There are two types of people who should buy a Home Hub: those who have a maxed-out smart home, and those who don’t yet own a single smart-home device.
My reasoning with the former category is that the idea of the Home Hub is to take the hardest thing about setting up and maintaining a smart home — the countless individual apps you need to control everything — and put it in one easy-to-use location. Being able to watch a live feed from your security camera, or tapping the screen to control the lights, would be a game-changer.
On the other end of the spectrum are people embarking on their first smart-home product, or their first device with a smart assistant. The Home Hub is great for that too, because it acts as a jumping-off point: You can start with the hub, then add other devices as you go. And if you learn how to use a smart speaker on the Home Hub, adding a Google Home Mini or Home Max down the line will be that much easier.
I fall somewhere in the middle, and because of that, the Home Hub felt like a bit of an extravagance. I felt as if I were able to use only 50% of its capacity and that a lot of its potential use cases were wasted on me.
But I can’t deny that the Home Hub made me happy on a daily basis, thanks to the Google Photos ambient mode, the on-screen weather, calendar, and traffic, and the additional nifty features, like the auto-dimming display. I even noticed that when I had a reservation at an Italian restaurant, Google Assistant adopted an Italian accent to tell me the details.
For all that, $150 doesn’t seem like too big a price to pay.
Note: All the photos in this review were shot with the Google Pixel 3.
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