Over the years, the “connected home” has interested me more and more. Internet switches, lights, thermostats, smoke detectors and cameras are all part of my home setup.
I have found the Google ecosystem (vs Amazon Alexa or Apple HomeKit) to be robust, simple to use and integrate and evolving consistently. I also find the sound from Google Mini to be more robust compared to the Echo Dot and that too drives my selections.
This small (7”) touch screen Google device does a lot of what is done regularly with the Google Mini pucks. “Ok Google, turn on the living room lights…” but with visual feedback. The small device sits quietly on an end table or coffee table and appears as digital clock or picture frame, but swipe from the top or right and access the internet-enabled thermostats, cameras or other devices without a second thought.
Setup is about 5 minutes, another few minutes for a software update and the system is online. If you have already enabled other devices, they appear instantly and are available seamlessly from the Home Hub. The screen is small and crisp proving to be an amazing digital picture frame to boot.
There is no camera on the Home Hub (which may make a lot of people very happy) and the ability to mute the mic also adds to the safety and security aspects of this “always on” device.
The system has a sensor to adjust the brightness of the screen based on ambient light and can use the power of Google AI to select photos from a gallery that “complement” the room and space.
I have been very happy with the Google ecosystem (as mentioned, Nest thermostats, cameras and smoke detectors) tie these systems together well. I love the aspects of having my devices online (I can see if there are errors, reports, feedback or issues) and feel confident that my family and home are safe and well protected (as well as environmentally sound).
If you are looking for a reasonable holiday gift, have someone who is interested in a “connected home” or may have dipped their toes into these devices, the Google Home Hub is a solid idea for those on your list.