Interested in a Google Home speaker but want something a little fancier? You think smart displays are cool for video cameras are creepy for your home? The Google Nest Hub just might be for you.
Google Nest Hub Overview
Earlier this year, Google changed the name of the Google Home Hub to the Google Nest Hub as part of efforts to rebrand its smart home lineup. At its core, it is a smart assistant, like a Google Home or Google Mini, with a display. The display adds a lot of functionality that makes it a very capable smarthome hub. Let’s dig into specs and features.
- 7″ touchscreen display (7.02″ W x 4.65″ H)
- 802.11b/g/n/ac (2.4Ghz/5Ghz) Wifi
- Bluetooth 5
- Far-field microphones (to pick up your commands easily)
- Ambient light sensor
- Colors: Sand, Aqua, Chalk, and Charcoal
Google Nest Hub key features
I’ve previously gone into detail about what Google Assistant the Google home can do in my smart speaker review and in an article helping you choose between the Google Home and Amazon Echo. Instead of repeating all of that, I’m going to focus on the things this smart display can do or does differently than its smart speaker equivalents.
Google Assistant with a display
A lot of the extra utility of this device over its smart speaker cousins comes from simply having a display. When you ask it a question, you often get visuals on the screen to accompany the voice-related answer.
Ask for the weather and get a visual forecast:
Ask for a lasagna recipe and get links to lasagna recipes:
Additionally, you can ask about people, places, and more and have information displayed in addition to a voice response.
When you ask the Google Nest hub to play a song, you’ll often get the lyrics on-screen, which is a nifty feature to figure what the songs your kids are listening to are really saying (you may not want to know).
I remember the days when I thought buying a digital photo frame was a great idea. It was always a pain to get keep photos updated on these displays. I had to copy photos to an SD card and make sure they were in the right orientation, put them in order, etc.
Well, those days are long gone. The Nest hub makes this dead simple with integration with Google Photos. You simply go into the Home App and select which albums to display. Then as these albums are updated the items on the display will be as well! If you have a Chromecast, you’re probably already familiar with this feature.
One really nice thing about the Google Photos app is the Live Album features. You can create albums that update automatically when Google detects certain faces in a picture. You can also create a dynamic “recent highlights” album where google auto-selects what it thinks are your best recent photos. These albums can automatically be displayed on the Google Nest Hub.
The Google Nest Hub is the best photo slide frame I’ve ever had. Not a day goes by that I or someone in the family doesn’t take a minute to watch the photos, as they stay fresh.
Speaking of the Chromecast, you can cast Youtube videos, HBO Now and many other streaming services (except Netflix) to the screen. The Nest Hub can also play a YouTube video without any casting. Just ask it to!
Smart home control
The Nest Hub is a great display for controlling your smart home. You can control lights, switches, locks, thermostats and more from the touchscreen. It is like having the Google Home app in a touchscreen display.
One thing I found was that some smart devices did not show up on the display unless I organized them into rooms in the Google Home App. The smart display also allows you group and control smart devices by room. For instance, you can turn on or off all the lights in a room at once.
Overall, I found the Google Nest Hub to be a great addition to our house. Its greatness is in its simplicity and utility. It seamlessly serves as a smarthome hub, a voice assistant, a photo display and a music/video display. It’s simple to set up, and often is on sale for a very good price.
If you are more into the Amazon ecosystem you can check out the Echo Show. If you want something bigger, check out the Nest Hub Max, which is a 10″ display with all the same features + a video camera for video conferencing. But for my money, the Nest Hub is the best smart display.
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