Google’s smart home products like the Nest Learning Thermostat, Nest Cam IQ and Nest Hello Video Doorbell all integrate with Google Assistant, Google’s voice-activated digital assistant. The Nest Labs division recently made an interesting announcement: Google is going to integrate the Nest products into the Google Home platform. Thus, Nest users will be able to access all their smart home devices with just one smart home controller, instead of the separate Nest device. Google unveiled the first generation of the Google Home in October 2016. Since then, a number of companies have jumped onto the smart speaker bandwagon with their own competing smart speakers. Amazon’s line-up of Echo speakers dominate the competition.
Just one minute after I opened up the Google Nest app, the Google Home Hub began streaming a canned clip of my daily commute. I was surprised at how well the speaker worked, as the speaker had a decent amount of power and produced a robust sound despite its relative lack of size. But the hub wasn’t designed to be used in the kitchen. While the smart display can display some recipes and commands in addition to what you can already ask the Google Home speakers, Google told me that the screen is mainly there so you can follow the step-by-step instructions of recipes or to control smart home devices without having to shout from the other room.
Nest Hub with the soft white fabric top cover. Light grey foam pads for a better grip on the touch screen. Light grey fabric around the bottom of the screen that you can remove for cleaning.
Setting up the hub is easy. You plug it in, connect to Wi-Fi and start the hub’s pairing process. If you have multiple Nest devices like thermostats, security cameras and smoke alarms, you just have to enter their names and passwords to set the hub up. Then all you have to do is say “OK, Google,” “Hey Google,” or “Nest” to control the speaker or device. It’s worth noting that unlike the Amazon Echo Show, the Nest Hub isn’t wall-mounted. You have to use a stand or wall mount to get the optimal viewing angle and the maximum bass. However, it is possible to move the speaker to various parts of the room to get a good viewing angle. The speaker sounds excellent. It produces a soundstage with decent depth and width and with more clarity than the Home Mini.
If you can’t spare the $249 for the full Google Home Hub and don’t mind the lower resolution display and lack of a camera, this Home Mini Mini alternative is worth considering. Shop Now Amazon Echo Spot Review The Amazon Echo Spot is designed to work as an Alexa alarm clock, answering the question “Alexa, what time is it?” with a 7-inch screen that offers haptic feedback to mimic your alarm clock setting. Thanks to a quad-core processor, voice recognition, and a Bluetooth connection, the device is also capable of showing a clock face, weather forecast, and the time on an eight-day calendar, along with hands-free calling and multiroom audio. You can also ask it to show you a photo or video. You can purchase this Echo Spot directly from Amazon for $130.
The Google Nest Hub is the best $150 smart display on the market. It’s powerful, efficient, and works with a lot of smart home devices. It makes finding and playing music to a Google Chromecast from your phone or the Nest app easier than it should be and makes it far easier than the Echo Show and Amazon Echo Show to control your smart home devices. So if you’ve already invested in a Google Home or a Google Chromecast, or are shopping for a new Google Home or Chromecast, the Google Nest Hub is a no-brainer. You’re going to get a very good experience, but you might not get quite as many third party app support as the Echo Show.