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Home News What's the best mid-sized smart screen? Echo Show 8 or Nest Hub?

What’s the best mid-sized smart screen? Echo Show 8 or Nest Hub?

Echo Show 8

Just right

echo-show-8-amazon-official-render.jpg?i

$100 at Amazon

Pros

  • Physical camera shutter and mute switch
  • Certified for Humans program for easy setup
  • Similar specs to its bigger sibling
  • Alexa integration

Cons

  • No Dolby audio
  • Amazon Photos integration not as good as it could be
  • No Google Assistant compatibility

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.

Nest Hub

Google-y goodness

nest-hub-max-official-render_0.jpeg?itok

$100 at Best Buy

Pros

  • YouTube support
  • Physical mute switch
  • Awesome integration with Google Photos
  • Google Asistant

Cons

  • No camera for video chatting
  • No Alexa compatability
  • Rear-firing sound quality could be better

Not only is the Nest Hub a great gateway for you to control your home with the Google Assistant, it is the best device to display and enjoy your personal photo library on.

Both of these devices sound great, look good, are comparably-sized smart screen speakers, 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 no doubt be which smart assistant and which ecoystem you are more embedded in, but there are some other factors you may want to consider as well.

Middleweight champions

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. Google/Nest on the other had began their 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.

Size 7.9″x 5.4″x 3.9″ 7.02″ x 4.65″ x 2.65″
Weight 36.6 oz 16.9 oz
Speakers 2 1
Screen 8″ touch screen at 1200x800p resolution 7″ touch screen at 1024x600p resolution
Microphones 4 2
Smart assistant Alexa Value
Privacy controls Physical camera shutter and mute switch Physical mute switch
Colors 2 (charcoal, sandstone) 4 (sand, aqua, chalk, charcoal)
Price $100 $100

Hub-a hub-a

google-home-hub-5.jpg?itok=ary8BmlqPictured: Nest Hub.

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 into the world of the 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 really useful Ambient EQ mode that adjusts the color and lighting to fit the feel of the room. It just gets the tech out of your face and blends in nicely with its surroundings.

As you might imagine, the Nest Home 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 at 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 usability of the touchscreen, its sub-720p resolution, and its backward-firing speakers. While many praised Google for not including a camera with this device, others lamented the fact that they couldn’t make or receive video calls. There are a few key content partners not present on the device, most notably Audible, Netflix, and Apple Music. The Nest Hub 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 consolodated ecosystems and walled gardens, but device and service interoperability is increasingly becoming something you need to consider when making a smart device purchase decision.

Show ‘nough

echo-show-8-5_0.jpg?itok=Cq2gLB75Pictured: Echo Show 8.

The Echo Show 8 is the latest and greatest smart screen speaker from Amazon, and as such it builds on the best features from 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).

In addition to the hardware enhancements, the Show 8 also plays exclusvie content from CNBC and Food Network, and 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 ecoystems applies here — consider what products and services you have or want to have before making your purchase decision.

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 Echo Show 8, which is a contrast to the larger Nest Hub Max vs. Amazon Echo Show (2nd Gen) comparisson we did earlier. In both reviews, the deciding factors came down to specs and features available on the newer models versus what the older ones had to offer.

Many people will make their choice solely based on their smart assistant and ecosystem preferences, and that’s totally fine. In fact, that might be the best way to make this decision. But if you’re platform or device agnostic, we’d push you towards the Echo Show 8.

Echo Show 8

The “just right” Echo

echo-show-8-amazon-official-render.jpg?i

$100 at Amazon

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.

Nest Hub

Gorgeous Google gadget

google-home-hub-3lo3.jpg?itok=Yt6_VE6k

$100 at Best Buy

The best of Nest and Google on your counter

The Nest Hub takes the best of Google’s app ecosystem and Assistant and combines it with Nest smart home powers to create a powerful home hub.

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Sennheiser GSP 670 headset review: premium price, subpar performance

