Once the all-new Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) releases sometime before the 2020 holidays, the best smart display showdown will truly come down to the Echo Show 10 vs Nest Hub Max. The Echo Show 10 brings some advanced specs and an innovative rotating motor to the table, but Google still has a few tricks up its sleeve like facial recognition and quick gesture controls that Amazon hasn't matched yet. Here's everything you need to know before deciding which device to buy.
Amazon Echo Show 10 vs Nest Hub Max: Comparing tracking and camera tech
Both the Echo Show 10 and Nest Hub Max can track your location as you move around a room. For the Nest Hub Max, this is mostly limited to video calls — the 6.5MP camera has a 127-degree wide-angle lens that can digitally zoom in on your face as you move, so the person on the other end of the call doesn't lose sight of you even when you're busy. Of course, this only works to an extent since the Max cannot rotate if you move out of its line of sight.
The Amazon Echo Show 10's 13MP camera not only tracks you during calls, but moves its screen to follow you thanks to its motorized, rotating top. You can turn off this function at any time via Alexa or a switch on top of the touchscreen, but with automated tracking enabled, it will use "audio beamforming technology and computer vision" to follow you around while you're using it.
With the Echo Show 10, no matter where you go in the room, you'll never lose sight of what you're watching or who you're talking to.
The Echo Show 10 screen can turn 175 degrees in either direction from its default position, meaning it can face backwards but can't do a full circle. You can also move or tilt the screen manually. What isn't especially clear is what the Echo Show 10 will do if there are multiple people in the room. We hope it won't move from one face or voice to the other like a spectator at a tennis match, but we'll have to test it ourselves to find out. We do know that the turning mechanism is silent, so it won't be an annoyance.
One unique Nest Hub Max feature is facial and voice recognition. Google's Face Match and Voice Match enable the smart display to recognize multiple users as different people. If you say "Hey Google", the Max will register your identity and pull up your Google account-related notifications, personal Spotify playlists and so on. However, if it sees and hears your roommate, it'll display all the info that person need instead.
Automatic user customization is a useful feature for a multi-person household, though some will see stored facial recognition data on Google's servers as a privacy issue. Amazon, on the other hand, says that it only uses its data to determine what in the room is a person, but doesn't store any individualized data.
Amazon's 13MP camera will improve the quality of video calls compared to Google's 6.5MP camera — at least for the people on the other end. Our Nest Hub Max reviewer said that the track and zoom feature worked best if you are within six to eight feet of the display in proper lighting. It's possible then that the increased megapixels on the Echo Show will provide better zoom quality at further distances for more freedom of movement.
On your end, however, both devices have a 1080p (1280x800) resolution and only a 0.1-inch difference in screen size, so the quality of your friends' and family's faces will be comparable on either display.
Amazon Echo Show 10 vs Nest Hub Max: Security and smart home tech
Amazon recently revealed its Guard Plus security system, which enables any Echo speaker to call emergency services with Alexa commands, monitor the sounds of smoke and glass break alarms via your speaker mics, and set up home automations that respond to motion alerts with tricks to scare away intruders.
Who needs an indoor security camera, when the Echo Show 10 can automatically pan across a room to seek out and warn you of any motion?
For example, if your Blink, Ring, or Arlo security cams (or Echo Show 10) detect motion, you can program your Echo Show 10 to respond instantly by projecting fake dog barking or a loud siren. Amazon recently made all of its Echo devices compatible with Zigbee smart home devices, so you should check to see if any smart bulbs you own (or plan to buy) will work with the Show 10.
The Echo Show 10 specifically ties into the Guard Plus program by enabling a "Sentry mode" during which the Show 10 sporadically pans across the room to seek out intruders. In theory, this could allow you to skip buying an indoor security camera for that room, because you can use the Drop In feature to pull up the live camera feed at any time, and see / hear for yourself what is happening.
As for the Nest Hub Max, it lives up to its name and serves as a hub for all your Nest Aware-compatible and Google Assistant-compatible smart devices. It's very easy to link up smart devices to the Hub Max, either through voice commands or by tapping on the display.
Which smart display you choose will depend on which home security system, if any, you use. Neither is particularly effective on its own.
As a camera, the Nest Hub Max also can act as an indoor surveillance tool. You can check the live view on your phone at any time — along with the live view of other Nest Cams you may own — and will receive motion or sound alerts if it detects a problem. Plus, if you pay for Nest Aware, you get continuous recording so you have evidence of any crimes, as well as "familiar face alerts" so you know you don't need to check an alert if it's your roommate walking in the room.
How do they compare as security cams? They're mainly useful for daytime monitoring when away from home, but neither are useful when the lights are dim. Both rely on a monthly security subscription — the Nest Aware subscription for Google devices, or the Ring Protect subscription for Amazon devices, which bundles in free Amazon Guard Plus. Either will work with your bargain-priced home security system, so your choice will depend on which smart home devices and smart speaker you prefer. We broke down Nest Secure vs Ring Alarm if you need more information on both linked security systems.
