Amazon Echo Show vs Google Nest Hub

Choosing between the Echo Show and the Nest Hub? Here’s everything you need to know about their key differences.

After the smart speaker came the smart display, with all the same functionality but the addition of a screen that can show videos, weather forecasts, smart home controls, calendars, family photos and plenty more besides.

Right now, the Amazon Echo Show and the Google Nest Hub are the two main contenders in the smart display market, so if you’re shopping for one of these devices, you want to know what the key differences (and similarities) are. Don’t worry – we’ve done the research for you. 

With these two tech giants dominating smart displays, their ranges represent most of your choices here – how big a screen you want will determine how much you’re going to have to spend. 

An Echo Show 10 and Nest Hub Max side-by-sideCredit: Amazon / Google / Exceptional

Price and availability

Echo Show vs Nest Audio: Amazon has four, Google only two

The Echo Show is the more comprehensive range, with four sizes of screen to choose from and prices ranging from £89.99 to £269.99. By comparison, there are only two Nest Hubs: the standard and smaller Nest Hub (now in its second generation) and the larger and more expensive Nest Hub Max. 

We’re not seeing these devices refreshed as quickly as some other gadgets (like smartphones, for example), so once you’ve bought a smart display, it’s unlikely to see a successor for a few years.

The Echo Show 5 was refreshed earlier this year, but the other sizes haven’t had updates since 2021. On the Google side, the Nest Hub Max hasn’t been updated since it launched in 2019, while the second-gen Nest Hub was launched in 2021. 

Amazon’s smart display range

Featured product

Amazon Echo Show 5 (3rd Gen, 2023)

RRP: £89.99

Amazon Echo Show 5 (3rd Gen, 2023)

Featured product

Amazon Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen, 2021)

RRP: £119.99

Amazon Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen, 2021)

Featured product

Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen, 2021)

RRP: £259.99

Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen, 2021)

Featured product

Amazon Echo Show 15

RRP: £269.99

Amazon Echo Show 15

Google’s smart display range

Featured product

Google Nest Hub (2nd Gen, 2021)

RRP: £89.99

Google Nest Hub (2nd Gen, 2021)

Featured product

Google Nest Hub Max

RRP: £219

Google Nest Hub Max

Design

Echo Show vs Nest Hub: Amazon has a wider range of form factors

A Google Nest Hub on a side next to books and a vase.Credit: Google
The Nest Hub is the smaller of Google’s two smart displays

The design of these smart displays is consistent across Amazon and Google models, in terms of positioning a screen on top of a speaker base, but there are exceptions.

The Echo Show 15 is the only smart display here designed to be wall-mounted rather than free-standing (although you can also place it on an optional tilt stand), while the Echo Show 10 has a rotating screen – one that can follow you around for video calls.

Deviations from the standard black and white are rare, although the Echo Show 5 is also available in a pale blue, and the Nest Hub offers stylish pale blue and sandy colour options too. For our money, the Google Nest devices have a little more aesthetic polish about them, but it’s a matter of personal taste.

You can’t get a battery-powered smart speaker from either Amazon or Google – meaning you can’t pick these up and take them on holiday with you, as they have to be plugged into the mains. On the whole, though, they would all blend in nicely with whatever you already have on your bedside table, study desk or kitchen top. 

Voice assistant

Echo Show vs Nest Hub: excellent voice assistants all round

Amazon Echo Show 8 on a coffee table, showing the weatherCredit: Amazon
The Echo Show 8 is one of Amazon’s four smart displays with the Alexa smart voice assistant

There’s not much to split Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, except you summon one with “Alexa” and the other with “Hey Google”. Both can check facts on the web, tell you the weather forecast, play music, broadcast the news, bring up recipes and control dozens of smart home devices.

Both Alexa and Google Assistant are usually accurate, friendly and good at interpreting what you’re trying to say. They can both start timers, manage lists, and set reminders and alarms; they both manage to distinguish between the different voices within a household and tailor their answers accordingly; and they can both carry out routines that incorporate multiple actions.

Perhaps it’s no surprise that there’s such parity between the voice assistants, considering the number of years they have been in development: Alexa first appeared in 2014, with Google Assistant showing up a couple of years later.

There are notable differences within their ecosystems, however. Google Calendar can be used with both Alexa and Google Assistant, for example, but it’s more easily navigated with the latter. Meanwhile, Alexa can track your online orders from Amazon, but Google Assistant can’t. 

Google Assistant works natively with YouTube Music, while Alexa works natively with Amazon Music – so you get the idea. Your voice preference is likely to depend on the list of apps and services you’re signed up for. 

Usability

Echo Show vs Nest Hub: smart voice assistants lie at their hearts

Close up of someone doing a Zoom video call on a Google Nest smart displayCredit: Google
Google’s larger Nest Hub Max comes with a camera, allowing you to make video calls from the display

There are lots of similarities in the smart displays across all models. To set up a new Echo Show or Nest Hub, you need a Wi-Fi connection and the accompanying app on your phone – this app takes you through the process of getting everything connected, including compatible smart home devices, streaming services and so on.

When you’re up and running, both these displays can show chunky, eye-catching widgets displaying information such as the weather or the news headlines. Both can put touch controls for your smart home devices (like lights and thermostats) on screen, and let you control audio and video playback with a tap on the display.

