If you're in the market for a smart screen and 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 consider how these devices are similar and where they differ to help make your decision a bit easier.
What the specs say
The Nest Hub Max is nearly a year newer than the Echo Show (2nd Gen), but in most areas, that doesn't matter too much. Let's dive into the specs a bit before we weigh the pros and cons of Nest versus Echo.
|Nest Hub Max||Amazon Echo Show (2nd Gen)|
|Smart Assistant||Google Assistant||Alexa|
|Screen||10" touchscreen||10.1" touchscreen|
|Speakers||2 x .7" 10W tweeters, 1 x 2.95" 30W woofer||2 x 2.2" at 10W per channel|
|Size||9.85" x 7.19" x 3.99"||9.7" x 6.9" x 4.2"|
|Weight||2.91 lbs||3.89 lbs|
|Smart Home Integration||Works with Google Assistant program||Zigbee hub and Amazon Certified for Humans program|
|Camera Controls||Physical mic and camera cover switch||Electronic mic and camera button|
|WiFi||802.11 b/g/n/ac||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac|
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 that are 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 nit-pick, I do 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 are going to be much happier with the Nest Hub Max than with a competing smart screen device.
Amazon Echo Show (2nd Gen): The good and bad
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 microphone or camera on the device. 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 the device also weighs almost a full pound more.
So what's the better bigger screen?
I love what Amazon is doing with the Alexa-enabled speakers in its Echo Show line and notably the Echo Show 5 and Echo Show 8 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, and allowing the device to serve not only as a portal to view and control your smart home devices but also to 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!
Bigger is better
More Max to love
Improved speakers and a larger screen combine seamlessly with really interesting software enhancements to make a solid upgrade from the original Nest Hub.
More to show off
All eyes on me
This is the biggest and baddest of the Echo Show product line, and worth a look if you are all in on Alexa.
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