Google Home Hub vs. Amazon Echo Show 2: Which screened home assistant is right for you?
Both have screens, which is still a novel feature for a device sector that once started life as “smart speakers” (although the original Amazon Echo Show pioneered the feature), and both connect to a wide collection of products to create a smart home network.
Google Home Hub vs. Amazon Echo Show 2: Appearance
The Amazon Echo Show 2 is a lot better looking than the original Amazon Echo Show, which is admittedly not a high bar to best. Amazon’s new device is far more understated, with a fabric covering and a noticeably shorter height to make it look a lot less like a 60s sci-fi show prop. However, it’s still rather bulky compared to the Home Hub, which means it’ll need more shelf or counter space.
Google Home Hub, on the other hand, is far more attractive. With an elevated, thinner screen, it looks decidedly more like the smart assistant of the future. It comes in four colours (black, white, blue and pink) as opposed to the two of the Echo Show 2 (black and white), and in addition defaults to a photo frame when not in use, whereas the Echo Show 2 shows a basic lock screen.
Winner: Google Home Hub
Google Home Hub vs. Amazon Echo Show 2: Sound quality and voice recognition
While the Echo Show 2 has two speakers the Home Hub only has one — in this regard, the Echo Show 2 is the better smart speaker. In addition, it has a passive bass radiator so music quality should be noticeably better. The Home Hub advertises itself as having “full range speakers” but in reality it has a distinct lack of bass and a rather limited range.
In terms of microphones, the Echo Show 2 once again comes out on top. It has a whopping eight microphones to the Home Hub’s two, which should make it better at hearing commands over the sound of music. Both will be able to recognise different voices, which the Home Hub assigns to different accounts, although it remains to be seen if the Echo Show 2 actually makes use of this function.
Winner: Amazon Echo Show 2
Google Home Hub vs. Amazon Echo Show 2: Smart home services
Both the Google Home Hub and Amazon Echo Show 2 make a point of themselves being the central controller for your smart home. Both devices have a slew of similar features: they can connect to other smart home devices such as front door cameras; they can control house lights, and access a variety of apps just through voice recognition.
For these functions, you’ll need to buy Zigbee products, which operate on a personal-area network that the Home Hub or Echo Show 2 can tap in to. These products, made by a variety of manufacturers, can be easily purchased online. However if you own a previous Google Home or Amazon Echo product that’s connected to your front door camera, coloured lights or other smart home feature, your newer product can take control.
Since the devices have such similar smart home functionality, it’s impossible to choose one over the other based solely on this.
Google Home Hub vs. Amazon Echo Show 2: Services
As with the smart home features, most of the services of both smart assistants are similar.
They can both play music, browse recipes and videos, browse the news, tell terrible jokes, and provide weather reports for the local area. The Echo Show 2 can make video calls, while the Home Hub can’t, which is one major advantage.
The difference between the two, however, is that Google has a plethora of other apps and products that all tie into the Home Hub. It can control Chromecasts, including the newest one, it can use information from Google Maps to provide traffic information, and it can communicate with other Google products such as the Pixel 3 or Google apps to automatically sync photos and files from the phone to the Home Hub. This means the device lends itself to a seamless experience — if you’re already using all these other products.
On the other hand, Amazon has a rather restricted list of compatible devices. Other than the Fire Stick TV, and smart home products, the majority of the services it can access are digital like Amazon Shopping or Amazon Music Unlimited.
Winner: Google Home Hub
Google Home Hub vs. Amazon Echo Show 2: Price
Unfortunately judging the price of the two devices isn’t as simple as just pointing out which one costs more — the variety of peripheral products needs to be included too. While the Home Hub costs £139 and the Echo Show 2 costs £219.99, you’ll need to buy a lot more to make the most of the assistant.
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The Blink Home Security Camera, designed by Amazon, costs £149.99, which is exactly the same as the Nest Cam, designed in partnership with Google. The real difference in price comes with the subscriptions you’ll want for the devices. While YouTube Music costs £9.99 per month for playback on the Home Hub, Amazon Music Unlimited costs just £3.99 for a device-only account. Depending on what you’re using the device for, this could be a lot cheaper in the long run.
However it’d take a significant amount of time for the cheaper music service to offset the much higher price point of the Echo Show 2.
Winner: Google Home Hub
Google Home Hub vs. Amazon Echo Show 2: Verdict
Looking at these categories, the Google Home Hub wins 3-1. While comparing the devices in such a numerical way could lead to an oversimplified result, in this case perhaps it speaks to a problem with the losing device. While in many regards the Amazon Echo Show 2 promises to do everything the Google Home Hub does, it only does so in the house — it won’t sync information between your smartphone and your smart home, which restricts its general usage in everyday life.
However if you’re not looking for a product that controls your life for you, and just want a smart speaker or AI assistant with some great functions, the Echo Show 2 is a viable choice. Its superior speakers and microphones make it the best Echo product so far, and arguably the best smart assistant for lighting up your home in song.