Following Amazon’s Echo Show and Lenovo’s Smart Display, the Nest Hub is Google’s response to the growing trend for onscreen voice assistants. Unlike its two main competitors, the Google connected hub has chosen not to carry a front sensor and is more like the central element of the connected house.
Who really needs to display a 2013 tablet in their living room?
The design chosen by the Nest Hub is anything but consensual. A 7 inch tablet melted on a slanting leg. We appreciate the use, based on the usual fabric of Google products, but much less the presence of thick screen borders. Google seems to have come out of the boxes, its Nexus 7 of another time. Fortunately, the whole remains very compact and therefore relatively discreet.
A screen, yes. What for ?
The main argument of this Google Nest Hub is its screen. However, it is far from unanimous. Neither Full HD, nor even HD, this one is content with a definition – only 1024 x 600 points – to say the least astonishing. As for its performance, it also leaves something to be desired. Our lab measured a brightness of 394 cd / m² and a contrast of 691: 1. With such modest measurements, what good can the 7-inch LCD panel do?
Having a screen could mean being able to play videos on it. In fact, unlike the Echo Show, the Nest Hub connects to Youtube. But if it is also possible to watch MyCANAL programs also from its small screen, there is no use in hoping to savor its lareview Netflix series (the streaming platform is not compatible). Given the diagonal and the display quality, this is not in any case the product that we will recommend as a priority for watching video content.
Google’s speaker screen may find interest in video calls. It is not so ! Without front camera, it can receive a video call, via Google Duo, but in this case, your interlocutors, will have to be satisfied with an audio type communication.
The usefulness of the Nest screen is elsewhere. When active, it remembers you by highlighting your agenda or the weather. In standby, the Nest Hub just displays beautiful photos, art, or even your own Google Photo album. In a nutshell, everything a good digital photo frame from the previous decade would do. The most obvious use is that of a home automation hub. Thanks to the particularly intuitive Homeview interface, it is possible to control its lamps, alarm or blinds. It’s on this very point that a Nest Hub offers an advantage over any Google Home.
Definitely not an enclosure for the living room
The Google Nest Hub is not a speaker per se, but can act as an extra speaker with good audio quality. Above all, it is its compatibility with a large number of services (Spotify, Youtube Music, Deezer, etc.) that makes it interesting.
Strangely, its audio quality is lower than that of Google Home but, like the latter, the sound favors mediums and lacks bass.
Fun features that aren’t enough to make it useful
When the light goes down at night, the Nest Hub changes its display. He stops broadcasting photos, drastically lowers the brightness of his screen, so as not to unnecessarily illuminate the room, and then simply displays the time. This particularly well thought-out feature allows it to be used in a room without being disturbed at night. We also salute the excellent Google Home app, which is still just as easy to use but which is not unique to Nest Hub. Another welcome feature on the Nest Hub is the ability to mute the microphone, via a physical button on the back. This manipulation immediately activates an orange LED but makes the Google accessory completely passive.
Finally, the biggest concern of Google Nest Hub is neither its design nor the quality of its panel. It simply appears that despite its possibilities, the latter is struggling to carve out a special place in the heart of the house. Its screen is too small to be of any use in terms of video content. Worse, in use, it is very easy to forget even until its existence to simply rely on your smartphone. After more than a week of use with us, the Google gadget ended up being used only for one task, that of setting the time.
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