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This is a smart home console that you have to buy



So you've invested in smart lights, a security camera connected, a couple of smart roses, and perhaps a smart speaker or two around your home. You think about the possibility of adding a robot to a vacuum. But the idea of ​​adding another program to your already messy phone is depleting – what do you do?

To get around the fact that technological companies can not agree on a single protocol of a smart home, voice assistants arose as a natural solution. And they are not limited to only the announcers. Amazon made a compelling case for smart displays with the original echo shows. Since then, Apple, Lenovo, and Google have all rolled on board with the idea of ​​a full-fledged, voice-smart home console. In other words, these things are smart speakers with a screen that can be used to control the entire home.

Both Lenovo Smart Display ($ 200) and Google Home Hub ($ 1

50) are powered by Google Assistant. The second generation of the Amazon Show from Amazon ($ 230) has solved many of the problems we had with the original, refreshing the design to increase the display area and moving the speaker to the back of the device. Apple HomePod ($ 350) has many features of the same functionality but does not have a full-featured display that is heavily restricted by Apple's environmental system in the garden (read: HomeKit) and suffers because Siri is not as good as Alexa or Google Assistant. With the exception of HomePod, these devices have less than $ 250, and the Home Hub is the most affordable.

We have placed these devices – although we have decided to pre-launch the HomePod for the above reasons – through the call. in three fights: one for managing the device, one for communication, and a final test of how well they use the display.


Device Control

This is a smart home console so you can spend less time crying angry on your phones, such as "SIRI WHY WON" In order to do this, we decided to see how easy it was to set up and control various types of Wi-Fi enabled gadgets that you can find in a typical smart home. First, we tried to enable and disable some smart lights. We then tried to transfer content to a smart TV. Finally, we tried to track the security camera channel.

This is also a time to indicate that these devices are not genuine, complete, homemade hubs (regardless of the name of this Google device). They are more of a smart way and access point for certain connected devices, so we call them consoles. Full-function hubs can support wireless standards such as Zigbee and Z-Wave so that they can bypass wifi. Examples of Amazon Echo Plus and Logitech Harmony Hub. However, the Amazon Echo Show, Lenovo Smart Display and Google Home Hub work exclusively over Wi-Fi.

Lenovo Smart Display is a solid Google-based device.
Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

? That's OK. Smart light is a good example of how messy device IoT can be. Philip's Intelligent Bulbs talk to each other through ZigBee and talk to your phone (so you can have fantastic features such as geostation and remote control) through a separate wifi node. Meanwhile, LIFX lamps come with built-in wifi, so all you have to do is download the app. Others, such as traditional Ikea lamps, communicate with physical console and dimmer via Bluetooth, and work with separate Wi-Fi hubs to provide similar planning.

This can make the setting boring and extremely painful. And this, alas, was the case with Amazon's Echo Show 2. For whatever reason, we continued to install and reinstall Alexa's skills. With the lights Alexa simply could not recognize them by name or correctly place them even when they were correctly installed. The same was true of attempts to cast an episode Wonderful Ms. Mayzel on Amazon Fire TV. There was simply no synergy between the devices, despite the fact that they were both made by Amazon. In addition, an attempt to control the channel on its own Cloud Amazon camera was a real nightmare. Although all these devices in the end worked with the Echo Show, the entire process involved more than 90 minutes of hair follicle and plenty of licks

. While Alexa used to dominate the Voice Assistant field, Google Assistant has taken giant steps in recent years. This shows that settings and testing were much faster – less than an hour for both consoles – and engagement with Google was much more intuitive. These two devices had a very similar experience, but the Google Home Hub was noticeably faster and smoother.

Winner: Google Home Hub


Intelligent console is not just a glorious display speaker. You can also use them as a futuristic alternative to a traditional landline network. So, for this battle, we wanted to see how well they could call friends and send messages.

Lenovo Smart Display has done a great job. Making a video call is easy, but you need to use Google Duo. The image and sound quality were decent. However, one thing that Google Assistant still can not do is send text messages.

De Echo Show caught on the management of the device, he succeeded in communicating.
Photo: Alex Cranz (Gizmodo)

The concentrator was subject to the same restrictions as for text messages. But, unlike the Lenovo Smart Display, the head concentrator does not have a video camera, which means only audio calls. It wins when it comes to privacy, but maybe not the best for general communication.

Despite its struggle against devices, communication is the place where the Amazon Echo Show 2 showed its agility. Video calls were easy to place, and the video and audio quality was great. It was also easy to ask Alexa to send a message. In addition, if you have several Amazon displays, such as Echo Spot, you can effectively create a mini video doorway in your home.

Winner: Amazon Echo Show 2


Display

The original Echo show has its fair share of issues, one thing that he did well, gave you reason to want a smart display. For this battle, we decided to look for the recipe and see how easily each console did it after the hands. In the end, you probably do not want to degrease the beautiful display with greasy hands.

Echo Show had the nicer display, but finding a simple cheese omelet recipe was not the easiest. Voice alerts could be easily followed, but Alexa is not the largest in the following issues. The echo shows were also not enjoyed by their wonderful display, since the recipes were just blocks of text instructions on a black background.

Home Hub uses its display best.
Photo: Adam Clark Estes (Gizmodo)

Again, this battle was also a tricky challenge between Lenovo Smart Display and the Google Home Hub. This is because, as you have already guessed, both of them work from Google Assistant. Nevertheless, both had an edge over the Echo Show. First, any recipe you like can be saved in the virtual cookbook. It was also more intuitive to call video search results for the appropriate cooking methods. And as a pleasant touch, Google really shows you a colorful little illustration of the background of your ingredients during cooking.

Like in our first battle, she came to speed. For any reason, Google Assistant is a bit faster on the Home Hub. In addition, the small form factor of the main concentrator seemed to better fit the recipe format and collected less than the counter.

Winner: Google Home Hub


At the end of the day there may be only one Battlemodo winner. And in this case, it's Google's main house. Not only was it faster, the Google Assistant was just a more enjoyable experience.

This does not mean that the Lenovo Smart Display and the Amazon Echo Show are not good consoles. The Lenovo Smart Display is a solid device that has been perfectly executed in all three tests, but has almost lost its speed in the Home Hub. Similarly, the echo shows what it should do – even if the setting can be a bit of a nightmare. Although, if you have already bought an echo system echo, the show is still a good purchase.

Of course, the ecosystem plays a role in any console that you choose and you want to keep in mind the existing gadgets. . Nevertheless, for $ 150, Google Home Hub is the cheapest of the group and delivers the most consistent work, winning two of the three battles. All the reasons why this is our Winner of Battlemodo and the smart home console that you have to buy.


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