Google didn't change a lot from the first generation, but it didn't have to. What is new and improved is Soli-based sleep tracking, a better-sounding speaker, and a lower starting price point. The motion tracking is still gimmicky, but the entire package is enough once again to be our top mid-sized smart screen speaker pick.
- Sleep-tracking with Soli
- Improved speaker performance over the previous generation
- YouTube support
- Lower starting MSRP than the previous generation
- Awesome integration with Google Photos
- Google Assistant
- No camera for video chatting
- No Alexa compatibility
- Motion controls are still kind of a gimmick
- Sleep tracking soon to be a subscription service
The Echo Show 8 brought the privacy features of the Show 5 with improved speakers and a screen resolution to match the larger Echo Show (2nd Gen). It is the perfect portal for projecting Alexa into your smart home.
- Physical camera shutter and mute switch
- Perfect for video calls with family and friends
- Can help monitor elderly relatives or serve as a security station
- Similar specs to its bigger sibling
- Alexa integration
- No Dolby audio
- Amazon Photos integration not as good as it could be
- No Google Assistant compatibility
Choosing which is the best smart speaker when comparing the Echo Show 8 vs. the Nest Hub (2nd Gen) is quite a difficult exercise. Both of these devices sound great, look good, have comparably-sized displays, and both can do all of the basic smart screen stuff. You can control your smart home devices, monitor your home security, watch videos, or check the weather on either device. An important factor in the decision process will undoubtedly be which smart assistant and which ecosystem you are more embedded in. Still, there are some other factors you may want to consider.
Echo Show 8 vs. Nest Hub (2nd Gen): Middleweight champions
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Amazon started the Echo Show line on the larger-end and gradually introduced a smaller Echo Show 5 and a medium-sized Echo Show 8. On the other hand, Google Nest began its smart screen journey with the mid-sized Nest Hub and then later scaled up with the introduction of the Nest Hub Max. Either way, both companies landed on a strategy of diversified smart screen sizes. Let's take a look at how they compare and help you choose the best option for you.
|Header Cell - Column 0||Echo Show 8||Nest Hub (2nd Gen)|
|Size||7.9 inches x 5.4 inches x 3.9 inches||7.0 inches x 4.7 inches x 2.7 inches|
|Weight||36.6 oz||19.7 oz|
|Screen||8-inch touch screen at 1200x800p resolution||7-inch touch screen at 1024x600p resolution|
|Smart assistant||Alexa||Google Assistant|
|Privacy controls||Physical camera shutter and mute switch||Physical mute switch|
|Colors||2 (charcoal, sandstone)||4 (chalk, charcoal, sand, mist)|
Echo Show 8 vs. Nest Hub (2nd Gen): Hub-a hub-a
The Nest Hub was Google's first attempt at a smart screen speaker, and it was widely praised for its bright, colorful screen and easy interface to the world of Google Assistant. In our initial review, we noted that this was the first smart device we could recommend putting in any room in the house, from the kitchen to the bedroom. It is svelt, doesn't have a camera to worry about, and has a handy Ambient EQ mode that adjusts the color and lighting to fit the room's feel. It just gets the tech out of your face and blends in nicely with its surroundings.
As you might imagine, the Nest Hub has great integration with Google apps and services, so if you are heavy into that ecosystem, you'll be in heaven. It does a fantastic job of showing you your day at a glance, makes it easy to create customized routines, and allows you to cast content to the screen via its built-in Chromecast support. It is also the best digital photo frame on the market, and its integration with Google Photos easily beats out what the Echo Show 8 can do with Amazon Photos.
There have been some complaints about the touchscreen's usability, sub-720p resolution, and backward-firing speakers. While many praised Google for not including a camera with this device, others lamented that they couldn't make or receive video calls. The Nest Hub (2nd Gen) has a pretty mature smart home ecosystem (particularly through Nest), but it doesn't work well anymore with Ring products. Such are the realities of consolidated ecosystems and walled gardens, but device and service interoperability is increasingly becoming something you need to consider when making a smart device purchase decision.
