Google Home Hub full review

While the Amazon Echo Show stood on its own in the smart display market for quite some time, recent additions from the likes of Google and Lenovo provide more choice for consumers than ever before. Two of the most popular smart displays are the Amazon Echo Show and the recently announced Google Home Hub – but which is better for your needs?

We break down everything you need to know about the Google Home Hub and Amazon Echo Show below, helping you decide which device to buy. For more information about Google's option, take a look at our Google Home Hub review

Pricing and availability

The second-generation Amazon Echo Show is now available to buy in the UK and the US from – you guessed it – Amazon. It’s the most expensive Alexa-enabled device sold by Amazon at £219.99/$229.99, especially when compared to the relatively cheap Google Home Hub.

Though the Home Hub isn’t out for a few weeks, you can pre-order the smart display for £139/$149 via the Google Store and retailers like Currys PC World for £139 in the UK. That makes the Home Hub £80 cheaper than Amazon’s offering, though it doesn’t offer quite as many features as Amazon’s smart display.

We’ll go into that in more detail below.

What are the main design differences?

The Google Home Hub and Amazon Echo Show may perform similar tasks, but they vary in terms of design.

The 2018 Echo Show boasts huge improvements over its predecessor, including a larger 10.1in display and generally improved form factor that puts more of a focus on visuals, rather than audio. It’s a single slim plastic-and-material unit offset at an angle for optimal viewing from a tabletop, and is kept upright by an angular body on the rear.

That’s not too dissimilar from the Google Home Hub, although it is generally smaller than Amazon’s offering due to the inclusion of a 7in display. The display looks tablet-esque, complete with visible sensors above, and is held up by a fabric-wrapped base that adds a bit of character to the overall look. Like Amazon’s option, the Google Home Hub is also slightly offset to provide a better viewing experience when looked down on from above.

Google Home Hub

In terms of specific measurements, the Google Home Hub measures in at a relatively slimline 118 x 178.5 x 67.3mm and 480g, while the Amazon Echo Show measures in at a larger 246 x 174 x 107mm and a whopping 1755g. It’s hard to ignore the sleek form factor of the Google Home Hub with dimensions like that.

The biggest difference in terms of design, apart from the materials and size of the display, is the omission of a camera from Google’s offering, especially when you’ll find one front-and-centre on the Amazon Echo Show.

There’s logic behind it, as Google wanted users to feel comfortable using it in the bedroom, but it also means that there is no support for any video calling services. This is an area where the Echo Show excels, as the built-in camera provides a quick and easy way to video chat with other Show owners, and soon, contacts on Skype too!  

Could Google not have simply included a privacy slider that you can use to cover the camera when not in use?

Which has better features and specs?

The Google Home Hub and Amazon Echo Show broadly offer the same features and services, though there are a handful of differences that you should consider before taking the plunge.  

First up, and though it may seem obvious, Google Home Hub offers Google Assistant, while the Amazon Echo Show features support from Alexa. Android smartphone users would benefit from Google’s option as it’ll use data from your Google account and Assistant to provide you with useful information, while Echo Show owners will likely have to set everything up from scratch.

The benefit from this is that Google Assistant will provide more accurate and personal information, like traffic for your usual route to work, or delivery notifications from your connected Gmail account. Google arguably has more of a reach than Amazon’s Alexa, which could give it the edge in providing a personal experience.

It’s also worth considering which platforms your friends and family use; both offer the ability to connect with other devices, so make sure that you get an Alexa-powered device if your friends and family all use Alexa, and vice-versa.

As mentioned above, one of the biggest decisions between Google Home Hub and Amazon Echo Show is the lack of a camera on the Home Hub. Admittedly it’s not a feature that everybody would make use of, but we’d rather have one and not use it, than not have one and need it. Users of the Echo Show are able to video call other Alexa devices, and it’s due to support Skype soon too.

One area where the Google Home Hub excels is, unsurprisingly, YouTube. While YouTube was initially available on the Amazon Echo Show, Google pulled the app in 2017 and it hasn’t made a comeback since. You can access a wealth of YouTube videos on the Google Home Hub, allowing you to listen to the latest music or watch cooking videos while making dinner, and to help entice consumers, Google also offers six months of ad-free YouTube Premium free of charge to sweeten the deal.

YouTube will help you take advantage of the single speaker output of the Google Home Hub. Google claims that the Hub features a single full-range speaker that’ll provide ‘crystal-clear’ audio, though Amazon’s offering seems to trump that in terms of spec. The Amazon Echo Show features dual 2in neodymium stereo drivers alongside a dedicated passive bass radiator that provides high-quality, room-filling audio.

Both Google Home Hub and Amazon Echo Show can control a host of smart home accessories, though Google’s partnership with Nest may give it the edge in ultimate smart home control.

As well as being able to control your smart devices via Google’s product, the hub will also display a live feed of your smart doorbell whenever somebody rings, and allows you to reply too. Amazon does offer similar functionality, but it only provides live feeds when prompted, and not when needed.

There are other differences, of course, but those are the main features to consider. For a complete side-by-side breakdown of specs, take a look at the table below.

 

Google Home Hub

Amazon Echo Show (2018)

Built-in Assistant

Google Assistant

Amazon Alexa

Display

7in display

10.1in display

Colour Options

Sand, Aqua, Chalk, Charcoal

Black, White

Dimensions

118 x 178.5 x 67.3mm

246 x 174 x 107mm

Weight

480g

1755g

Speaker

1x Full Range speaker

2x 2in neodymium stereo drivers, passive bass radiator

Camera

No

Yes

Connectivity

Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0

Wi-Fi (MIMO), Bluetooth

Free trials

Six-month YouTube Premium trial

None

Early verdict

There's no denying that the Amazon Echo Show is a great device, and it has impressive specs on paper too. But with that being said, even without a camera, Google's Home Hub boasts services that could snatch the smart display crown from Amazon.

We'll be sure to deliver a final verdict once we've spent some time with both smart displays. 

Google Home Hub: Specs

  • Google Assistant
  • 7in LCD touchscreen
  • 2 far-field mics
  • Light sensor
  • Dual-band 11ac Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Full-range rear speaker
  • 178x118x67mm
  • 480g
  • 15W
  • Colours: Sand, Aqua, Chalk, Charcoal
  • Google Assistant
  • 7in LCD touchscreen
  • 2 far-field mics
  • Light sensor
  • Dual-band 11ac Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Full-range rear speaker
  • 178x118x67mm
  • 480g
  • 15W
  • Colours: Sand, Aqua, Chalk, Charcoal