Google Nest Hub – Review 

Google’s smart display arrives in India 

Show and tell. Digital Assistants have moved on from being just speakers to displays that can back your queries with a visual representation. Think Google Maps, it’s nicer to have a visual of your route on a manic Monday even as you rush through your breakfast. Google’s Nest Hub has arrived late at this party in India, and takes on Amazon’s Echo Show as these devices make a play for smart homes in the country. 

If you’ve played around with Google Home smart speaker, you will notice similarities in the build quality. That’s a good thing. We dig the refined fabric finish on the speaker, while the display itself is elegantly designed. It looks great on your bedside or your living room; this has premium stamped all over it. The 7-inch display (1024 x 600 pixels) is vivid; this is a display that you’re always going to be staring at from up close. There’s no slot to connect external devices to the speaker. The device sports a power key and a volume slider – both keys that you will seldom use.

There’s an in-built microphone, a key feature for smart displays or speakers. This one worked well, except for a couple of occasions when I was some distance away and trying to shout instructions over Imagine Dragons playing on full throttle. The Google Nest Hub does a great job with talking to your other smart devices integrated with it. The controls are intuitive and you can manage lights or cameras across rooms with the device with minimal effort. However this is a feature that is likely to get more frequently used in the near future as more homes switch to connected devices. But there’s already a long list of connected devices from a variety of brands (about 3,500 according to Google) like Philips Hue and Xiaomi.  

The Nest Hub is not jut about that future. It’s also got a whole bunch of tricks under its sleeve in the Now. If you use an Android smartphone, the integration across devices is terrific. Think of that same manic Monday, you’re rushing to work and ask the Nest hub for directions. It doesn’t just show up on the display but can be delivered to your phone, so you’re all set when you get behind the wheel. It’s the same with music whether you use Play Music or Spotify. 

The other feature we totally dig is integration with Google Photos. The Nest Hub can convert designated images – you could pick family or holiday, from your Photos collection into a slide show that keeps playing in the background. The Nest Hub digs deep into Google’s breadth of services and Apps like YouTube. This is an area where the Nest Hub shines over its Amazon rival. You get easy access to videos on YouTube; requests for news summaries also throw up headlines from news channels. The other cool feature is hands-free access access – handy when you’re in the kitchen, to recipes on platforms like NDTV Food. Google has opted to omit a video camera from the Nest Hub, a move that should comfort anyone with privacy concerns. This means that you can’t switch to video mode on Google Duo calls. 

The Google Nest Hub is a great device for anyone looking at their first taste of a smart display or even users who’ve played wait and watch with the Smart speaker phenomenon. It backs up all the capabilities of the Google Home speaker with a display. And after a week with the Google Nest Hub, I realised there’s no substitute to show and tell!

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.