Google Nest Hub - Rs 9,999
Amazon Echo Show 5 - Rs 8,999
Google and Amazon are in a race to take pride of place in your smart home. Both already had smart speakers but with Google launching the Nest Hub in India, both now also have smart displays. So what is a smart display? It's the same smart speaker (with Google Assistant or Alexa, depending on your choice) but with a colour touchscreen display in tow. The idea is that you can get a visual response to your spoken queries, alarms, timers, routines, watch videos (including YouTube), control your smart home via touch and a lot more.
In a sense, both Nest Hub and Echo Show 5 are affordable smart displays. Amazon sells the larger Echo Show in India (10.1-inch, Rs 22,999) while Google also has the more expensive Next Hub Max (not officially sold in India yet). Both of them have great design, crisp screens, single speaker audio systems, dual far field microphones, Bluetooth and WiFi. You can also use either of them to stream unlimited music: Amazon has Prime Music while Google has a tie-up with Gaana. There is no battery in either of them, so you will need to use the supplied wall adapter. The touch screen is responsive in either case and will auto adjust to the surrounding light. Both are at par when it comes to smart home product compatibility.
Nest Hub has a larger 7-inch display in a floating design while the Echo Show 5 has a 5-inch integrated design. It can do video calls with other smartphones over Google Duo, but your caller will not be able to see you since there's no camera. There's tighter integration with Google services like YouTube, Maps, Photos and Calendar. In particular, photos from your library look great and the photo frame feature is easy to configure. Since Nest Hub is based on the Cast platform, it can function like a Chomecast, means compatible apps like Hotstar can cast video to it. Google also offers voice match, which means Assistant can recognise who in the house is asking the question and answer accordingly.
Echo Show 5 has the advantage in terms of thousands of skills. There are skills for games, stories, audiobooks and a lot more. You can use it as a photo frame but you will need to connect your Facebook account for that. You can watch the entire Prime Video catalogue on it. Plus Echo Show 5 gets a front camera for video calls (with a physical sliding cover for privacy) and a 3.5mm aux audio output to connect headphones or large wired speakers. In terms of which one to buy, it depends on which ecosystem you're more invested in. Audio quality on the Echo Show is a tad better than Nest Hub but that being said, neither suffices for room-filling sound.
Some things to consider
As an introductory offer, Google is offering a free Mi Home Security Camera 1080p with the Nest Hub (a Rs 1,799 value). We've also seen the Echo Show 5 get substantially discounted during Amazon sale days (as low as Rs 5,000). Whichever one you pick will make a great addition to your desk or nightstand.
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