In the next few years, the majority of online searches are expected to be voice searches. Digital assistants have evolved at a very rapid pace and are reshaping how we interact with our phones and with (smart) appliances at our home. (Google Nest Hub Review हिंदी में पढ़िए)
Google was one of the first big players to bet big on voice and its Google Assistant is certainly the most advanced out there, especially when it comes to understanding regional accent and dialects. Google naturally wants its Assistant to be everywhere you need it to be, and hence has been locked in a fierce battle with Amazon to take a lead in terms of market share across different countries.
The end result has been a series of interesting Home or Nest Hub devices. The latest to launch in India is the Google Nest Hub that has a display and adds a visual dimension to your Assistant interactions.
The Google Nest Hub has a very reasonable price and will be competing against Amazon’s Echo Show 5 (review) and the upcoming Echo Show 8 in India.
Google does have the smartest assistant, but a good home hub is a lot more than just that. We’d say, the hardware and interface pitch in equal value to the overall experience.
To get to the bottom of things, we have been extensively testing the Google Nest Hub in different rooms at our home for several weeks now. So, without much ado, let’s share our experience in our Google Nest Hub review.
Google Nest Hub Review: Setup
Over the years, Google has made setup process for Android TVs, smartphones and Assistant-powered IoT devices really simple and seamless. It took us just a couple of minutes and our Nest Hub was up and running.
For setup, all you need is the Google Home app on your phone and a stable internet connection. Just connect your Nest Hub to a power outlet and follow the simple instructions to get done with the setup process.
ALSO CHECK: Amazon Echo Show Review (2nd gen)
Google Nest Hub Review: Design
The first thing we noticed was that the Nest Hub felt much smaller than what we had expected cycling through Google’s marketing material. It is still bigger than Amazon’s Echo Show 5, though.
The Nest Hub design can be described as a canvas on an easel. The display sits at a slight upward angle glued to a fabric-covered speaker that doubles as a stand. In India, users get to choose between two fabric colors – chalk and charcoal. For this review, we have the Chalk variant with us.
The display has symmetrical bezels all around. Above the display, there are two forward-facing microphones with an ambient light sensor sitting right in the middle. Unlike the Amazon Echo Show 5, there is no camera on this Google smart display – which should perhaps make people more comfortable placing it in their bedroom. You may still call friends using duo on Nest Hub but they won’t be able to see you.
The Nest Hub has a ‘DnD’ slider switch that mutes the microphone electronically. There is a volume up-down button at the back and it’s quite easy to miss. You can navigate the nest hub using basic touch functions, but the interface is designed to work best using voice commands.
Just as all smart home hubs, the Google Nest hub requires constant power input. It doesn’t have a battery and is not meant to be a portable speaker.
So, overall, the Nest Hub looks awesome and should fit in perfectly in all homes.
ALSO READ: Google Home Review
Google Nest Hub Review: Display and microphones
Since the Nest Hub essentially is a ‘Smart Display’, the display expectedly takes center stage. The 7-inch screen has 1,024 x 600-pixel resolution and the size makes it just apt to be positioned in your bed-room, living room or your kitchen. A 6-inch screen would have made it a Smart Clock, and perhaps an 8-inch or 9-inch screen would have made it a bit too distracting in the bedroom.
Quality-wise, we’d say that the display has a slight edge over the Echo Show 5 screen. Of course, there is room for improvements and it wouldn’t be wise to expect quality similar to what you get on contemporary mobile phone screens.
The lush green foliage in our Mussoorie vacation images, for instance, didn’t appear as lush or as green, but for a screen that you’d view from a distance, the quality is fairly great.
The Touch response is similar to what you get on the entry-grade smartphones.
Ambient EQ aka ambient light sensor on the Nest Hub is something that elevates that display experience further.
The Ambient EQ light sensor automatically adjusts display brightness, color tones according to lighting in the surrounding. This is quite helpful at night, as the display turns black as you turn lights off before you hit the bed, but during the day we found ourselves bumping the brightness manually very frequently.
What we loved the most here is the digital photo frame feature. It is Ambient Mode It requests you to choose between your Google Photos, Art Gallery, and Full-Size Clock. Nest Hub lets you create a personalized slideshow using images from your Google Photos. The algorithms work beautifully and we cherished going back in time and being reminded of sweet stuff from the past.
This works only if you store your photos on Google cloud or Photos app. But if you do, this single feature alone might make the Nest Hub worth it.
The dual microphones on the Nest Hub can easily catch your voice prompts in a close range. But the Nest Hub doesn’t respond as well when you shout at it from across the living room. It must be mentioned that the Google Home faired much better in this regard.
Google Nest Hub Review: Performance and Audio
The Nest Hub smart display primary does almost everything that it is supposed to do. It can play music, answer your questions, fetch news and weather updates, or can be used to control compatible smart home devices.
If you ask the Nest Hub what a Rangoon Creeper looks like, it will respond with an audio-description as well as an image. A kid at home quite enjoyed playing trivia and asking the hub to respond with different animal and bird sounds.
For Music, can one can choose multiple streaming sources such as YouTube, Google Play Music, Gaana, Spotify, JioSaavn or Airtel Wynk.
As for audio, the Nest Hub holds well if you are not particular about depth or sound staging and just wants something to play in the background while you go about with your daily chores. The audio loudness and quality left a lot to be desired.
What we do love is the ability to cast videos from YouTube and apps like Hotstar to the nest hub screen. I know this isn’t an ideal app for watching videos, but the ability to push random YouTube music videos away from your phone to another screen nearby, if only for more powerful audio, proved very gratifying. Unlike the TV in our living room, the Nest Hub is always plugged and ready to accept cast input from our phone.
It also turned out to be a great companion to have in the kitchen. We decided to bake a cake so sought assistance from the Nest Hub. It came up with a list of recipes to choose from. On narrowing down, it listed all the ingredients. It also narrated step-by-step instructions and proved more helpful than we had anticipated.
Google also has Routine features that let you personalized routine using Google Home app. You can create various routines such as a good morning, a routine when you leave home, and bed-time and more. Google Digital WellBeing features is also present onto set limits and to let you have control over explicit content.
Google also has Routines that let you personalize a set of actions for simple voice commands like ‘goodnight’ and ‘good morning’ using the Google Home app. Google’s Digital Wellbeing is also on board and you can use it to limit the time you spend gawking at a screen.
Google Nest Hub Review: Verdict
The Nest Hub holds really well to scrutiny. The hardware and software design is quite modern, the Assistant breathing life into the whole concept is the smartest there is, it’s always plugged and ready to accept casting input from your phone, and it serves as a stupendously great photo frame!
For anyone who’s invested in Google services and wants to place the Assistant at the center of the smart home, the Nest Hub is an easy recommendation. It’s certainly not perfect, but it makes a lot of sense for its price.
- Ambient EQ
- Google Assistant is really smart
- Cast from YouTube and other apps
- Built-in control panel
- Audio isn’t very loud
- No camera for video calls
- No 3.5mm audio out
Google Nest Hub Review: Quick Bytes
The Google Nest Hub clearly has a better and bigger screen and a smarter Assistant. The Echo Show 5, on the other hand, justifies itself with better audio quality and simpler software. So it all boils down to which ecosystem you’re invested in and what your priorities are.