Singapore is one of the few countries in the world that supports a wide range of Made by Google products, and the Google Nest Hub (renamed from Google Home Hub) is just added to the list when it is launched on 25 June 2019. For a limited launch period, every Google Nest Hub purchase of S$189 will come with a free Mi Home Security Camera 360 1080P worth S$60. Only at M1, Courts, Challenger, Hachi.Tech and Google Online Store, promotion ends 31 Aug 2019.
Unboxing and Design
The Google Nest Hub comes with the unit and a DC adapter. The 7-inch display is thin and slim, mounted on a fabric-wrapped stand. The only physical buttons are the mute switch and the volume rockers.
With a large silicone base, the Google Nest Hub is very stable.
The on-screen guide will help you join the Google Nest Hub to the Google Home app.
For existing Google Home or Google Home Mini owners, the Google Nest Hub feels right at home, almost nothing special, except for the display. Under the same ecosystem, they all work seamlessly with one another. With that, there are a few more use cases. Let’s talk about the new stuff first.
Photos or Clock as Home Screen
On the Google Nest Hub home screen, you get to choose to show images from Google Photos. You can either pick selected albums or take the latest feed, as and when you snap and upload. If you don’t have any nice photos to show, you could just opt to display curated images and artwork. And for those who find images too distracting, there is a clock face mode.
If you want to relive some of the moments in any Google Albums, you can also ask Google to show the album photos on the Google Nest Hub. This is similar to how you can cast the photos on Chromecast.
Thanks to an ambient sensor, the Google Nest Hub can adjust the brightness and white balance accordingly. If the room is dark, the Google Nest Hub can automatically turn off the display or show the clock, depending on how you like it.
Sliding your finger from outside the right bezel into the display will bring out the active cards, like your YouTube or Spotify that was playing, as well as any upcoming reminders. Swipe up any of the cards to remove them.
Watch YouTube Videos and Spotify
Google Nest Hub can show YouTube content, and that’s the only video app it supports now. Then again, why would anyone wants to watch long videos or movies on Google Nest Hub when you could cast it via Chromecast to a large TV screen? The use case is more applicable for watching cooking guides in the kitchen or some interactive answers when you ask Google Assistant, for instance, show videos on how rain is formed.
When playing Spotify music, you also get to see the title and cover album, again adding context to the music you are playing.
Home Security Camera View
Another use of the display is that you can stream camera footage of your security camera that supports Google Home, like the free Mi Home Security Camera. To do so, just ask Google to show camera on whichever room the camera is assigned to. There is a feed lag of more than 15 seconds, so it’s not as “live” compared to using the respective camera apps to watch.
Control Smart Devices Easily
With Google Home, you can do things just by saying without touching the screen. Now with Google Nest Hub, you can also navigate on-screen to browse the linked smart devices and to control them, be it to switch on-off devices or change the light colour. While, it is easier to speak the command than to use the touchscreen, there are times when you need to get things done without making a sound, especially in the wee hours.
With Google Nest Hub, you can control all the smart devices from a single view, no need to switch between apps. Just pull down the menu from the top of the display to reveal the Google Home controls.
Now that there is a display screen, some responses that Google provides will simply display on-screen instead of repeating the responses, while others will display the full text on-screen so that you can read it ahead of the voice assistant. For users who prefers visual cues, the Google Nest Hub would be a better companion than Google Home.
Free: Mi Home Security Camera 360 1080P
Don’t miss the limited launch offer now: from now till 31 August 2019, buy the Google Nest Hub from M1, Courts, Challenger, Hachi.Tech and Google Online Store, and redeem a free Mi Home Security Camera 360 1080P worth S59.90. For its price, I must say it is quite a comprehensive camera, with the ability to tilt and pan in 360-degrees and upwards as well. One thing though: it does not come with a power adapter, but it works with any USB power source.
Getting it connected to your Xiaomi Home app is also rather intuitive: point the QR code on your smartphone to the Mi camera and it will scan and connect to your Wi-Fi network thereon. There are quite a handful of settings that you can manage on the app, like turn off the LED, setting the home monitoring period. The app design even has a “call” button which is essentially a 2-way audio and mic.
Retrieving recorded footage is also intuitive. The app clearly indicates the dates and hours that recordings are made, and when you drill in, you will see the clips. This is better than other apps where you had to scroll and find the clip if it’s like many days or weeks ago. Note: separate micro SD card is required to capture footage, supports maximum size of 64GB.
Hey Google, Are You Ready?
Google Nest Hub adds the visual element of Google Assistant, which is a nice step up from Google Home. It adds more fun interacting with Google Assistant. With a price of S$189, which is just S$20 more, I would recommend getting the Nest Hub instead of the Google Home. Though the sound quality is not as good comparatively, it is not that bad either and a good trade-off, unless you are an audio freak that needs bass to save your life.
I definitely feel less awkward interacting with Google Nest Hub than Google Home, because I can still execute commands without always speaking (for instance, changing Spotify tracks, adjust volume), and there are visual cues that I can channel my attention to. I certainly do not need to ask Google the time when I can just look at the screen, or ask what reminders I have when I see a blinking LED instead of just looking at it on-screen. Finally, the size is just nice without appearing too prominent at home.