and will definitely recommend it to my friends.
I think they are asleep at the wheel in Cupertino, CA (Apple's headquarters) - This thing is AWESOME! Even my wife loves it - She uses it to follow along with recipes. It's hooked up to my NEST cams, thermostat, Roomba vacuum, Hue lights - Wow! I like this so much that I ended up getting another to place next to the couch..Mainly for the doorbell feature, and then a Google Home Mini. Sound quality is good enough. You can turn up the bass in the app, but trust me, you're not getting bass...Just a bit better sound, but I can live with it - It's not terrible quality and definitely good enough for the kitchen. My favorite feature is when the doorbell rings - It immediately switches to the doorbell feed and if it knows there person it also announces their names. I have this synced to Pandora and it plays music perfectly. As I mentioned, I'm a huge Apple person, but this kills Siri - The Google assistant knows so much - My wife and I were testing Siri / Google and Siri just cannot get basic things correct. I'm replacing my HomePod and getting Google's speaker (Home Max) instead, since Siri is a massive paper weight that does nothing but play music. Oh, coolest feature, you can have up to 6 users AND IT RECOGNIZES THEIR VOICE!!! So what's cool is in the morning is shows your route to work and what's on your calendar - I love that - Was simply to export my iCal to Google. BUY IT! You'll love it! P.S. Apple, you have a lot of catching up to do - WAKE UP!
I would recommend this to a friend
Rated 4 out of 5 stars
I've been smart home advocate/adopter for a couple of years.
The Google Home Hub is trying to hit a price point... I have several smart speakers with and without displays. Some small and others pretty large. The new Google Home hub is trying to find a place as 3 or 4 smart devices. First as a smart hub, that can talk to your other smart home devices. Well it's in it infancy, and it can't do enought yet, I'm sure it will improve, but until it can completely replace what other more established hubs can do, I don't suggest trying to change.
You'll find some devices do not offer the same functionality they did else where, specifically I use motion detectors to turn on/off multiple switches/lights at the same time at different times of day. This just can be done (yet). In addition the new Google Home update, to support the home hub, needs more work to allow configuration by room as well as by device. Its user interface does not yet allow you to define your rooms and what in them, versus adding devices and defining what room they are in. In addition devices that have multiple functions (thermostat with temp/motion sensor) can't be configured as devices that work together. I spent quite a bit of time trying to get things to play nice with each other. Finally I realized their software did not yet support the level of integrataion I desired (currently used).
Second it's a speaker, but here you have to discuss the sound quality. No real spec's on what in the device, other than a full range speaker. Well it's better than the smallest smart speakers, but not better than anything else, especially compared to other smart speakers with displays. BTW, you can use the Home Hub as BT speaker (I would not), but it's another potentially useful function.
Third as a smart, cloud based, picture frame. The 7" screen is quite nice once you get it adjusted properly. The Google Home Hub has a ambient light sensor (like many phones do now) that adjusts the display's brightness based on the amount of light in the room (and time of day). This, they claim, improves the quality of photos displayed. You can "Tell" google home to turn up the brightness, after doing this a few times your've got a good looking display (or you can swipe up from the bottom of the display to manually adjust the brightness or volume). The integration of of Google Photo's with the device is it's hightlight. I had about 20K images already uploaded to Google Photos; when setting the device up as a photo frame, you are presented with a set of friends/family faces to select to determine what photos will be displayed on the frame (plus those taken most recently). This is a great feature, I've rediscovered pictures I scanned from decades ago. If you want a 7" cloud based digital picture frame this is a winning combination. Now that said I wish it offered a larger display (10+"). Another cool feature is you can ask the display to show photos from a specific event or time.
It pretty good displaying recipies that it finds on the internet, althought you'll have to be pretty close to the device to read the display. An it's great at offering timers to use with the recipies. This is clever.
