The embedded microphone in the Nest Hub to pick most of queries with ease, even when you speak from a distance.

Google Nest Hub review Vivid 7-inch display impressive sound Google Apps integration
Atom Tech Shorts Friday, August 30, 2019 - 16:18

If you’ve been a fence sitter when it comes to smart speakers, you’re probably not alone. While Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home have been clocking up impressive numbers in India, many customers are still waiting for the category to build more use case scenarios to win them over. Google’s Nest Hub might win over some of these folks. And it all starts with that 7-inch screen.

While we like the design approach Google adopted for the Google Home, the Nest Hub stays in the same zone. This is just the kind of device you might proudly place in your living room and is not too large to find a place on your bedside table. The fabric finish on the speaker is the same that we saw on the Google Home.

Sound quality is impressive, but you can’t hook up any of your devices (like your smartphone); there’s no slot to connect external devices to the speaker. You will also find a power key and a volume rocker; keys that you are unlikely to ever use. This device is all about voice control. The embedded microphone was able to pick most of queries without a fuss. The only time it had issues hearing me right was when I was some distance away with the music on full blast.

The first win for the Nest Hub is integration with Google’s suite of Apps. This is an area where Google scores over Amazon’s Echo Show. Google Maps is a case in point. Your query for directions doesn’t just show up a visual representation but can also send that to your Google smartphone as you rush out of home. And then there’s access to YouTube that works really well if you want to tune into your favourite music or catch quick video highlights of a cricket game.

The 7-inch display (1024 x 600 pixels) is quite vivid, the ambient EQ light sensor that sits on top of the screen allows the display to adapt to the lighting in the room. This is something you will notice on Google Photos. You can pick selections from your Google Photos archive that play out as a slide show akin to a digital photo frame when the device goes to standby mode.

The integration with Google Duo is only partial. While you can view callers on the screen, the lack of a camera means that you won’t be visible. Google’s decision to leave out a camera is a clear bid to address privacy concerns. It’s not just integration with Google’s home-grown Apps, the Nest Hub offers seamless integration and intuitive controls when you manage smart devices hooked up with it. Google lists 3,500 brands with connected devices that the Nest Hub can talk to. These include products like the Philips Hue lights or Xiaomi’s Home security camera that you can buy in India.

At a time when we’re all switching to video content for the whole story, the Google Nest Hub builds a strong case for the smart display. It’s certainly more engaging to watch the News headlines with visuals (The Nest Hub displayed a preference for global news channels each time I used the ‘Hey Google’ voice prompt for today’s news headline). It’s the same with recipes; especially when you’re in the kitchen with oily hands and need to use voice prompts to take cues from recipe videos.

The Google Nest Hub costs Rs 9,999 and comes in Chalk and Charcoal. Limited period launch offer (on Flipkart and Tata Cliq) - every buyer of a Google Nest Hub will also get a Google Assistant compatible Mi Home Security Camera for free.


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