Google Home Hub vs. Amazon Echo Show: Smart Display Showdown

Image Getty Images

Image Getty Images

This is a major update to the usability of the Home app that up until now had little operational use aside from managing your Assistant account and paired devices. And as users of these products, we collectively expect it as well.

The new Home tab is what you'll see upon open the app, and here you've got quick controls for toggling your smart lights on/off, playing music on any speakers or audio groups, broadcasting a message, adding an item to your home, or diving into the settings. It's still pretty basic in some ways-I can control my Hue lights' brightness but not their colors, from what I can tell-but they're moving it in the right direction. Lastly, as mentioned previously, Google Assistant is now accessible from the Google Home app itself.

Let's see how these first-party smart displays compare. This will make it less desirable in the kitchen, especially. (The Lenovo Smart Display has a physical shutter on its camera, and an off switch for its microphone, for privacy purposes.) That is nonsensical. Rather than using one of the hardware platforms that Google certifies for other manufacturers, the Home Hub uses a processor from Amlogic.

Google Home v2.6 is rolling out to the Play Store now, so be sure to check and see if you've got the update waiting for you.

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Other than that, there's really just not a lot to say about the Home Hub. When configured, the Hub knows which room you're in and provides information on temperature and lighting as well.

Separately, the Google Home support page has been updated to support playback speed controls for news and podcasts. But this software will be made available on other smart displays. You'll also find easier access to the Google Assistant button, as it has been snuck onto the Google widget.

It is, put simply, a smart display. And not a very compelling one at that.

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