Google Home Hub is the latest entry in the smart home product market. Unlike other products in the family, this one has a display and packs versatility in features as opposed to Home, Home Mini, and Home Max. The product is comparable to Lenovo Smart Display and JBL Link View. However, it is the cheapest out of the bunch and that might not be a bad thing. For a cheap price, Home Hub has plenty of features and is perhaps the most discreet when it comes to privacy.
The Google Home Hub is a 7″ tablet-like device that runs on voice and touch inputs. While it is similar to offerings by Lenovo and JBL, it does not include a camera which should help alleviate some privacy concerns. Instead of the camera, the device has an ambient light sensor to adapt the display to the current light setting of the room so that you don’t have blue light keeping you awake at night.
In addition, the device has a very sleek look that might just camouflage itself naturally as a digital photo frame. The fine fabric finish gives it a distinguished yet sophisticated look, giving it a premium look and feel. Throw in native Google Assistant features such as search, maps, YouTube videos and of course smart home control and you have the complete package.
Here’s a look at some of the reviews to help you decide whether the Home Hub is worth buying or not.
Gizmodo ran into a lot of problems with third-party devices working properly with Home Hub. In one instance, their Sonos speakers refused to connect with the Hub due to lack of support. Another instance was when Adam, from Gizmodo, asked the Home Hub to play Spotify on the TV but the command never registered.
Adam Clark wrote:
“So if anything’s clear, it’s that the Home Hub is a great chef’s companion. I also love it for basic smart home stuff, like lights and smart plugs. The home entertainment side of things needs some work, and Google might handle with a software update. That said, this gadget still feels like the future, as frustrating as tomorrow sometimes seems.”
TechCrunch ran into lesser problems with the Hub as they used supported devices and talked about the features that could have been on the device instead. They comment that Home Hub is a great first entry for Google and pairing proprietary hardware with their own search assistant is a match made in heaven.
Brain Heater wrote:
“There are still a number of kinks to work out and some features the company ought to mull over for generation two. But on a whole, it’s a strong first entry for Google in the smart screen space, and one that’s mostly worth the wait.”
Engadget appreciated Google’s understanding of privacy with the exclusion of the camera from the device and complimented the display. They also agreed that the design aesthetic made it feel like a natural home product rather than a forced tech product that sticks out like a sore thumb. They chimed in with some critique saying that the device could be too small for users and that the sound quality was just passable.
Dan Seifert from the Verge used Google’s products with the device and ran into little to no problems when using them with Home Hub. He did have a lot to say when talking about the display and the poor audio quality. His favorite aspect of the device was the ambient lighting feature that made him call the Home Hub the ‘perfect digital photo frame’. He loved the native Google Photos integration that let him decide what series of pictures would should show on the screen.
Dan Seifert wrote:
“Of all of the devices in Google’s family of Home products, the Home Hub has quickly become my favorite. It’s a great little smart home controller, great little smart speaker for alarms and timers, and a near-perfect digital photo frame to view all of the thousands of pictures I’ve stored in my Google Photos account …”
Ron Amadeo’s biggest gripe was the device’s one-way communication. Despite having support for Google Podcasts and YouTube, there are no alerts for new content being available for either. Users still have to manually search for it or face Google’s recommended stream of content. He also goes on to say that the Home app is unorganized and Google needs to have a second look at the app to make improvements for it be more user-friendly.
Ron Amadeo wrote:
“I really think cheaper is better here: despite the price tag, the Home Hub still feels like a quality product.”
Overall, the Home Hub seems like a home-run for Google, but there is still a long way to go for Google when it comes to ironing out compatibility issues with other smart home products. Luckily, these issues can be fixed via software updates. If you live in a Google compatible ecosystem of devices and services, Home Hub is a no-brainer.