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Hands on with Google's Home Hub: The smart speaker for everything

Yesterday at its Made By Google event in Manhattan, Google announced the Home Hub, a new Assistant-powered smart device. It's not the first of its kind, as Lenovo already has the Smart Display, which has an identical feature set.

I've been using Lenovo's Smart Display for over two months, so the product isn't a stranger to me at all. Google's is a bit smaller though, with a seven-inch display where Lenovo's comes in eight and 10 inches.

Home Hub can do quite a bit, as the addition of a screen adds an entirely new dimension to Google Assistant. As you can see from the image above, you can use it to guide you through cooking something. You can go through an ingredient at a time, or you can jump right into the cooking instructions.

You can do lots of other things too. Asking for the weather will give you a full forecast, and you can follow up and ask to see more. You can play YouTube videos as well, although it doesn't yet support playing content you've purchased on Google Play Movies & TV. You can use Play Music though. I was told that at this time, the focus is simply YouTube Premium.

The Home Hub is extremely compact, making it easy to place anywhere. You can use it in the kitchen, living room, bedroom, or anywhere else. That's one of the selling points here, because as I mentioned above, Lenovo's Smart Displays are larger, which is great if that's what you want. The Home Hub screen really doesn't look much larger than a smartphone.

You can use the Home Hub to show you a photo gallery when it's asleep, making it a digital picture frame. When you wake it up and say, "Good morning", it will give you the weather for the day, anything on your calendar, and more.

It comes in four colors: Charcoal, Aqua, Chalk, and Sand. It only costs $149, which is about what you'd expect. The Lenovo Smart Display is $199 and $249 for 8- and 10-inch models, so it's appropriate for the size.

Other than that, there's really just not a lot to say about the Home Hub. The actual feature-set is nothing new. The device is a bit more compact than similar ones, which can be useful for smaller spaces.

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