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Google's $129 smart display is the best part of my home office

Google Nest Hub
Google Nest Hub (Image credit: Joe Maring / Android Central)

Unless you've been living under a boulder, you've likely noticed that the internet has been filled with "work from home" content recently. We've been a proponent of that here at AC, with recommendations for affordable desks, accessories, and more.

I'll have been working from home for four years this June, and during that time, it's been a constantly-evolving process on finding the gear and tools that help me do my job the best. I'm quite happy with where I'm at now, and one gadget that's helped me make my home office that much more enjoyable is the Google Nest Hub (opens in new tab).

If you regularly follow AC, you're likely already familiar with the Nest Hub. Originally released in October 2018 as the "Home Hub," this was the first smart display to ever be released by Google. Even to this day, it continues to be one of our top smart home recommendations.

I'm not here to give you a full rundown on everything the Nest Hub does or to tell you why it's so great — we've written other articles doing just that. Instead, I want to highlight a few of the ways I've been using it in my office and why it's become an essential part of my day-to-day workflow.

Google Nest Hub

Source: Joe Maring / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Joe Maring / Android Central)

First thing's first, let's talk placement. I used to have my Nest Hub on the far-left of my desk, but once I added two Sonos One (opens in new tab) speakers to it, I had to find a new spot. That resulted in me trying something I hadn't done before, which was putting the Nest Hub directly below my computer. I work from a late-2015 iMac, which means the Nest Hub sits perfectly on top of the metal stand below the screen. However, the Nest Hub is so small that it should fit just fine beneath any monitor or all-in-one.

The placement seemed odd to me at first, but it's actually been really great. I can now glance down ever-so-slightly to see the time and weather whenever I want, not to mention using the touchscreen is within arm's reach. Maybe even more important, having a rotating gallery of pictures from Google Photos in my peripheral vision means I always have fond memories to look at throughout the day. It's a small thing, but it really does help to break up walls of text I'm otherwise staring at.

From checking the time to watching product announcements, the Nest Hub has seriously helped my workflow.

On a similar note, the Nest Hub has been the perfect tool for watching videos while I work. If there's a live-streamed event from Samsung or Google that I need to follow, I can cast it to the Nest Hub and still be able to watch it while having the entirety of my computer for other tasks. If I want background noise while I'm editing pictures for an editorial, I'll cast YouTube videos to the Nest Hub.

Then there are all of the little questions that I need to ask on any given day. If I'm not sure how to spell a certain word, I just ask Google Assistant. Not only does it read the correct spelling out loud, but it shows a breakdown of the word so I can follow along visually. Sometimes I'll forget what year a certain product came out or what its original MSRP was, and my Nest Hub is always available to read aloud the answer with a visual aid to accompany it.

Google Nest Hub

Source: Joe Maring / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Joe Maring / Android Central)

Questions like this aren't applicable to everyone depending on what your job is, but no matter what you do, the Nest Hub is a fantastic way to answer simple questions or fact-check things without having to open a new tab on your computer. If you work with numbers a lot, it's a fantastic tool for doing small calculations. If you need to call your colleague about something, the Nest Hub links with your phone number to do just that.

I think what makes the Nest Hub so great for at-home workers is its versatility. One second, I can be using it to watch a live news channel. The next, it's helping me research a topic for work. Not to mention all of the Nest Hub's other abilities, like being able to check the weather, control smart home devices, start timers, and more.

So, if you're going to be working from home for a while and want something that can make your workday both more productive and enjoyable, give the Nest Hub a shot. It's been a key component in my working from home routine, and I think you could benefit from it too.

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

4 Comments
  • that's a cool keyboard, what brand is it? are those custom key caps?
  • Keychron K2! No custom key caps, just the ones that come on it out of the box. It's a wireless mechanical keyboard with brown, red, and blue switch options (I've got blue since I use it exclusively for typing). Comes with macOS and Windows shortcut keys and supports a bunch of different RGB lighting patterns. Highly recommended! https://www.amazon.com/Keychron-Wireless-Bluetooth-Mechanical-Keyboard/dp/B07YB32H52?tag=hawk-future-20&ascsubtag=UUacUdUcU2065469
  • The last thing I need in my life is another device...no thanks. But also curious about the keyboard!
  • Mysetup is having a surface pro with a monitor above (on an arm) so it fits perfectly and SP powers everything, want to go anywhere? unplug the dock, clip on the keyboard and off I go.