Amazon Echo Show 10 vs Nest Hub Max: Spec breakdown and sound quality
In our Nest Hub Max review, we said that it had fantastic audio quality. We were impressed by its camera tracking for video calls, as well as its mic quality for picking up commands even when the music is loud, but lamented that the rear-firing speakers caused some audio balancing issues with bass. As for the Echo Show 10, we won't be able to test its audio quality until it's closer to sale, but we can compare its announced built-in speakers and other specs, shown in the table below:
|Amazon Echo Show 10||Nest Hub Max|
|Processor||MediaTek 8183 main processor plus second processor with Amazon AZ1 Neural Edge||Amlogic T931|
|Smart Assistant||Alexa||Google Assistant|
|Touchscreen||10.1" HD||10" HD|
|Speakers||2 x 1.0" tweeters, 1 x 3.0" woofer||2 x .7" 10W tweeters, 1 x 2.95" 30W woofer|
|Camera||13MP + Shutter||6.5MP with 127º FOV|
|Privacy controls||Physical cover for mic, electronic switch for mic||Physical cover switch for mic and camera|
|WiFi||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz/5GHz), dual-antenna (MIMO)||802.11 b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz/5GHz)|
|Smart Home Integration||Zigbee + Sidewalk||Works with Google Assistant|
|Moving camera||Brushless motor with +/- 175° rotation physically rotates device||Camera zooms in and moves to track person speaking (the Nest itself doesn't move)|
|Photos||Can display Amazon or Facebook photos on home screen||Can display Google Photos on home screen|
|Low Power Mode||Uses less power when not in use||Dims screen to ambient lighting when not in use|
|Security system compatibility||Works with Guard Plus||Works with Nest Aware|
|Can you delete old recordings?||Yes||Yes|
|Size||9.89" x 9.06" x 6.77"||9.85" x 7.19" x 3.99"|
|Weight||5.64 lbs||2.91 lbs|
Amazon claims that its AZ1 Neural Edge was built to halve the response time between a voice command and Alexa's response, so once can hope that this will be the fastest Echo Show yet. It also equals the Nest Hub Max's woofer size and has slightly larger dual tweeters. Considering the Echo Show 10 design with its rotating display, its unclear if the speakers face a particular direction, and if so whether the sound quality will be affected when the display moves.
With either display, you get Bluetooth support for streaming from your devices and dual-band Wi-Fi for Alexa command processing, though only Amazon has MIMO support and dual antennas. Where the Nest Hub Max shines is its built-in Chromecast, which provides faster connectivity than Bluetooth syncing can typically offer.
Along with Face and Voice Match, the Nest display also has some limited Quick Gesture support, such as holding up your hand in front of the camera to pause the music, without even having to make a verbal command.
The Echo Show 10 is made of 30% post-consumer recycled plastics and 100% post-consumer recycled fabric and aluminum thanks to Amazon's new focus on environmental efficiency. It also has a new Low Power Mode setting for all of its new Echo devices that uses less electricity whenever the Echo isn't being actively used. For comparison, the Nest Hub Max dims to the same level of brightness as your room when not in use. While nice for ambience, we don't know that this setting reduces the energy use, however.
Amazon Echo Show 10 vs Nest Hub Max: Which should you buy?
Google's Nest Hub Max is presently our pick for the best smart display, but based on future testing, the Echo Show 10 might challenge its crown.
Both devices have comparable pricing, security camera settings, robust smart home support for third-party devices, HD resolution, auto-facial tracking so people you call get a constant close-up of you from afar, and several other features in common.
The Echo Show 10 has superior specs, but stick with the Nest Hub Max if you prefer Google Assistant to Alexa.
Where the Echo Show 10 stands out, of course, is in its mobility. So consider where in your home you would place such a smart display. On a kitchen island, for instance, having a rotating base would be incredibly useful. If you would place it against a wall, or somewhere where the screen is visible in most of the room, the usefulness of the feature is somewhat lessened.
Ultimately, you can make a case for either smart display, based on which smart home devices or security cameras you already own. But Amazon has purchased or partnered with more security companies, giving you more options, and its new Zigbee support makes its Echos able to control more third-party devices. Still, many users will always prefer Google Assistant to Alexa, and it's unclear that the Echo Show 10 is enough to get consumers to switch camps.
Alexa on the move
Doubles its rival's camera MP
Smart displays may never be the same. The Amazon Echo Show 10 keeps you in its sights at all times, with a high-quality camera that'll make you appear clearly during video calls even at a distance. It also doubles as a panning indoor security camera.
A base for all your Google tech
This smart display serves many purposes: a central location to link and control all of your smart home devices through Google Assistant, a bright screen to view a slideshow of all your Google Photos, a Nest Cam for home surveillance, and much more.
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