Since launching in 2018 as a Google Home Hub, what's nowhas offered the best balance between usability and smart at the price of a smart display on the market. But is the first Alexa-powered display to compete directly with the size and price of the Nest Hub. Not only do both sell for $ 130 (not to mention occasional discounts), they also offer similar screen sizes, digital assistants, and kitchen-oriented cooking support.
When reviewing the Nest Hub, we praised the practical smart home controls, adaptive brightness, cooking aid, and voice support. It was way ahead of Amazon's smart displays when it came out. But this is 2020 and the smart display landscape is changing.
Show 8 has raised the bar for Amazon's smart displays and offers a more responsive operating system than previous displays and more kitchen-oriented services. It also has a camera that offers the potential for video chats that Nest Hubs just don't have.
So let's put these two displays head to head and see which one you should put on your countertop.
Chris Monroe / CNET
All popular smart displays since the first Amazon Echo Show combine the voice-controlled assistant of a smart speaker with a touchscreen display for watching videos, scrolling through pictures, making video calls etc. The Show 8 retains this core as well as the improvements to the formula that Amazon has made on every subsequent iteration.
The first Echo Show had no touch controls for smart home devices. The Show 8 has a full control panel that you swipe to access, so you can quickly find and edit any of your compatible devices. The first echo show had no physical shutter to cover the camera. Show 8 does. It has a built-in web browser that allows you to access any website your heart desires. The Nest Hub still doesn't offer that.
Google's smart displays have long been better than Amazon's kitchen assistants. Running through a recipe in a Nest Hub is seamless and intuitive. You can also multitask while you work. Show 8 tries to challenge this supremacy through the new integration of Amazon in Food Network TV.
Food Network Kitchen is a subscription service that you can access on Show 8 for $ 40 a year. You can watch live and on-demand episodes of Food Network TV, save recipes from the episodes, and ask questions about the recipes as you work. If you forget how much thyme you need to add, just ask Amazon's voice assistant, Alexa. The information from the Food Network episode is then retrieved and answered.
Perhaps most importantly, the Echo Show 8 has a camera for video chatting. This is a feature that is completely lacking in the Nest Hub, and it's a remarkable absence. If privacy is important to you, the Show 8 also has a physical lock.
Read more about the Amazon Echo Show 8.
Chris Monroe / CNET
While Amazon has made progress with its own local chef guides, Google is still ahead.
The Nest Hub has held the crown as the best smart display for a while and won't give it up so easily. The Show 8 smart home control panel is intuitive and easy to use, but the Nest Hub has a similar control panel with a little better organization.
All intelligent displays can scroll through your personal pictures as screensavers. However, the Nest Hub has light sensors that adjust both the brightness and the color warmth of the image to the ambient light in the room. As a result, the Nest Hub makes your images look like physical photos in a frame. Amazon's newer smart displays have added better light sensors, but the Nest Hub holds the crown here too.
The Nest Hub shows you what it hears when you give a voice command. In general, the touch controls and user interface are accessible and easy to use.
Read the Google Nest Hub test.
The Smart Displays category continues to grow. Show 8 lets you fill out your midrange options next to the Nest Hub. If you want a higher quality smart display with a larger screen, check out the second generationor the Google Nest Hub max. If you want something smaller for your bedroom, the Echo Show 5 and Lenovo Smart Clock offer sunrise alarms – the screen gradually brightens up to your alarm time to wake you up. Check out our Learn more about these options.
The Nest Hub and Echo Show 8 are currently on par in our book, but Google's Nest Hub has a slight advantage overall. While the Show 8 has a camera for video chatting and a slightly larger screen with a higher resolution, the Nest Hub overall offers a stronger voice assistant and better handling of photos with ambient lighting. If you want to video chat with friends or family on an Echo Show, Show 8 is a great option. Otherwise, the Nest Hub is still considered the best smart display on the market – albeit with an ever closer distance.
Originally published on September 26, 2019 and updated with new information.