The search for a new headset can really get frustrating. Sure, there are a million options on Amazon for under $50, but when you want something premium, where do you start? If you’re looking for the best possible audio quality, you start with the Sennheiser GSP 670 and hope you can find it on sale because these things don’t come cheap.The GSP 670 is a premium headset with sound quality and a price tag to match. Launching at $350, you’re paying for the Sennheiser name and quality. We’ve tested multiple Sennheiser headsets throughout the years and have almost always come away impressed. That’s the same story here.The first thing you may notice about this headset is just how big it is. It looks big before you pick it up and it feels big once you put it on. Coming in at just shy of 400g, it has the weight to make those extremely long gaming sessions taxing, but luckily Sennheiser included one of the best headbands I’ve seen in a headset yet. It’s big and comfortable without looking too ridiculous.The earcups are equally nice with large plus fabric cups that will keep your ears away from the driver covers. If you prefer leatherette cups you’ll want to find another option, but I did find these to be one of the most comfortable headsets to just sit and listen to music on. The clamping force is just right (although uneven; more on that later) and the earcups provide a wonderful seal to keep the noise of the world away from your ears.One the outside of the headset, there’s a small tactile wheel to adjust chat volume if you’re using a gaming console, a large volume knob, and a multifunction button that will provide audio prompts for battery level and put you into pairing mode when you hold it down. The only thing we’re missing here is a physical switch to move between Bluetooth and 2.4ghz connection standards, and we’ll tell you why that matters in a bit.The microphone is on the left side of the headset and provides a nice tactile click when you flip it all the way up. This is how you mute your microphone and comes in handy when you need to have a quick conversation and get back to whatever you were doing before.I wish I could report that the microphone provided better audio quality but I was pretty disappointed. It’s been a struggle to find a wireless headset that really gives great performance in this area (I’m guessing there’s a bandwidth issue) and the Sennheisers fall disappointingly short. I think they sound much the same as every other headset released in the last decade, which isn’t saying a lot.Both Bluetooth and 2.4ghz connection standards are here. Plugging the USB dongle into my computer, the headset paired almost instantly and opened up a world of opportunity to tune through the Sennheiser app. There are options to tune your EQ, how the microphone sounds, and even provide a noise gate in case you have a noisy background. I didn’t find much difference in how the microphone sounded using these options so hopefully, they continue to be tuned in future updates.The sound that comes through these headphones is a completely different story. This has been one of the best audio experiences I’ve had in my time reviewing tech. I’d put it up there with the Sony WH-1000xm3 in terms of enjoyment. Where Sony offers amazing noise cancelation, the Sennheiser GSP 670 takes the crown in terms of audio quality.I found music pleasingly bass-y without feeling like I’m slogging through the mud just to listen. Mids are very clear while highs are crisp without being piercing.I just wish I enjoyed wearing these more. I can’t overstate how heavy these things are. At just under 400g, they’re one of the heavier headsets I’ve tested and it can be exhausting during long sessions. With 16 hours of battery life, those sessions can last all night, but you’ll need breaks.Additionally, I don’t like wearing these because of how the cups sit on my head. While the cups themselves are large enough that my ear doesn’t touch anything, the clamping is uneven and annoying. You can use the sliders in the headband to adjust your clamp, but I always end up with more pressure on the bottom of the cups than at the top.Frankly, these don’t look great and certainly don’t look like something I’d pay over $300 for. They’re big and bulky with muted colors and an … aggressive? design. I’m not entirely sure what to call this design language but there are definitely better-looking options on the market. This won’t matter to some, but for those who do care, it’s a bit of a killer and makes the cost harder to justify.ConclusionThere are always trade-offs when you’re using a wireless headset. Sennheiser smartly did not skimp on the audio quality and if you’re looking for a wireless headset that sounds great, this is definitely where you want to start. I put it at the top of the list in that respect.But, where it falls apart is pretty much everywhere else. Tradeoffs become pretty obvious when you use these for more than a few hours.Yep, they’re built solidly and the plastic design means they’ll hold up to some abuse. But, these look cheaper than competing options like the Astro A50s and Arctis Pro Wireless. Plus, as I’ve said a few times, they’re heavy.It’s awesome that they have both 2.4ghz and Bluetooth standards. But there’s no way to manually switch between them and the second that your computer plays audio via the USB dongle, the Bluetooth cuts out completely. If you’re using these to take a phone call or listen to music on your phone and you accidentally click on a YouTube link on your computer, say goodbye to your audio. This would be an easy fix with a manual switch and we hope to see that in a future revision.Best over-ear headphones (spring 2020)I can’t state enough how crappy the audio from the mic is. Maybe I’m spoiled by streamers who invest hundreds and hundreds of dollars into their audio equipment, but this sounds like every headset I’ve heard the last decade of gaming and that’s pretty disappointing.If your voice quality matters to you at all, I’d suggest getting a standalone mic. But you have to ask yourself if you’re grabbing something like a Blue Yeti, is there a justification for the GSP 670 when you can buy a wireless headset for far cheaper?I know it probably looks like I hate the Sennheiser GSP 670 but I don’t. In true dad fashion, I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed. While they’re best in class in terms of audio quality, the things they miss on are a killer and make them harder to recommend over other competitors.After a bit of searching, I’ve found the Sennheiser GSP 670 around $300 and sometimes cheaper on sale. I think if you can find these cheaper than that, go for it. Your ears will thank you. At full price, they’re a tough sell.Buy the Sennheiser GSP 670 at Amazon