Google Home Hub Review
With the recent breakthrough of the Amazon Echo Show, Google managed to pull its own home assistant out of the bag.
The Google Home Hub is a device meant to become a focal point of a smart home. Its abundance of features and integration with thousands of smart home devices make it a very interesting and somewhat futuristic tool.
In this article, we will take a look at the major selling points of the Google Home Hub and help you decide if it’s worth purchasing it as your own property helper.
At first glance, the Google Home Hub seems like a tablet stuck on a short speaker. The design is sophisticated and simple and wouldn’t stick out as a part of any interior. It’s small and lightweight, with the screen resembling a large phone display. So, you can tuck it somewhere unnoticeable or make it a highlight of the room. It fits well next to a computer, on a cupboard, and even in the kitchen.
The base of the device is comfortable and stable. The coating around the edges comes in four colors: white, black, pink, and baby blue. Each of the colors fits well with most interiors as they aren’t too glossy. You’ll find only three switches on it – a microphone mute switch, a volume control switch, and a power cord switch.
When it comes to the display, the screen has a 1024×600 pixel panel screen. Compared to the Amazon Echo’s 1200×800 pixel screen, it is just slightly behind. However, this screen has an advantage since the photos look crystal clear on a smaller display. On larger screens, the images may look stretched and of lower quality.
One major downside of the Google Home Hub is the lack of a camera. Google explains this decision as an effort to protect the privacy of the users, so you can place the device in your bedroom or bathroom and not worry about cybercrime and intruders. On the downside, this means that you can’t perform video calls or capture images.
Instead of a camera, Google included an ’Ambient EQ’ light sensor which automatically reduces the brightness of the screen if it recognizes a darker room. It balances the brightness of the room with the light inside, which allows it to seamlessly blend with the environment. Furthermore, it can automatically change the warmth of colors to reduce the blue light before bedtime.
You can set the Home Hub to display a slideshow of chosen images from any personal Google Photos album. It will showcase all the images that you upload to Photos, so you can always have a new set of cycling photos on display.
If you set the Hub’s screen to the main menu, it will display weather, time, and date. If you swipe it up, you’ll get YouTube video recommendations, Google’s top news stories, and Spotify songs (if you have an account). Your Google Assistant can also read the news bulletins, or you can play them as YouTube videos.
The Home Hub works perfectly with the Google Assistant’s smart ecosystem. It easily connects to all smart devices at home: smart TVs, lights, thermostats, and even security cameras and video doorbells. When someone rings the doorbell, the Home Hub can stream the front door video live and you can interact with your visitors via Google Voice.
With the Google Assistant, you can customize the screen and ask for any relevant information. If you want to check a location, the Hub will display a map, information, and reviews of the place. You can’t remember a cast of a TV show or a certain baseball team’s roster? Just ask, and the Google Hub will display it in a matter of seconds.
Another interesting feature is the cooking assistant, which brings you a visual step-by-step guide of any dish that you want to prepare. You can skip to certain parts of a recipe only with your voice, and you can set countdown timers when you bake or cook certain things. The YouTube feature is still not well-developed. Currently, the menu can display only three videos after your search. So, if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, you may waste a lot of time browsing.
The Home Hub’s speaker is implemented in the stand, and as you may expect, it isn’t on the high-end of the audio spectrum. Its size doesn’t allow it to have a piercing bass or ultimate clarity, but it works better than some previous instances such as the Google Home Mini.
If you want to listen to medium frequencies, the sound is clear enough and you can distinguish between the different instruments. However, if you try to push the volume button to the maximum, the sound quality will noticeably deteriorate.
This makes the Google Home Hub a solid bedroom radio or a source of background noise when you’re working around the kitchen or living room. Even if you can’t throw a mind-blowing party with these speakers, they are more than enough for your basic needs.
The Google Home Hub is an interesting and useful device, but it’s not for everyone. The primary demographic would be smart home aficionados who have a smart device too many in their apartments. With the Home Hub, you can interconnect them and keep control of all your smart lights, doorbells, cameras, etc. in one place.
It makes it easy to connect with the Assistant, provides you with radio and music, and allows you to watch YouTube videos and browse for various instructions.
If you mean to watch movies on it or turn up the music to the max, the small screen and speakers probably won’t provide a satisfying experience. However, for everything else, the Google Home Hub is a great investment.
Do you already own the Google Home Hub or the Amazon Echo Show? How satisfied are you with your home assistant device? Which features would you like to see implemented in the feature? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.