Where the Nest Hub (2nd Gen) stands out from the Echo Show 8 and the first generation Nest Hub (Google Home Hub) are in its exciting new features. True, the device looks basically the same, but it's what's on the inside that counts. Google improved the speaker over the previous version, though if you want the best Google sound experience, you should probably also pick up a Nest Audio speaker. A faster processor is powering these new features as well, according to Google, but our review didn't notice a dramatic performance improvement.
Google included its Soli sensors in the Nest Hub (2nd Gen), which uses radar to allow you to control the display through the motion of your hands and scan your sleep habits throughout the night to give you a really accurate sleep analysis. Both of these are cool tricks, but some users may not find them useful in the long run. The sleep tracking is a free trial at launch but is going behind a subscription paywall at the end of 2021, and the motion sense gesture controls are about as hit or miss as they were when first introduced on the Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL smartphones.
One major improvement between the first and second-generation Hubs is the starting price. The original Google Home Hub debuted at $150, but Google released the Nest Hub (2nd Gen) with an MSRP of $100. That makes it even more of great value, and that lower price is important, as Amazon has continued to heavily discount both the Echo Show 8 and Echo Show 5.
Echo Show 8 vs. Nest Hub (2nd Gen): Show enough
The Echo Show 8 is the latest and greatest smart screen Alexa speaker from Amazon, and as such, it builds on the best features of its predecessors — the smaller Echo Show 5 and larger Echo Show (2nd Gen). It brings the physical privacy controls of a hardware camera shutter and microphone switch up from the Show 5 and takes the higher resolution from the Show (2nd Gen). It also incorporates Amazon's new Certified for Humans program approach to easy smart device set-up and maintenance.
The fact that you can use this device to video chat with other Echo Show users or drop in on friends and family with Echo smart speakers puts it ahead of the Nest Hub from a functional perspective. Whereas Google said it left a camera off the Nest Hub for privacy reasons (although it later added one to the Nest Hub Max), Amazon addressed this concern first with the Show 5 and now with the Show 8 by prominently featuring physical controls for the camera and mic and reinforcing its online privacy and security controls (a policy Google also has pursued).
With Amazon's Alexa Care Hub and Alexa Guard Plus services, the Echo Show 8 is further cementing itself as the premier smart home management device. Alexa devices work with many more products and services than Google's Nest speakers, so if you're someone who wants to build out a fully smart home, that is something to consider.
In addition to the hardware enhancements, the Show 8 also plays exclusive content from CNBC and Food Network. It supports Audible audiobooks and Apple Music (among other services not yet available on the Nest Hub). Notably missing, though, is support for YouTube and Netflix. The Show 8 is excellent at controlling and monitoring a wide range of smart home products, and it works particularly well with Ring and Eero products, though not as well with Nest devices. The same caveat about ecosystems applies here — consider what products and services you have or want to have before making your purchase decision.
Echo Show 8 vs. Nest Hub (2nd Gen): Split on screens
This is one of the tougher comparisons to do because these are pretty evenly-matched devices. In this size category, I lean ever so slightly towards the Nest Hub (2nd Gen). While Amazon's smart screen speaker is supremely functional and cheaper than Google's, the innovative motion tracking features, better speaker, Google Photos, and other Google services support help the Nest Hub (2nd Gen) come out on top in this comparison.
The best of Nest and Google by your bedside
The Nest Hub (2nd Gen) takes the best of Google's app ecosystem and Assistant, and adds innovative features like sleep tracking, to make this a fantastic smart device.
Not too big, not too little — the Echo Show 8 just fits
The Echo Show comes to a more natural size that's easier to place than the 10-inch Echo Show (2nd Gen), and still does almost everything the larger device can do.
Jeramy is proud to help *Keep Austin Weird* and loves hiking in the hill country of central Texas with a breakfast taco in each hand. When he's not writing about smart home gadgets and wearables, he's defending his relationship with his smart voice assistants to his family. You can follow him on Twitter at @jeramyutgw.
- Andrew MyrickSenior Editor - Chromebooks, tablets, and wearables