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Nest Hub Max vs. Amazon Echo Show: Which should you buy?

Google Nest Hub Max
Google Nest Hub Max (Image credit: Android Central)

Nest Hub Max

Nest Hub Max official render

The Nest Hub Max offers a nice, large touchscreen interface to the Google world. View timers, check your calendar or watch recipes unfold on its fantastic display. The new Face Match feature is excellent because it will recognize you and show you your relevant content. The Nest integration also serves as a gateway to your smart home security.

Nest Hub Max

Nest to the MAX

Face Match feature is cool
Physical mic and camera cover switch
Google Photos integration for a smart frame
Nest Cam features not fully baked
Rear-firing speakers could be better placed
Mic/camera cover turns off both at once

Amazon Echo Show (2nd Gen)

Amazon Echo Show 2nd Gen official render

The Echo Show (2nd Gen) marked a significant design shift from the previous generation with its rounded corners and soft fabric. Where the Nest Hub started small and scaled up, the Echo Show spawned two smaller versions to round out the family of products. It is a great smart home device, particularly when paired with Amazon's array of Ring or Blink security products.

Amazon Echo Show (2nd Gen)

Biggest of Show

Zigbee smart hub built-in
Dobly processing built-in
Available with a free smart bulb
No physical camera cover
Older version

Before you read this, read this

Echo Show 10 Lifestyle

Source: Amazon (Image credit: Source: Amazon)

You're here to read a comparison between the Nest Hub Max and the Amazon Echo Show (2nd Gen), which is great. Welcome! But this is an older comparison, written before the Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) comes out in late 2020. We're keeping the content untouched because all the information is still valid, but just in case you were looking for something a bit more relevant, we have a thorough comparison of the Nest Hub Max vs. the Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) that may be perfect for you.

Nest Hub Max vs. Amazon Echo Show: What the specs say

If you're in the market for a large smart screen device, then you've probably been comparing the Nest Hub Max vs. the Amazon Echo Show. Assuming that you have the counter space for one of these behemoths, you'll want to think about which ecosystem your existing devices are compatible with, which smart assistant you prefer, and what your aesthetic is. Let's dive into the specs a bit before we weigh the pros and cons of Nest versus Echo.

Nest Hub MaxAmazon Echo Show (2nd Gen)
Price$230$230
Smart AssistantGoogle AssistantAlexa
Screen10" touchscreen10.1" touchscreen
Speakers2 x .7" 10W tweeters, 1 x 2.95" 30W woofer2 x 2.2" at 10W per channel
Size9.85" x 7.19" x 3.99"9.7" x 6.9" x 4.2"
Weight2.91 lbs3.89 lbs
Smart Home IntegrationWorks with Google Assistant programZigbee hub and Amazon Certified for Humans program
Camera6.5MP5MP
Camera ControlsPhysical mic and camera cover switchElectronic mic and camera button
WiFi802.11 b/g/n/ac802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth5.0A2DP support

Nest Hub Max: The good and bad

Google saw how much its users loved the Nest Hub and the success of Amazon's Echo Show line and decided the natural evolution of the Nest Hub product was to kick it up a notch. As editor Russell Holly said in his review of the Nest Hub Max, it took everything good about the smaller version and just made it bigger.

In addition to a bigger screen and better speakers, Google added some nifty software enhancements and integrations. The Face Match feature allows the device to recognize individual users and display notifications and updates relevant to them. This feature has to be enabled but is great for multi-user households. The Nest Hub was already a great Google Photos live picture frame, and the bigger screen only enhances that use case.

The Nest Hub Max functions as a great smart home controller, but it can also work as a Nest Cam. If you have a Nest Aware subscription, you can enable continuous video recording, familiar face alerts, and other nifty Nest features. Our Modern Dad Phil Nickinson commented in his review that this may not be the killer feature that Google makes it out to be. Still, if you're already a Nest Aware subscriber or are heavily invested in that security ecosystem, it could be a useful addition.

It is great to see that Google has added a physical microphone and camera switch. However, if I may nitpick, I wish you could disable the camera only, rather than both simultaneously. I do this with my Echo Show 5 all the time, so I can still bark orders to Alexa without worrying about the camera being on.

Many already prefer Google Assistant over Alexa because they find more utility from the service. With the ability to plug into all of the great Google apps and services, those people will be much happier with the Nest Hub Max than with a competing smart screen device.

Amazon Echo Show (2nd Gen): The good and bad

Amazon Echo Show 2nd Gen

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

As with the original Echo smart speaker, the original Echo Show essentially pioneered a new smart device form factor. Last updated in the fall of 2018, the Echo Show (2nd Gen) continued iterating on this successful model, eventually paving the way to an entire class of screened Echo devices like the Show 5 and Show 8 (and don't forget about the Echo Spot!).

This iteration is a year old now, but it still has a lot going for it. The design still looks modern and fresh and is in keeping with the rest of Amazon's product line, and its speakers and screen are on par with other devices in its class. It has a built-in Zigbee smart home hub, which, when paired with Amazon's new Certified for Humans program means that almost any smart device that you can imagine can easily be paired with the Echo Show (2nd Gen). And the giant 10.1-inch touchscreen makes an excellent portal for viewing Blink smart camera, or Ring doorbell video feeds, or adjusting your Privacy Hub settings.

Where the Echo Show (2nd Gen) starts to fall in this comparison is in the differences a year of spec updates can make. Unlike the Nest Hub Max or the smaller Echo Show devices, this product does not have physical controls to cover/disable the device's microphone or camera. While its speakers sound pretty good, it doesn't have the deeper base sound that the Nest Hub Max has, thanks to its woofer. The camera is not quite as good as Google's, and it also weighs almost a full pound more.

Nest Hub Max vs. Amazon Echo Show: So what's the better bigger screen?

Pictured: Nest Hub Max.

Pictured: Nest Hub Max.

I love what Amazon is doing with the Alexa-enabled speakers in its Echo Show line, notably the Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen) and Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen) devices. However, I think that in this head-to-head showdown, the Nest Hub Max is the clear winner. It has a year-long lead in terms of hardware upgrades, and Google has baked in some pretty nifty new software features to make this worthy of your consideration. The Face Match feature is particularly useful for a multi-user household. It allows the device to serve as a portal to view and control your smart home devices and serve as a smart camera itself is cool.

If you are happily ensconced in the Amazon ecosystem, the Echo Show (2nd Gen) is still a great choice. There are so many devices and services that integrate seamlessly with Alexa that controlling your smart home is a breeze. You can also pair multiple Echo devices and smart speakers together for an in-house intercom system or multi-room speaker setup, which is pretty handy! However, there are newer devices on the market.

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.