Google’s new Home Hub is the latest smart display to hit the market, but it’s not quite like the rest. One of the key differences with Google’s product is that it lacks a camera, removing any possibility of engaging in a video call with friends or family. (I think I just heard Lenovo and JBL collectively sigh in relief that Google isn’t about to totally eat their lunch.)
Putting aside the Home Hub’s lack of a camera, its closest competitor is the Amazon Echo Show. Powered by Alexa, Amazon’s smart display aims to answer all of your queries, connect your streaming services, and seamlessly corral all of your smart home technology. Much of the decision comes down to the services that you’re embedded in. Do you love Prime Video and absolutely need to video chat? Or, well, do you want YouTube access? (The good kind, not the roundabout mobile site version of YouTube.)
Then, there’s Facebook’s new smart display, the Portal. While still technically a smart display, the Portal is more limited in its feature set; video chatting with other Portal or Facebook users is the big spotlight here. Unlike the Echo Show, the Portal stands out because it’s able to track you as you move around the room during a video chat. You can listen to music via Spotify or Pandora and watch video content on Facebook Watch, the company’s latest on-demand initiative, though it isn’t as much of a do-it-all compared to the others.
Here’s a spec breakdown to make the decision a bit easier.
Google Home Hub vs. Amazon Echo Show vs. Facebook Portal
|Category||Google Home Hub||Amazon Echo Show||Facebook Portal|
|Starting price||$149||$229||$199 (10.1 inches), $349 (15.6 inches)|
|Display||7 inches||10.1 inches||10.1 inches (720p), 15.6 inches (1080p)|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth|
|Camera||No||Yes, 5MP||Yes, 12MP|
|Weight||480g||1,775g||1,250g (10.1 inches), 3,360g (15.6 inches)|
|Dimensions (mm)||178.5 x 118 x 67.3||246 x 174 x 107||250 x 208.5 x 93.6 (10.1 inches), 450 x 145.5 x 224 (15.6 inches)|
|Voice assistant||Google Assistant||Alexa||Alexa, though Facebook's own assistant handles calls|
|Supports YouTube||Yes, includes a six-month Premium subscription||Yes, but it's a nightmare||No|
|Multiroom audio support||Yes||Yes||No|