A year after Amazon introduced its first smart display, the Echo Show, Google has responded with its own version: the Google Home Hub.
It’s good timing, since the 2018 version of the Echo Show ships out to customers on Thursday.
These smart displays are still relatively new, but what they can do goes way beyond the first iterations of virtual voice-assistants, which more than 60 million people already have in their homes.
So whether you’re one of those people and are considering an upgrade, or are looking to buy your first smart display, here’s how the Amazon Echo Show compares to the Google Home Hub.
There are a few key differences between the two devices. The Amazon Echo Show is a much bigger and heavier device than the Google Home Hub. It also has a larger display.
The Amazon Echo Show is a significantly bigger device than the Google Home Hub, weighing in at almost four pounds. Google’s device is incredibly lightweight, comparatively: it’s listed at weighing just over one pound.
Here are the rest of the specs:
- Dimensions: Amazon Echo Show (9.7 inches x 6.9 inches x 4.2 inches) vs. Google Home Hub (7.02 inches x 4.65 inches x 2.65 inches)
- Display: Echo Show (10.1-inch screen) vs. Home Hub (7-inch screen)
The Echo Show has a camera for video calling, while the Google Home Hub does not.
This is probably the biggest difference between the two devices. At the Google event where the Home Hub was announced, executives said the company “consciously” decided not to include a camera out of concern for users’ privacy.
The Amazon Echo Show does have a camera, however. Users can make video calls with anyone who has the Alexa app – which is available for both Android and iOS devices – or anyone who has an Echo Spot or Echo Show device.
Amazon says that it’s working on adding Skype calling as well.
The Echo Show costs $US80 more than the Google Home Hub.
Amazon began shipping its latest Echo Show on Thursday, but orders on the site are already backed up into November. Google is letting customers pre-order the Home Hub online, but it won’t start shipping out until Oct. 18.
There are several similarities between the Echo Show and Home Hub. Both devices are designed to act as a central hub for controlling your various smart home products.
For anyone who has other smart appliances in their home – like lights, security cameras, thermostats, or locks – both of the devices are designed to be central hubs where you can control them. You may want to check Amazon and Google first to see whether your appliance brands will work with either device.
If you already own one of Google Nest’s video doorbells or security cameras, then the Home Hub is likely a better bet in terms of compatibility.
Both have virtual voice assistants, but the Echo Show features thousands of “skills,” so you can personalise your Alexa voice commands and experience.
Amazon unveiled the Alexa Skills feature in April, which gave its users thousands of templates they could use to get their Alexa voice assistant to do more. With more than 50,000 skills available to download for Alexa, you can program your smart home device to work with different apps to hear news roundups, guided workouts, create grocery lists, and learn new recipes.
The Home Hub can only respond to commands that Google Assistant is already preset to understand.
Both devices allow for video streaming. Google’s Home Hub has YouTube, while the Echo Show has Amazon Prime and Hulu.
Google and Amazon are direct competitors in tech, and have seemingly been taking any steps possible to outwit each other. Google, which owns YouTube, blocked the video website from working on Amazon Echo Show and Fire TV devices back in December 2017.
So if you use YouTube regularly to watch how-to videos around the house, or use YouTube Music as your go-to music streaming service, Google Home Hub will be the better choice. Google is also including a six-month trial of YouTube Premium, its ad-free streaming subscription, with the purchase of a Home Hub. If you prefer one of the other music streaming services (like Spotify, Pandora, and iHeart Radio), then either smart speaker will work.
However, the Echo Show beats the Home Hub if you’re trying to use your smart speaker to stream live TV and your favourite shows beyond what YouTube has to offer. Amazon’s device is compatible with Prime Video and Hulu.
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