Amazon Echo Show v Google Home Hub: Which smart display is best?

We've tested both to help you decide

Amazon Echo Show v Google Home Hub
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If you're choosing between the Amazon Echo Show and Google Home Hub, the real versus you need to consider first is actually Alexa v Google Assistant. These devices are designed to power and control these two rival connected home systems, and that choice will impact things like which other devices you can add.

But let's assume you're open to both or you haven't decided yet. We've tested both these smart displays now - our kitchens are getting very full - and we suggest you read the full reviews too.

Read this: Amazon Echo Show 2018 review | Google Home Hub review

You might notice that we rated the Google Home Hub half a star higher than the Echo Show 2018 but that doesn't mean it's a foregone conclusion - different devices will suit different people.

Amazon Echo Show v Google Home Hub: Which smart display is best?

Amazon Echo Show v Google Home Hub: Design and screen

At first glance you can see these are fairly different smart displays. For starters, the Echo Show is a LOT bigger and will take up more space on your counter. In fact it makes the Home Hub look teeny side by side.

On the Amazon device, you get a big 1280 x 800 10.1-inch touchscreen (Full HD resolution would have been nice) and for Google, it's just a 7-inch display with a 1024 x 600 resolution and angled up at 70 degrees. (The way they're built means that neither display can be tilted.) Overall we prefer the Home Hub screen especially when it's on standby and displaying photos plus its ambient EQ light sensor works really well.

Amazon Echo Show v Google Home Hub: Which smart display is best?

This means the Echo Show is easier to glance at from the other side of the kitchen or living room compared to the Home Hub, which works better when you're right on top of it. We actually think an 8-inch screen would have been ideal for the Home Hub and this size will be too small for some people - for other sizes you can check out smart displays from brands like Lenovo and JBL.

Amazon's getting better at making stylish devices but the Echo Show is still a bit of a blocky lump, more like a mini TV. For now the Google Home Hub is definitely the nicer looking of the two. It's cute, it's sleek and there's four colours to choose from - white, pink, aqua and charcoal.

Amazon Echo Show v Google Home Hub: Which smart display is best?

Google Home Hub v Amazon Echo Show: Voice and sound

Both Alexa and Google Assistant are getting better and more feature-rich every day so you should get on just fine with both of them. The only problem we had, slightly more with Google, is the assistant occasionally forgetting we were in the middle of a conversation.

Similarly, both the Home Hub and Echo Show picked up our voice commands just fine, from across the room thanks to the far-field mics on board, even when music was playing.

Audio wise, both of these smart displays are of course also speakers. They both sound fine for chatting to the assistants and watching a few YouTube videos but we actually wouldn't really recommend either for playing music.

The Echo Show has dual two-inch drivers inside and a passive bass radiator and it does indeed have a big, booming sound that will fill the room. It goes louder than the Home Hub too which maxes out way before you get to party sound levels and sounds... OK for its size and price, but still not great.

Amazon Echo Show v Google Home Hub: Which smart display is best?

Amazon Echo Show v Google Home Hub: Features

Alexa was built for voice interactions and it's still early days for Assistant on smart displays - though Google has been working with voice for smartphones for years. As such, the voice and screen experience on both is still a work in progress, slightly more so on the Echo Show.

You'll still be primarily talking to the assistant - for instance launching smart home routines on both. But you can also now get voice replies with some apps and commands giving you text, images or video on screen like the weather, news headlines, visual timers or recipes. Incidentally, both devices do hands-free recipes and cooking instructions, with Google's the less stressful experience.

As each smart display is locked to Google and Amazon, some services are too. The Echo Show is great for watching Prime Video shows, which you can launch with your voice, but if you want YouTube it takes you to a web browser to do it. And on the Home Hub, YouTube is a nice experience all round with support for casting, although we wish there were more supported casting services. If you're in the UK, All 4 supports this too. Netflix is coming.

Amazon Echo Show v Google Home Hub: Which smart display is best?

There's also some difference in the compatible smart home devices. So you can see who's at the door via the Ring Video Doorbell on the Echo Show and you can check in with Nest Cam feeds from the nursery on the Google Home Hub. Again, this comes back to which ecosystem you're going for and which devices you own or are planning to own though for what's it's worth, Google's new Home View is lovely.

One of the biggest differences between these two devices is that the Echo Show has a front-facing camera and the Google Home Hub doesn't. So you can use the Echo Show as a video call device - that works well - which might be a big plus for you. On the other hand, if you're concerned about privacy, you can still make Wi-Fi Duo calls on the Home Hub.

Amazon Echo Show v Google Home Hub: Which smart display is best?

Google Home Hub v Amazon Echo Show: Price

A clear win for the Google Home Hub here. It's very good value for money at $149 whereas the 2018 edition of the Amazon Echo Show is $229.99. That's a difference of $80 which is pretty considerable especially when most of the other smart home products from Amazon and Google are identical prices.

That said, Amazon loves a good bundle so if the Echo Show is only a part of your smart home haul you could save some money by pairing it with Echo Dots etc.

Amazon Echo Show v Google Home Hub: Which is best for you?

As we said, the biggest choice here is actually Alexa or Google Assistant as these devices are absolutely tied into those ecosystems. Alexa households will need to go for the Echo Show, Google ones the Home Hub.

If you don't mind, you haven't jumped in with one smart home ecosystem yet or you don't see yourself using these as hubs beyond a handy screen in the kitchen, then on balance we'd say the Google Home Hub would probably work for more people. Plus don't forget it's cheaper.

It's also worth mentioning that for Assistant homes, you have a lot more choice as the Home Hub is just one of a whole range of Smart Displays we've seen this year like the Lenovo Smart Display and the JBL Link View.

TAGGED    amazon alexa    google home

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