Review: Google Home Hub

Stephen Watson
March 5, 2019

Google Home Hub – £139 from John Lewis 

In a world where everyone uses smart voice assistants like Siri, Alexa and Ask Google and the introduction of the Smart Home. It’s now becoming the norm to have a personal assistant in the home.

We have had the chance to review a Google Home Hub which comes with features such as auto-updating Google Photo gallery and home view that allows you to control all other smart home products.  The Google Home Hub costs £139 from the Google store or John Lewis. You can control this device via the Google Home App which is available on both iOS and Android so no matter the phone you can use the home hub.  

Design wise the home hub is quite small which did surprise me the screen is the size of a small tablet and the base is very lightweight and well built and sturdily.  The small screen does have its advantages when using the photo gallery on your phone there no chance of its pixelating and you get a lovely clear image to relive your memories. The screen sits on a base that puts the screen at a comfortable tilt that is rounded out by a colourful bezel which compliments the fabric base.

On the, back you will find the power input, volume control and mic mute toggle one thing you won’t find is a camera so making video calls is a challenge you can see them but they cant see you which is a negative to the product. However, some might consider this as a benefit if you want to use the bedroom.  The home hub also comes with a light sensor in the centre of the screen which adapts the brightness when in a dark room or when you get ready for bed. This is part of what google called Ambient EQ which also changes the screen when its bedtime.

The setup of the home hub is quite straightforward plug the hub in and then download the home hub app. Once you have taken the steps on the app in terms of set up and pairing all very simple steps. You have to pick the room it’s going to be in and add any smart devices you might already have such as a smart boiler or even smart lighting allowing you to have one hub to control everything you can even link your nest front door camera.  Google assistant also allows apps and services like spotify when you want to listen to music and Youtube in its full form including Youtube TV.

Performance wise you swipe right and the screensaver shows large information cards that make the majority of its home interface showing things like the calendar, weather, music and video recommendations plus current news stories. Make a command and all that disappears and is replaced with your inquiry. For example, as for a location and up pops a map.

Google has found a way to visually represent every search term you can think of and Google does this like no other company on mother earth. Google handles all of the first party services with a level of tact and care.  Using Youtube for an example on the home hub has to ask “ How to cut a pineapple” and youtube brings up a video. If your search is a bit more detailed this can prove a little problematic.  Use the home hub to help you cook can also be a mixed experience you get text-based instructions but if you need to do a particular skill like debone a fish you need to conduct a separate search.

The negatives of this product is when i watched music videos the quality was affected by the 7-inch screen as the visual was a little off sometimes. The bass is also a little weak but this is not the primary use for the Hub its vision is to make your day to day living simple.

What makes this device special is the Ambient EQ and Google Photos features increases the performance standpoint. They add the fun factor in a generic functional smart home product.

Overall,  the Google home hub is a great little device and perfect for anyone but ideal for those that who are turning their home into a smart home this will help control all these devices in one place. I found my two sons used this when they got stuck on homework and it did the job and answered the questions they had.  I personally find having my google calendar available at a tap of the screen even when my phone not on my person. The home hubs Ambient EQ is also great to have as it adapts to the time and environment of your home.

My Parents also enjoyed the Google Photos which allow the home hub to be a digital photo frame but you can see pictures you have taken that day. Plus the fact you can make basic calls on it as well would be great for my parents.  The only disappointment was the fact you have no camera for when you want to facetime and the fact watching a movie is not ideal on the home hub,

However, for a device that can control all of your smart home devices its great value at only £139, it’s well worth a buy.

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