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Google held a hardware event on October 9 to reveal updated versions of its Chromecast media streamer and Google Pixel phone, but the company also announced a brand-new device: the Google Hub.
The Hub is a $149 Google Assistant smart speaker and smart home hub with a screen that will be released on October 22. It’s already available for pre-order at Walmart, Best Buy, and Target.
Google clearly design the Hub to take on Amazon’s Echo Show. It has a 7″ touch screen, speakers, microphones, and a smart assistant built inside. The screen sits on top of a base that has a linen-like cover that’s similar to the one on the Google Home Mini, but it is hidden by the screen to make the Hub look smaller.
Two sensors above the display automatically brighten and dim the screen depending on the light conditions of the room it’s in, which makes this the only smart hub with a screen I can recommend for use in your bedroom at night. Although Google paid attention to the Hub’s aesthetics, its biggest feature is the ability to use the Google Assistant to show information from the search giant’s services on the Hub’s display.
Need directions? Ask Google Maps. Want to watch a video? Ask for it on YouTube. Interested in reviewing your upcoming appointments? If you’re a Gmail user, they’re just a question away! Want to show someone vacation pictures? Bring them up using Google Photos.
The Hub also works with third-party apps, including Pandora and Spotify. It can control a wide array of smart home accessories and send video and audio to Chromecast-enabled gadgets. It is smart enough to answer a wide array of questions as well. But integration with Google’s first-party apps is its biggest advantage over the Echo Show.
I recently tried the Lenovo Smart Screen and was blown away by how much better it was than Amazon’s first-generation Show. Google’s Hub is looking even better with its affordable price tag. At $149, it’s $100 cheaper than the Lenovo Smart Screen and $70 cheaper than the Show, although the Hub’s screen is smaller by several inches.
We’ll have a full review available once we get our hands on the Google Hub for ourselves, but if you’re a big fan of Google’s Assistant and its world of Chromecast-enabled devices, it’s a no-brainer.