The Google Home Hub, released just a few months ago, has convinced us in a way that a product has not had for a very, very long time. That's why we call the Home Hub our product of the year.
In early 2018, Google announced it would branch into "smart displays", products that could compete with the Amazon Echo Show and similar products. The Google ecosystem initially consisted only of third-party products manufactured by companies such as JBL and Lenovo. We reviewed the Lenovo Smart Display this August and found it pretty good.
And the First Smart Displays In fact, they were pretty awesome, they could not believe in Google's own product, Home Hub, released in October this year.
Between the lower price point ($ 1
Most of Review Geek employees have preordered one to play with the moment they were released, but in any case, each one of us has bought more. I admit that I not only played with my pre-ordered unit, but set up a home hub in every major section of my home – bedroom, kitchen, living room, etc. – within a month of receiving the first one. Take a few Google Home Minis and I can say for sure that I am now (and happily) plunging into the Google ecosystem.
Let's take a look at some of the things we love about the Home Hub and why we & # 39; I call it not just the best smart home product of the year, but the best product of the year .
Ambient Mode is the Best Picture Frame Ever
Ambient Mode on Google Home Hub truly has to be seen to be believed. One of the first things we fell in love with was how amazing the ambient mode is.
When you are not actively working You can set the Home Hub to show photos. Like the Chromecast, you can also view art, space, or other curated photos, as well as your own Google Photos albums, or view the time in dimmed mode, like e-ink and less like a bright tablet-like display.
The Home Hub ambient mode is everything we ever wanted from a digital photo frame: seamless network integration, perfectly lit and discreet.
The display seamlessly adapts to the ambient light in the room and detects when the lights go out. Let's take an example of how the display works on my bedside table. During the day, when the room is bright, the brightness increases so that I can see the photos clearly (but it never looks bright it looks more like a perfectly lit photo in a frame). At night, it gets darker when the light level in the room decreases.
When I actually turn off the light to go to bed, it dimms to an almost imperceptible level and displays the time. You'd think that would be a nuisance, no matter how good the dimming of the environment was, but it's so weak that you can not even say it's on when you do not look at it directly (and even then it looks like You're reading a Kindle display and no LCD screen.)
It might seem strange to open our Home Hub treatment by focusing on what you do when you Do not use The style of the design (a 7-inch screen mounted on a smart speaker) is important if you do not use it directly. A screen that dips poorly or not at all would be an absolute deal breaker in this product category. The Home Hub does the trick that blends into the background so well that sometimes you forget it's a smart home product, not an actual picture frame.
The Smart Dashboard is Brilliantly Intuitive
Smart displays close a definite and crucial gap in the smart home ecosystem. Before we arrived, we had two modes for smart home interaction: smart speakers and smart apps on our phones.
For example, if you want to customize your Hue bulbs, you'll either have to yell something at your smart speaker: set the living room lighting to 50%! "Or" Set the living room lighting to Movie Time. "If you do not like the smart speaker, you can always pull out the phone and fiddle with the app to trigger a particular light scene or make adjustments to your smart home.
Where the Home Hub shines in the smart home ecosystem is that it masters both modes well. Google Assistant is a sophisticated, intelligent assistant who can easily handle requests such as "Relaxing Christmas music on the speakers on the ground floor" or "Lighting the candlelit dining room".
At the same time, the Smart Dashboard can serve as both your primary interaction with the device so you can easily (and in the background) tap on the tablet-like surface to adjust the lighting, check if your Smart Lock is locked, etc. 
The intelligent dashboard is displayed while you perform voice-controlled functions, so you can easily make adjustments or interact with the system without ending up in a long chain of "Hey Google …" commands. Do you ask to adjust the lights with your voice? It will, but it will also display a simple dashboard for the lights so you can tap and slide to turn it on or off or adjust the brightness. Check if the rear door is locked, and it will not only show you the status of the door, but will also show you the smart lock interface so you can make adjustments on the screen.
It is absolutely seamless and intuitive. Even if you skip a command or do not exactly ask what you wanted to ask, between the quick response hops of Google Assistant and the good design of the display interface, you will almost always get what you want.
The Hardware Integration Is Seamless  Speaking of lights and door locks, our experience with the Home Hub and our smarthome hardware was fantastic. From Google obsessed devices like our Nest doorbell and thermostat to popular SmartHome devices like the Philips Hue lighting platform to No-Name-Mark's Works-with-Google Assitant Smart Plugs, everything worked perfectly.
 If you want to use the full power of the Home Hub, you should of course use products that are fully integrated. "Hey google, show me the front door" is obviously working fine with the Next bell and not so good with the Amazon's own bell.
The Home Hub puts all of Google's smarts at your fingertips
Let's be real. When it comes to useful information, a Google-driven smart home product will always be the champion. No matter how much they refine Alexa, no matter how many hours they spend training Siri, a product developed by a company that started as a search engine (and continues to be the greatest force in the search engine industry), it's going to be hell beat the competition every time.
