Google Home Hub with 7-inch screen launched for $149 / £139

Image Getty Images

Image Getty Images

It's definitely odd to see Google develop an entire ecosystem for third-party Assistant smart displays, and then use something else for its own device. Now, Google has one.

Other than that, there's really just not a lot to say about the Home Hub.

Google is doing a couple nifty things with Google Home's software, however, and that makes this whole initiative make a lot of sense. Also, when you buy Google Home Hub, you'll get six months of YouTube Premium on us, so you can enjoy YouTube Music as well as all of YouTube ad-free. The Lenovo Smart Display is $199 and $249 for 8- and 10-inch models, so it's appropriate for the size.

Yesterday at its Made By Google event in Manhattan, Google announced the Home Hub, a new Assistant-powered smart device. I was downright surprised at how small Google's hub is: You can literally hold it in one hand.

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All previous "smart displays" with Google Assistant are almost identical under the hood. That's a plus from a privacy perspective, although Lenovo and JBL do provide a physical camera cover. The Google Home app has been updated to control multiple devices more easily and remotely, and access Google Assistant in-app as well. Aside from four color options, some unique features and some that will arrive on the competing products soon. In that respect, it's more closely related to the Chromecast and Google Home than other smart displays. It brings a basic yet powerful set of controls for your smart home devices. Where you'd expect to see a camera, you instead get an array of sensors that help the Home Hub constantly adjust the screen to feel natural in the room and light where it finds itself. We already know that Google's offering features a swipe-down gesture that brings up a "home view" control panel that now isn't found on the third-party devices. When configured, the Hub knows which room you're in and provides information on temperature and lighting as well.

In addition to unified view for devices, the Google Home app now also lets you check in on your home, or your devices rather, even when you're not at home. Of course, you can still use voice controls as well.

Google Home Hub doubles as a photo frame. If someone walks up and rings your Nest doorbell, for example, the live video will automatically appear on the Google Home Hub.

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