eightbitmatt
eightbittech Technology

Google’s “Nest Hub”, the good and the bad.

I am an avid user of Google products, I’ve got an Android phone, Chromecast’s, Google Homes, and now a Nest Hub; formally known as the Google Home Hub.

The hub is a recent purchase and I wanted it to be in a room with frequent traffic to link all the other devices together. This, I thought, would make it easy to see the status of things, like heating, lighting, and my other home devices.

It is a good addition to my smart devices and does what I need to, well sort of.

It does things I want it to

It’s a great speaker, a massive improvement on the Google Home and Home Mini. The Home speaker is relatively bass filled and I don’t find the Home Mini very good at filling a room.

Controlling devices is great, the hub groups them all and essentially brings the Google Home app into the device. It makes it dead easy to control music on each, volume when music is playing, lights can be turned on and off and thermostats can be turned up and down.

It also does the normal things that you expect a Google Home to do like defining words on the fly, answering questions, doing some maths when you’re struggling. Makes a nice picture frame too.

But, there are some issues

It doesn’t do everything that I need it too. As a main control device it’s great, it does all good things but it could do with being enabled to do some other things too.

Advanced device control

Being able to go into a device and change the settings would make the whole experience a lot better. Even being able to pause or stop timers from the hub is a step in the right direction.

View other devices

Building on my comment above, viewing a timer you’ve got on another device would be excellent. I regularly set a kitchen timer and wander off while my food is cooking, being able to see exactly how long is left on that timer from the Nest Hub – such a time saver.

Better at finding and giving information

If you want to know something and the Nest Hub doesn’t have the right answer to say out loud then it searches the web. This is good, it means you can usually get the answer you want pretty quickly. But it’s also bad. It doesn’t always give you a quick and easy answer and often I find myself listening to it recite a Wikipedia article so it can get to the right answer.

Reminders on Google Home’s are just awful

This is especially relevant for non-screen Google Homes but less annoying on the Nest Hub. When you set a reminder and it is played back, the Home doesn’t actually tell you what it is – they just tell you there’s a reminder.

On the Nest Hub with the screen you do get to see the contents of the reminder, but on the non-screen version the reminders become pretty much useless.

Overall though, they’re not bad gadgets

I do love the Home devices and they have added an extra sense of tech to my old house. I wish Google would think more common-sense like about them though and make some more useful features.

I think they could become useful devices if there was a bit more thought put into what you can do with them. If you don’t want to have a Home in every room though, a Nest Hub is a worthwhile single investment that you can use when you want to.