Google Home Hub vs Amazon Echo Show – 2018 smart display showdown
Arguably, the original Amazon Echo Show was the best ever Alexa product, neatly combining voice responses with images and video. It’s no wonder, then, that the competition has increased and the Google Home Hub is going up against the Amazon Echo Show (2nd Generation) and the smart display wars are really kicking off.
Here, we’re pitting the two against each other, using the current specifications. As soon as we’ve reviewed both products, we’ll update this article with our final thoughts and testing.
Google Home Hub vs Echo Show – Design
While the original Echo Show was rather utilitarian, the 2nd Generation product looks a lot neater. With a fabric rear cover, the new Echo Show feels much more like it’s been designed, and is far more stylish than the plastic covered product of old. The simple wedge shape is neat, too, and you buy the product in black or white. At 246 x 174 x 107mm it’s not a bad size, either, considering there’s a 10.1-inch display.
Related: Amazon Alexa guide
Yet, the Google Home Hub is a different product altogether. Its floating display sits on a fabric base, similar to those used in the other products, including the Home Mini. The Home Hub is available in four colours: sand, aqua, chalk and charcoal.
At 179 x 118 x 67mm, the Home Hub is a touch smaller than the Echo Show, although that’s mostly down to the smaller 7-inch display. To our mind, the Home Hub nabs it on the looks front.
Google Home Hub vs Echo Show – Screen
The Echo Show 2nd Generation has a 10.1-inch touchscreen with a Full HD resolution. That’s a step up from the original screen and makes it a better choice for watching streamed films and TV shows.
Related: Google Home vs Amazon Echo
The Google Home Hub has a smaller 7-inch touchscreen display, but the resolution hasn’t been announced. The display has a light sensor in it and can adjust the colour temperature to match the ambient light using the Ambient EQ feature.
Both devices can shut off the display at night, so you can have these smart displays in your bedroom without them waking you up.
Google Home Hub vs Echo Show – Cameras
Google has decided not to put a camera in its Home Hub, citing privacy as the main reason, so that people feel more comfortable placing its product in private places. Given the reaction to the Facebook Portal, you can’t help that think this was probably a wise move.
Amazon has a 5-megapixel camera on the front of the Echo Show, which is used primarily for video calling from Echo to Echo. If you like that kind of feature, you’ll be glad of the camera. However, it would be nice if Amazon had included a shutter to physically block the stream.
Related: Google Assistant guide
Google Home Hub vs Echo Show – Features
Both devices can play video, although the approach is quite different. Amazon has, of course, built-in compatibility with Amazon Prime Video, so you can browse and watch all of your streaming content. On the larger screen, this content looks far better and the Echo Show could be a handy secondary screen for watching video.
Amazon doesn’t have direct YouTube access, but that’s something that the Google Home Hub obviously has. This is more likely to make the Home Hub the better product for kitchen use, letting you watch recipe videos and the like.
For Photos, the Home Hub has the advantage, as it works with Google Photos, even cleverly showing only your good images, filtering out-of-focus and other poor-quality shots. The Amazon Echo Show supports Amazon Prime Photos, but far fewer people use this service.
Smart assistant features are roughly similar across both products. They can both read your calendar, give you weather reports, set multiple timers and the like. Google still hasn’t said that it supports GSuite accounts (paid-for Gmail), which is frustrating, as this is something that Amazon has supported since day one.
Google most likely has the advantage with the likes of Google Maps integration, showing you on screen the best route to take. Amazon simply doesn’t have access to a service of the same quality.
Google Home Hub vs Echo Show – Smart home control
Amazon was the first company to add touch controls for smart devices, adding direct control to the Alexa app. Rather than using your voice, you can use the app to turn on lights or adjust a thermostat’s temperature. Similar control can now be performed from the Echo’s screen.
Google was always playing catch-up but has managed that with the Home View. As with Amazon’s solution, Home View lets you remote control your smart home devices directly with touch. And, it’s not just on the Home Hub, as Home View will be available in the Google Home app, too.
Google has expanded its Nest integration. Now, when someone presses the Nest Hello, the Home Hub can show you the live video feed and let you respond with voice or quick responses.
Amazon has promised a similar feature for the Echo Show, with the Ring Video Doorbell 2 most likely the first product to support it. However, it remains to be seen if the Nest Hello will be compatible in the same way.
The Echo Show has a Zigbee smart home hub built-in, so you can connect smart devices directly without the need for extra hubs. For example, you can add Philips Hue bulbs without the need for a Hue Bridge. However, it remains to be seen how good the control is. When the Echo Plus launched last year with a Zigbee hub, Hue control lagged far behind that provided by the official Hue app.
Google Home Hub vs Echo Show – Early verdict
At £139 the Google Home Hub is considerably cheaper than the Echo Show. The price difference is most likely due to the difference in screen size. As to which product is best, it’s the subtleties of use that really let us choose the difference, so we’ll have to wait until we get final review products.
What we can say at this point is that the Google Home Hub is really bringing the fight to Amazon. With its lower price, great looks and improved smart home control, Google is rapidly catching up with Amazon. Yet, the wide support that Alexa has and larger screen on the Echo Show are a potent combination.
Related: Best Amazon Echo deals
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