Smart speakers are great, but smart monitors are even better. They can do anything a smart speaker can do, but they can also show you things: Videos, texts, maps, commute, weather reports, live tv, art, photos, who's at the front door or sneak through your backyard. When you do not want to use your voice, you can use a smart screen to control the lights, thermostat, door lock and other smart home computers with touch.
Two players dominate the smart display market today: Amazon, with its echo show, powered by its Alexa digital assistant (we will not consider the smaller echo spot here) and Google, with its Google Smart Home Hub, powered by its Google Assistant .
Round 1: Digital Assistant
"Alexa" rolls the tongue easier than "Hello Google", and Amazon gives you more alternative wake words: You can also say "Amazon" Echo, "or a favorite of Star Trek fans -" Computer . "You can also use another password for each echo device, even though I'd find it confusing.
There are only two ways to urge Google Assistant:" Ok Google "or" Hi Google. "On the top side, Google's phrases gender neutral, and you can choose from a selection of both male and female sounds, as well as different accents (weak American, British or Australian). Plus saying two words make you less likely to wake Google Assistant by accident. I have more of both types of smart speakers in my home, and the echoes are unintentionally called much more often.
But it's the least important consideration when considering digital assistants. If you are an Android smartphone user, the Google Assistant hooks have the operating system that does It's superior to Alexa on several points. Ask Alexa for directions, for example, and she will inform you how long it takes to get to the destination and basics of routes you should take. Ask it same on a Google Home Hub and you will get a basic map along with verbal suggestions for the best route and an estimate of how long your journey will take. View the messages on your smartphone: You'll see this same information plus for detailed instructions and navigation instructions. It would be even better if these navigation instructions appeared on your Android Auto-enabled navigation system, but the integration did not extend so far.  Winner : Google Home Hub
Round 2: Voice Recognition
Apart from the Alexa discussions described above, both the Echo Show and Google Home Hub are very good at recognizing their wake words, even when playing music, and both have strong speech recognition. In both cases, these smart speakers can be trained to recognize different members of your household so the results they deliver are relevant to the person who is talking.
Both platforms also support children's accounts / profiles, but Amazon's efforts through Amazon FreeTime on Alexa-are a bit more robust. It's a parental overview that lets you see what content your children are exposed to and how long and you can limit when Amazon FreeTime is enabled on Alexa. You can also enable or disable a child's access to Alexa's smart home screen to prevent injury.
This may not be the most important feature a smart speaker can ha, but Google's decision to exclude one from the Google Home Hub makes it the most interesting. When JBL and Lenovo rolled out Google Assistant-powered smart monitors at CES in January, both companies' products – JBL Link View and Lenovo Smart Display cameras on board, respectively. Several sources have told me that Google strongly encouraged this design decision so users could make video calls using Google Duo.
Imagine these companies' surprise when Google not only launched Google's home-based camcorder but also exchanged its partners by making the home theater display much smaller, reducing the cost of building significantly to sell it for $ 149. Google then marketed the camera's absence as a consumer benefit, based on privacy issues.
In fact, someone will see the Google Home Hub's lack of a camera as a privacy plus, but I do not. If you have deep privacy issues, you should probably not buy a smart speaker initially. For me, I often use the camera on Amazon Echo Show to make video calls to my children and grandchildren who have moved out of the state and they keep in touch with each other in the same way. It has kept our family closer.
That said, smart home enthusiasts will be much better served by a more full-fledged controller, such as a Samsung SmartThings on the DIY front or a professional smart home service from such as ADT Pulse or Vivint Smart Home if you want someone else to handle the installation.