Google Home Hub comes up big as a smart home control center
This is the Google Home Hub.
It's Google's smart display, so the first thing you notice about this thing when you hold it in your hands is how tiny it is, look at this thing!
This is my hand and this is the length of the thing in its entirety.
Compared to the other smart displays we've seen this thing is miniscule.
So this thing is not a camera.
The other smart displays we've tested have a camera, but this is actually an ambient light sensor.
So as this thing shows pictures it can adapt the brightness of those pictures based on the light it's picking up These are microphones for your voice commands.
Here is a little mute button at the back.
This does have fairly big bezels goes around the screen which feels unnecessary and it's only seven inch screen still it's kinda cute [UNKNOWN] It looks like a little bit, like they took a tablet and they took a Google home mini and they sort of [UNKNOWN] them together, and so I'm gonna give you a cue, it has that fabulous back that's similar to Google home mini, like the mini is available in a few different colors.
And there's not that much else to say about this thing until we plug it in and see how it works, so that's what we're gonna do.
The Google Home Hub is available starting today for $150.
You can buy it in chalk, charcoal, aqua, and sand.
You can control the volume with this toggle on the back.
Otherwise use voice controls or the touch screen.
But this isn't google's first smartest way, not really.
Well, the smartest way in the abl link we both use google assistant.
We issue all the sync commands that you would to an ordinary google home smart speaker.
Even the way the touch screen works is very similar from one device to the next.
It comes in a handy for watching videos and looking at pics, you can watch live TV with YouTube TV.
It also shows more info if you ask about the weather, or search for a place to eat, search for a recipe and it'll show you a steps.
And you can scroll through them or multitask while you cook This touchscreen and Google Assistant are a pretty good combo if you're looking for kitchen help and that's the basics.
So is it good?
In short, yeah.
But the smart display landscape is becoming more competitive and strangely, this is Google's answer to this thing.
Look at these two.
The Echo Show could practically eat this thing.
Sill, I don't feel like these are being marketed to the same people.
And if you want something more like this, consider the Lenovo Smart Display.
They're roughly the same size, they're roughly the same price, and they both have cameras and this one doesn't.
The [UNKNOWN] sensor also works well, the pics look much more natural than on a normal screen that blares them like a billboard.
Google assistant will even find your best personal pics for your ambient screen slide show with a feature called Live Albums.
If I take a new pic and add it to my album of coworkers it'll show up on my screen automatically.
A couple of annoyances.
The integration with the Nest Hello video doorbell hasn't worked reliably for us so far.
It won't always announce who's at the door and show up on the screen like it's supposed to.
And even when it does, you can't talk to the person with your Home Hub.
That's a strange omission that I'd hope will be patched soon but it's still annoying.
Also, Google had a few oversights here.
Scrolling works well or not at all.
It can send directions to your phone but not if you ask directly for them.
And again, I'm sure most of these are gonna get fixed but expect to encounter an occasional annoyance if you buying this thing right away.
Now I've got to spend some time with it and really like all the new features packed into this tiny little thing.
Scroll down for a view of your smart home.
You'll see shortcut buttons here for common tasks.
These light show up based on the location of your home hub And you can tap here and see all of your smart home devices room by room.
It's really well organized and I really liked it.
So this whole view is going to roll out as an update to Lenovo screen and JBL screen as well but that doesn't take away from how useful is it.
The hob's a good fit if you want something smaller and more unassuming.
Given its size you could literally find a spot for it almost anywhere near a plug.
It has a fine mic and the sound quality is passable, but not nearly as good as the other smart plays we've tested, it's not even quite as good as the Google Home mini but that's about the level it's at.
So again, it's a different kind of smart display It's not the same premium behemoth as the others, but it's an affordable and cute smart home control center that'll fit into any room, and it fills that role very well.
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