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The Google Nest Hub is a digital photo frame, smart speaker and home control centre rolled into one

Google Nest HubGoogle Nest Hub

My wife takes a ton of photos of our kids. And while she has been consistently sharing the nicer shots on Facebook, it was only recently that she discovered a good way to share her daily highlights with the grandparents who come by our house every evening.

That’s because I got a Google Nest Hub.

A smart digital photo frame

Because the Nest Hub integrates with Google Photos, the same online photo storage service that we upload our photos to, the smart display is able to pick them up automatically to show on its 7-inch touchscreen.

Thanks to AI, it knows what not to show, too. So far, we’ve yet to spot multiple photos of the same scene or blurry photos in the slideshow.

My wife also enjoys using the smart display to relive certain events. Just a few days back, we were discussing our December holiday plans and all of a sudden she exclaimed, “Hey Google, show my pictures from Japan.”

Lots of fun for the kids

My kids love the Nest Hub. Previously, when they wanted to watch Peppa Pig or Teen Titans on YouTube, they’ve to borrow my wife’s or my phone. Now, they prefer watching them on the Nest Hub because it has a bigger screen. Asking Google Assistant all sorts of silly questions and scrolling through endless cat pictures have sort of become their favourite “games”.

Pro tip: to make sure the smaller people in the family don’t see or hear things they aren’t supposed to, I used the Digital Wellbeing controls in the Google Home app to set up content filters. I’ve also scheduled downtimes so that the kids can’t activate Google Assistant unsupervised, like when they’re back from school in the afternoon and after bedtime.

The Nest Hub has a hardware switch on its back for muting the microphoneThe Nest Hub has a hardware switch on its back for muting the microphone
The Nest Hub has a hardware switch on its back for muting the microphone.

Like having a human PA

I use the Nest Hub a lot as a smart speaker to listen to music from Spotify. Its full-range speaker goes pretty loud and the two far-field microphones hear me just fine when I’m across the living room.

I like that when I don’t have my Google Pixel 3a phone on me, I can use voice to check my Google Calendar for upcoming activities. It’s nice that as long as I follow up with another command within 8 seconds, I don’t need to keep saying “Hey Google.”

Because the Nest Hub is powered by Google Search and integrates with Google’s many other services (e.g. Google Maps), I’ve been discovering little nifty use cases every few days. Just yesterday, I used it to check how long it’d take me to bus to Mandai Zoo; and this morning, I used it to find out Golden Village Suntec City’s opening hours.

A smart home control centre, too

The Nest Hub is also a great smart home companion as it enables hands-free voice control of compatible smart home devices including light bulbs, smart plugs and security cameras.

I’ve already paired the Xiaomi home security camera that came with the Nest Hub I bought from COURTS, and the combo is working great. My wife and I have always wanted a way to quickly check in on the kids when they’re alone in the room, and this setup allows us to do so easily.

The Nest Hub will also work with cameras from other brands such as TP-Link, so it’s not like we’ve to stick to a particular brand or model if and when we decide to add more cameras in the future.

I also got my existing Philips Hue lights working with the Nest Hub. You should have seen the look of amazement on my kids’ faces the first time I appeared from the kitchen and said dramatically, “OK Google, turn on dining lights.”

You can also control smart home devices with the Nest HubYou can also control smart home devices with the Nest Hub
You can also control smart home devices with the Nest Hub.

I don’t remember when was the last time I brought home a gadget and got immediately approval from my wife and kids like the Google Nest Hub did. But I think that’s also because the Nest Hub can do so many things. It’s truly a smart display, a smart speaker, a virtual assistant, and a smart home control centre all rolled into one neat little package.

If you don’t need a photo frame or a screen to watch YouTube or monitor your smart home devices, Google also sells the Google Home and Home Mini, two LCD-less smart speakers that are powered by the same intelligent Google Assistant.

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