And fourth as a smart display. A bright spot is it's integration with YouTube, which also includes content filtering. As for news/entertainment choices there is a good seletion, but by no means complete. I really wish it integrated as smart display so that I could display My DirecTv on the device, but it's not an option, and you can't cast to the device (yet). But the device can play to any of chromecast device you have (I have 8 in my home), including "backyard" speakers, I can simple say hey Google play Pink Floyd on the Backyard speakers, and it will find Floyd in my google play library (25k songs) or from another streaming source, and boom there is music in the back yard! I really like casting, it's sounds so much better than BT. The device automatically recognised all the devices I previoiusly had set up on Google Home.
The other thing that I must point out is that the Google Home Hub does not have a camera, so you can't use it for video calls (this also helped in hitting the lower price point), or be spied upon. But you can use it to make phone calls if you've linked your phone to your Google account (and enabled calling). It makes a really nice speaker phone (if you don't have a lot of background noise (like a TV on)).
So, another smart device, that does some things very well, and others, well, less than perfectly. In Google's favor most of what's wrong has to do with needing to improve their software, it's smart home integration is over a year behind some of it's competitors. But if your just getting started it's fully featured smart hub that provides a lot more than just hub functionalty. It's on screen display of the home devices is really nice when getting started. But if you looking to do something more sophisticated, wait for their software to mature, no telling what will be added/changed in the months to follow.
I already had a few Google devices (Google Home and Mini). So, I was really excited to see what more they could do with a screen. The truth is you can't really do that much more. The screen adds as much frustration, as value to the experience.
- Simple design. Quality feel.
- Basic screens savers options contain an endless stream of beautiful art. Be careful, it is not all PG rated and there is no filter for this.
- Scrolling photo display from your Google Photos is a cool feature - it is like a cloud linked photo frame. Be careful here too, because it will display anything in the album you select (i.e. old girl friends).
- You can search your Google Photos for a person or thing and it will display. You can pull up a picture of your car, your dog, your kid, or Jim (if you tagged him in Google Photos).
- Lighting control menu lets you dim your smart lights at night without having to speak (great for sleeping babies).
- Potential for growth. Google will continue to improve this device.
- Sound quality is slightly lower than the original Google Home; bass is lacking. It is still acceptable.
- It is not an Android tablet on a stand. You are saying I know that – no big deal, but it is something that will be an issue for many. Some examples that drive me crazy: no on-screen keyboard, no web browser, no google maps, no selectable apps.
- The included apps are pretty, but don’t add much info over any other Google speaker. weather selected from the touchscreen is still read aloud and there is no radar, no pop-up list or searching by keyword, and detailed directions are sent to your phone.
- No camera = No video chats. This is clear, but why - even cheap Android tablets have hangouts and a camera.
- Limited streaming sources. Unless your device can cast – you can’t view it.
- Finding videos and music is difficult if you aren't exact - only 5-10 options are shown if Google doesn't understand. No option is given period if Google thinks it is right - it just starts playing.
- Only has a menu for smart lights – other smart devices are not displayed, even though Google works with them and a control can be brought up on screen by requesting a change by voice.
- I had a few weird errors in testing that required a reboot (i.e. menus getting stuck). There were also a few times when I selected an option from the on-screen menu and Google answered “I can’t help with that”.
This device works as good as the other Google devices by voice. It adds some pretty graphics, smart lighting control, and is probably the best photo frame you can buy. Some might argue that as a super smart photo frame and lighting control it has value, but it just wasn’t enough for me.
A:AnswerThey both have their uses. I have both, I use both. You can use Alexa to get to Cortana, and use Cortana to get to Alexa. You can use Alexa and Fire TV to quickly view Arlo Cameras. Both integrate well with Wink Hub 2 based smart home devices, and can do so at the same time. It would be nice to get all the smart speakers and displays to play the same music together synched regardless of if they are Google or Amazon based, but that's probably never going to happen. If I had to pick one, I'd pick Alexa because of how many skills they have for it. But I don't have to, because they coexist quite well.
Play your favorite songs
Use your voice to play your favorite songs, albums, artists, and music videos from YouTube Music. You can also listen to Spotify and Pandora. All available free.