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Google Home Hub review: Google’s small smart display is the one to buy

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Quick verdict: The Google Home Hub offers a convenient visual and voice-driven way to interact with Google's services as well as enjoy YouTube content.

  • Unobtrusive design
  • Surprisingly good speakers
  • Works seamlessly with YouTube
  • Easy operation of smart home appliances
  • Small display
  • No camera means no video calling
  • Can't cast video to its display

Google introduced its concept for smart displays back at Google I/O in May, with companies such as LG, JBL and Lenovo offering up their take on a combined display/smart speaker device.

Google unveiled the Google Home Hub at its Pixel 3 launch event, and it's a very different take from those earlier devices, with a smaller screen, no camera and a very distinct style.

It's not quite a must-have proposition – you could arguably cover much of what it does with a cheap Android phone and a Bluetooth speaker – but as a complete unit to either set up a smart home or add visual value to an existing Google Assistant-using household, it's a joy to use.


Design

  • Smaller than you'd think
  • Screen has good visibility
  • Choice of colours

Performance

  • Wide sound output
  • Great microphone pickup
  • Works well for background music streaming
  • Small screen doesn't lend itself to lengthy YouTube binges

Verdict

Verdict

  • Nicely built
  • Intelligent use of video
Google Home Hub
Should you buy it?

Where the Amazon Echo Show 2nd Gen impressed me with its hardware, the Google Home Hub feels like more of a complete package, even without video calling. It responds more intelligently than Alexa to queries in the main, fits unobtrusively into most home environments and offers either a nice finishing point to an existing smart home speaker set-up or a great starting point for those wary of the complexity of voice-only smart speakers.

Alternatives

Smart displays are still in their infancy in Australia, with the majority of smart displays shown off at I/O still to emerge. If you're a Google Assistant-based smart home, the Google Home Hub is pretty much your only bet at the time of writing.

However, if you're using Amazon's Alexa, you have a pair of options. You can opt for the similarly small Amazon Echo Spot or the considerably larger Amazon Echo Show 2nd Gen.

You could achieve much of what the Google Home Hub does with a Google Assistant-based smartphone and simple Bluetooth speakers, although you wouldn't get quite as elegant an overall package if you did.


What the other reviewers say

SiteCommentScore
SMH"...it could be the perfect fit for baby boomers who don't already own smart speakers, aren't too hung up on sound quality and like the idea of a digital photo frame."N/A
PC Mag"The small, affordable Google Assistant-powered Home Hub smart display is functional and convenient, but won't impress anyone with its sound quality."3.5/5
Digital Trends"Google's Home Hub is a great way to keep tabs on your smart home."3.5/5
TechRadar"Cheaper than an Echo Show and, arguably, even better"4/5

Pricing and availability

Price

RRP $219

Where to buy


Specifications

Google Home Hub

General

Screen Size
7 inches
Camera
No
Voice Assistant
Google Assistant

Connectivity

Bluetooth Support
Yes
Wireless Network Support
802.11b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz/5GHz)

Audio

Speaker Information
Full-range speaker
Streaming Support
Spotify (free)
Spotify (Premium)
TuneIn
YouTube Red
Google Play Music
Deezer
Audio Out
No
Microphone Array
2

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