It's the era of smart home, with various intelligent and app-controlled devices now available for your home: from smart cameras to smart thermostats and more. There are increasing ways to control and get these devices to talk to one another more intelligently, with Google Home Hub – the natural competitor for Amazon Echo Show – being the latest one-stop-shop from Google.
What is Home Hub?
- Works with Android, iOS, Mac, Windows and Chromebook
- 118 x 67 x 179mm footprint; 480g mass
- Colours: Sand, Aqua, Chalk, Charcoal
- Wi-Fi & Bluetooth support
- Google Assistant
The Home Hub is like a 7-inch tablet with stand and speaker built-in, which offers a visual display to control your smart home world and display content. There's Google Assistant built-in, so you can communicate with the power of voice, action your commands via the touchscreen, or combine a combination of both.
It's a lot smaller than the Amazon Echo Show and a fair bit cheaper too, plus there's no built-in camera so no privacy worries – although that also means no video calls like Facebook Portal (might be seen as a good thing, might not, depending on your point of view). There's a microphone off switch directly to the rear to cease the Hub from listening too.
The choice now is down to which system you're invested in: Amazon Alexa (not found here: go see Echo Show) or Google Assistant (as built-in here), the main two voice control assistants fighting for smart home dominance.
Google's system has advanced more over recent years, and with its acquisition of Nest, it's added doorbells, cameras, thermostats, smoke alarms and more devices into its ecosystem – all of which can be controlled via the Hub.
Display & Functionality
- 7-inch touchscreen display
- 1.5m power cable - always plugged in
- 6 months free YouTube Premium subscription
- Works with: Lights, Media, Broadcast, Thermostat, Cameras, Locks
The small form-factor of Home Hub makes it ideal as a night-stand style device, or perhaps a kitchen-bound product. As it's always wired into a plug socket this isn't a portable, so isn't to be thought of as a tablet: rather it's a control point for all your smart home goodies.
By default the display shows Live Albums, which can be sorted by auto-identified person from your connected gallery, while a swipe to the left goes to the dimmed-down time screen (like a night clock), while a swipe to the right brings up the main home screen.
This home screen displays weather, time and an active item, while a swipe down from the top loads your rooms and devices. It's possible to connect by categories, comprising Lights, Media, Broadcast, Thermostat, Cameras, Locks. That covers most bases.
Depending on your smart home setup that could mean monitoring the kid's bedroom while dimming the lights, or turning up the thermostat in the living room for a couple of hours.
Unlike Amazon, Google Hub offers YouTube access, with six months of Premium subscription included with purchase. That's an ideal pairing and a current loss for Amazon for sure.
The Google Home Hub makes perfect sense following the company's acquisition of Nest. With a wider portfolio of connected products available to buy, having a hub to control everything from is a logical next step.
That said, with the Google Home app on your phone you can control much to everything that's needed. Really, Hub is for a family home, where multiple members of the household can query and request actions.
Thus, if you've got the of relevant products installed, it's worth its cover price – and absent of any unwanted video calls/privacy issues, which is a hot topic for 2018.
Amazon Echo Show
The 2018 update to the original might not have YouTube, but it does have a camera and can do video calls. If you're invested into Amazon, Alexa and Echo then this is the logical choice for you – despite its added size and expense.