The Google Home Hub is Google’s very first attempt at a Smart Display and fuses the powerful functionality of the Google Home with a display for yet more use-cases. We’ve already seen a few Smart Displays from brands such as JBL and Lenovo, but unlike those options, Google’s first party design follows the design language of pre-existing Home devices and actually looks like something you would want in your home.
It has a sleek, minimalist look that means it blends into your surroundings rather than being the focal point of a room. Couple that simple design with a display element and it means your Assistant provides visual cues as well as audio feedback, and you get your info quickly at a glance in any room of your house.
The 7-inch touchscreen display sits atop a powerful base speaker that would likely be a worthy upgrade over the existing Home and Home Mini audio experience, but that display makes all the difference to how you use this new Assistant-powered option. The two color options aren’t, in reality, all that different. That’s thanks to the fact that both devices have a white display trim. Personally, I found the white / gray model to be much more attractive up close, but the charcoal / black option is still a great looking Smart Display.
With a slightly smaller footprint — thanks to the pedestal design — the Google Home Hub doesn’t take up quite as much space on a surface it’s sitting on. The screen seems to hover above a table or desk rather than planting itself to the surface, making it seem more minimal — at least in my opinion. I like the design and was suitably shocked at just how small it looked when compared to the other Smart Display I’ve tested — the JBL Link View.
Unlike some of the other Smart Display options out there already, the Google Home Hub doesn’t actually include a camera, which means no video calling. I personally feel that it’s a bit of an oversight as although this first party option looks arguably the best of the current crop, it lacks a key feature. Although this clearly was due to privacy and comfortability concerns, if you want video calling with your Assistant built in then you’re probably best to look elsewhere.
The addition of a touchscreen might not seem like a major improvement over the Home Mini and the standard Home, but as I mentioned, those visual cues to requests provide that little extra information you might not realize you needed. It also allows for Home View, the new Google Home Hub feature that gives you control of all your smart devices.
As I mentioned in my review of the JBL Link View smart speaker, I foresee the Google Home Hub being a great tool in the kitchen environment or even as a bedside companion. Being able to get those all-important visual cues when using Assistant features is something that will most definitely become a powerful tool in the kitchen environment but I’d have to say it’s equally at home wherever you place happen to place it.
We don’t have a massive array of Smart Display products available just yet, but overall the Google Home Hub already seems to be the best all-around option. I love that it simply blends into your room, the design has been carefully considered as have some of the key features. Being able to choose photo albums to display on the screen in a slideshow is something that makes it more of a home decor option rather than a speaking screen hidden somewhere in the corner of your room, Google should most definitely get credit for that.
One area that is disappointing is the power cord, which might limit where you can place the Google Home Hub, although the device can still hear you — much like the other Google Home devices — from quite a distance. That being said the cable length is likely more than adequate for placement just about anywhere — within reason, of course.
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