Whether you really need to know how to carve a turkey or how Roguefort cheese production is made worldwide, the Home Hub is here to help.
In this regard, the Google Home Hub is an absolute machine when it comes to useful information. Would you like to learn how to make a souffle? Curious what causes a certain herb in your vitamin supplements? Want Random Facts About Paris? Do you need to convert measurements? In nearly three months of my entire family using the Home Hubs around the clock, we're not yet able to handle the response or video that it delivers, which is exactly what we're looking for.
No camera? No problem
"But what about the missing camera?", You could ask. For us and for every friend and neighbor with whom we have come in contact, it is a function and not an omission.
It took a while for the general population to familiarize themselves with the idea of microphones having smart speakers (and many of them still do not feel very comfortable with it). We have just come to a point where the benefits of the microphone outweigh the discomfort that people feel about it.
But video cameras? Get out. The vast majority of people do not want a camera that sits on their dresser or even in their kitchen. The general response of the people to the Echo Show (and later on the Facebook portal) drew a very strong and clear picture: the majority of people like the idea of having a camera in their home, and most importantly, not having a single camera Organization like Facebook.
Undoubtedly, everyone we've shown the device has asked if it has a camera or not (the ambient light sensor and microphone holes look like they're cameras, in fairness). – and expressed the relief that it has none. I certainly would not have put in my bedroom if it had.
It Converts Everyone to Smart Home Experience
On the topic of "Home Hub," we have so far shown that it is almost a moment of conversion experience for most people. I have written about technology for a long time and all my friends and neighbors expect gadgets and fun things when they are at my house. Before any of them even thought about Smart Lights, I said, "Hey, check it out, I can change the color of all the lights in my house with my Apple Watch!".
Want to buy your whole family into the smart home experience? The Google Home Hub is the best way to do that.
And although everyone thinks this stuff is new, over the years there have been very few times where they said, "Hey, I've got to get that for my house! ". With the Google Home Hub, the reaction to seeing and interacting with it was almost everywhere: "That's amazing and I want one for my house."
That's more than I can say for any other product for which I have previously demonstrated friends and family over the years, and even my own family could not get enough of it. After a single day with the first Home Hub in the kitchen, my family called a Home Hub in every room in the house. This is a welcome that poor old Alexa never got even though we had echo units here and there for years.  Plus, the Home Hub makes the use of your smart home equipment and other technologies so smooth that you just use them more. The light bulbs? They get used to more and more diverse. Our Spotify account Thanks to the Hub, it is used virtually every minute of the day. All the little things that my family never used because they did not get used to the apps, or the use of a smart speaker was considered cumbersome, are now being used every day thanks to Smart's Home Hub and the combined audio / display approach experience.
Fully set up, it will get you right into the emotions
In conclusion, I must admit that the Home Hub had an emotional reaction to the technology that I had not had nearly a decade ago.
I play with technology everyday in my life. I use it for fun. I test and check it. I experiment with it. I take it apart and verkable it new. Still, having an emotional response to technology is rare. The last time I remember, it felt like it was the first iPad, and I played around with Smule's Magic Piano app.
The app has a feature that works. You are randomly paired with another user to play a duet. I just downloaded the app and suddenly I played a duet with a distant person in Eastern Europe from Moonlight Sonata. At that moment, the technology did not feel like a soulless engine I was working with, it felt human and amazing. I might have gotten a little foggy eye during the duet when I saw the realization of my geeky childhood dream: seeing technology that connects people around the world in new ways.
But after that I admit, I did not get that feeling often or not at all, and usually it was just a matter of course that I fumbled with it everyday.
Just before I wrote this article, I read a thread about Reddit that did tricks on your Google Home Hub. One of the tricks was to show you that photos are displayed by "Show me my photos " from something in your Google Photos library.
"Hey Google," I said, "show me my photos of Marilyn." To be honest, I'm not sure what to expect, I'm an avid photographer and probably have 10,000 photos of my wife in Archived in my Google Photos collection Would the photos be random If they were just from the last few months, would it start with the latest photo and just roll backwards thoughtlessly?
What I did not expect was a carefully engineered learning process Slideshow that spanned over a decade, from the earliest data on early parenting to the highlights of last year.
For a brief moment, I was sitting on the island in my kitchen, watching Years Passing the Small 7-Inch Canvas I had the surreal feeling of being an astronaut on a deep-space mission, looking at my most precious photos of the earth Except that I was not a lonely astronaut, but someone who was lucky enough to go upstairs and hug the wonderful star of my improvised slideshow.
For all that I am, other tech writers and people in general may be suspicious It's fun to fail, moments like these, when technology is not only seamlessly integrated into your life, but also by better is – the result that we all really hope for. This seamless integration and the factor make life better is why the Google Home Hub is our best choice for the Review Geek product of the year.