Google Smart Home HubGoogle’s Nest Hub is a modern speaker with a illuminated screen and voice control via Google Assistant.
The smart display is only 18 x 12 x 7 centimetres and weighs 480 grams. It also fits on a narrow shelf and is more compact than, for example, the Lenovo Smart Display (8 inches).
A 7-inch panel dominates the front of the Google Nest Hub, which is unfortunately framed by a wide frame. Hence, the Nest Hub does look unmodern – but the low price has to come from somewhere.
The designers have made the best of the limited resources available for the Google Nest Hub. The fabric design used in all of Google’s hardware products looks valuable. Where plastic is visible, the surface is matt moreover it does not feel cheap.
Besides, attention was paid to a closed and attractive back so that the Google Nest Hub can also be placed freely in the room. On the backside, there are a discreet volume rocker and a switch to turn off the microphone. Since these physical buttons are often unused anyway (voice can adjust the volume), this positioning makes sense.
The good quality does not show any conspicuous features, which makes us very happy owning a Google Nest Hub.
Thanks to the 7-inch screen, Google’s Nest Hub is pleasantly slim. The speaker is not as bulky as Amazon Echo Show 2 but offers more screen than the small Amazon Echo Show 5, so it fits everywhere. Visually, the Nest Hub is appealing because of its typical colour. It is available in white and dark grey. There efficiently is only one connection – for electric power. Sadly, it is impossible to supply the Nest Hub with a USB stick or operate it without electric power.
Despite compatibility with streaming services like Spotify and YouTube Music, the Hub is unsuitable for music playback. At least the two microphones — meaning that several microphones work together — function well. The Smart Display responds instantly to voice commands.
Smart home control
Instead of a movie player, Google undoubtedly sees its Nest Hub more as a smart home control centre. You can conveniently control compatible devices like smart lamps and smart thermostats by voice or touchscreen. You can see the image from Nest security cameras on display. Given the focus on smart home functionalities, it seems logical that Google takes over the Nest brand for its home products and merges the two lines.
As mentioned earlier, it would be pleasant to produce a standard because we are entirely equipped with Xiaomi (see test).
Google Services on Demand
Google services are undoubtedly at the forefront of the speaker: users access Google Maps, Google Calendar or Google Photos. If desired, they can seamlessly combine several functions into routines. The Nest Hub switches on lamps and heaters on the good morning command, reads out the weather forecast and then the news.
The screen adequately supports the information with appropriate displays, for example, traffic data with a map with red traffic jams – very practical. The Nest Hub’s advantages also come into play in the kitchen: if desired, it reads out recipes from various portals illustrated and step by step. You set the pace yourself with “O.K. Google, go on!
Furthermore, Google Nest Hub enable you to watch your favourite Netflix episodes just next to you. This with Crystal clear picture and fairly good sound.
A camera is missing
If desired, you can place phone calls via the Nest Hub – but only via the “Google Duo” service and only with other “Duo” users. A camera for video calls is not integrated. On the one hand, the Amazon Echo Show and Lenovo smart display devices have their noses in front there.
Hence, to prevent the assistant from pricking up its ears every time it says “OK, Google”, you can switch off the microphone on the back of the device.
Having never used a Google smartphone, I needed some time to manage the desired setup. For instance, replacing the sliding pictures was not as instant as thought. Prominently, since we wanted to provide one of the Google Nest Hubs to our mother-in-law and to share pictures during the Covid-19 lock-down.
Its 7-inch display, the less than a CHF 90 Nest Hub, is suitable for everywhere. There is on top of that room for improvement in terms of sound, but it is sufficient for messages and cooking instructions. En passant, you can get the Amazon Echo Show 8 for the same money. Hence, the smart screen scores with a more generous display, available camera and better sound.