I enjoy the Google Assistant. I don’t do life-changing things with it, but it does make life easier. That made me excited for the Google Home Hub. It’s Google Home with a display. We knew it was coming and got to see it at the MadebyGoogle event in October last year. So we have migrated from smart speakers to smart displays with Google Assistant.
Design and Build
The Google Home Hub doesn’t have a large footprint. The 7-inch screen stands on its fabric-covered speaker. You’ll notice the microphones on the top bezel. The display has a resolution of 1024 600. Behind the display, you’ll find the microphone off switch. It’s a plain looking device. Large bezels, no camera. Google wanted you to feel comfortable using the Home Hub in the bedroom because it didn’t have a camera. I completely understand that, because if it did have a camera I’d cover it anyway. The interface of the Home Hub looks like the latest update of the Google Home app. It’s running Android Things. If you swipe down you’ll have some settings options. If you have smart bulbs or cameras, you can control them from there. You won’t find access to the Google Play Store, so obviously you can’t add Android apps. The layout is simple and easy to navigate.
Experience and Features
Features: As a person who uses glasses, the Home Hub can be too big or too small, depending on how far I am from it. I have moved the Home Hub a couple of times depending on if I really need it. In a small apartment like mine, the size of the Home Hub is ideal. The focus on the Home Hub is the display, but the speakers do a decent job too. It sounds louder than the Google Home Mini. Sometimes I do wish I could video chat directly on the Home Hub. I mostly use the Home Hub to ask random questions, add things to my calendar, check the weather, and search things on YouTube. Something I didn’t know was missing, was viewing my calendar. It’s nice to see it and not stop to pull out my phone. You can also use it to broadcast messages across your home.
Smart-home Integration: I can’t maximize my use of smart home integration with the Home Hub because I live an in an apartment. My smart-home capabilities go up to smart bulbs and switches, nothing more. But, if you have a smart camera, you can see who’s at the door when the bell rings right on the Home Hub. It lets you know how many of your smart bulbs are on. It’s features like that which make the Home Hub, small but useful. I do love that the Home Hub dims out on its own. I’m very sensitive to light and usually keep my devices at low brightness, to begin with, so I appreciate it when it tries to fade into the background. Of course, you don’t have to be a smart-devices maniac to enjoy the Home Hub. Simple things like following a cooking video on YouTube while cooking or showing certain albums (Hey Google, show me pictures from my trip to the Dominican Republic), since it works with Google Photos’ Live Albums feature, are cool too. Different times call for different uses. It works with tons of smart devices. It would make a great command station if you’re heavily into IoT. You can see what the Home Hub works with here.
The Google Home Hub is a good combination of voice and touch control. It has already gone on sale, so you’ll find it for more affordable prices. I think it’s great for a kid’s room or a family room. You can vary the use each time. If you’re a person who video-chats often you may want a smart display with a camera, such as the Lenovo Smart Display. The Hub is available in four colors, charcoal, aqua, chalk, and sand. You can buy the Home Hub at the Google Store.