Getting your own photos on screen is easy on both Echo Show and Nest Hub devices too, and there’s among the best digital photo frames we’ve used.

When it comes to interaction, Alexa lets you know it’s listening with a blue bar along the bottom of the screen, whereas Google Assistant goes for a larger black box – the Nest Hubs also display your voice commands on-screen as text, which is helpful.

The Nest Hub does have one specific advantage in terms of connectivity: the Google smart displays support Chromecast, so you can beam any kind of audio or video over from your phone. In addition, Netflix, Disney Plus and YouTube are supported natively, so you can stream videos from these services without the need for another device.

On the Echo Show displays, you have Netflix, Disney Plus and (of course) Prime Video built in, but no support for YouTube and no option to stream video from elsewhere. Again, you can see how the ecosystems affect these devices: no native support for Prime Video on the Nest Hub (although you can cast it from another device) and no native support for YouTube on the Echo Show (you can access it through a browser, but it’s fiddly).

Amazon Echo Show 15 wall mounted, showing weather, calendar and moreCredit: Amazon
The wall-mountable Echo Show 15 can access YouTube, unlike its siblings

There is actually an exception here: the Echo Show 15 can access YouTube directly, because it uses a different software platform to the other Amazon smart displays. The Echo Show 15 is more like an Amazon Fire TV stick built into a smart display, which may make it a more convenient choice for you.

For audio connections, Bluetooth is supported on all of these smart displays, so you can stream music, podcasts and audiobooks from just about any laptop, phone or tablet. Bluetooth also works the other way, so you can stream audio from an Echo Show or Nest Hub to a larger Bluetooth speaker if you need improved audio. Neither smart display range offers a line-in option for a wired connection – everything has to be wireless. 

A bunch of built-in audio streaming services are supported on both devices, including Spotify and Apple Music. As expected, you can’t use Amazon Music on the Nest Hub or YouTube Music on the Echo Show. These ecosystem considerations extend to smart devices too: the Echo Shows can bring up video feeds from Ring security cameras, because Ring is owned by Amazon – but the Nest Hubs can’t. The Nest Hubs can bring up video feeds from Nest security cameras, because they’re all within the Google family – but the Echo Shows can’t. 

When it comes to extra functionality, it’s worth bearing in mind that the Nest Hub Max can double up as a security camera with its front-facing camera. The Nest Hub doesn’t have a camera, but it can track your sleeping patterns and sleep quality through its integrated motion sensor. 

In summary, it’s about even here between the Amazon and Google smart displays, except for when it comes to the services and hardware developed by these companies.

If you need Prime Video and Amazon Music, you need an Echo Show; if you want YouTube and YouTube Music, the Nest Hub is the option to go for. 

Audio and video quality

Echo Show vs Nest Hub: similar when it comes to sound and vision

Netflix show Queer Eye on the screen of a Google Nest Hub MaxCredit: Google
If you plan on watching video on your smart speaker, opt for one with a bigger display such as the Nest Hub Max

Whether you’re looking at an Echo Show or a Nest Hub, as you move up to bigger screen sizes, you get higher-resolution video and also better-quality audio – because the speakers get larger as the displays do. You can see in the specs chart accompanying this article how the speaker capabilities improve through the different sizes.

You’re not going to notice any huge differences in audio and video quality between the Echo Show and Nest Hub smart displays – at least not to the extent that it would outweigh other considerations in your buying decision. Expect enough audio oomph to fill a room comfortably, but these devices are first and foremost smart displays, not dedicated speakers.

There aren’t any audio or video enhancements to talk about on these smart displays either, and they’re not designed to be set up in stereo pairs, as with the Echo and Nest speakers (the ones without the screens). In short, you can watch videos and listen to music on them, but neither range excels in these areas. 

Takeaway

Echo Show vs Nest Hub: which is right for you?

An Echo Show 10 in the kitchen showing a group call to illustrate how to video call on a smart displayCredit: Amazon
The screen on the Echo Show 10 can rotate on its base to follow you around the room

You’ll see from our head-to-head comparison that there are a lot of similarities between the Amazon Echo Show and the Google Nest Hub ranges when it comes to what they can do and how they go about doing it. In some respects, it doesn’t matter which you opt for, because they perform a lot of the same tasks.

The more you spend and the bigger the device you go for, the better your experience will be, as you would expect. If you’re in the market for one of these devices, give some thought to where you’re going to place your smart display and how you’re going to use it: the Echo Show 5 is perfect for a bedside table, for example, while the Nest Hub Max is better on a kitchen top.

You certainly have more choice with the Echo Show range, from the super-compact Echo Show 5, to the Echo Show 10 that rotates on its stand, to the Echo Show 15 that fits on the wall. With the Nest Hubs, you basically have the same device (more or less) in a couple of different sizes. That’s something to bear in mind if you’re thinking about kitting out several rooms with these displays.

The key differences you need to know about relate to everything else that Amazon and Google do. If you watch a lot of Prime Video and use Amazon Music, your life is going to be much easier with an Echo Show; if you use a lot of Google apps and are a regular viewer of YouTube videos, you’re better off with a Nest Hub.

It’s not really about the Amazon Echo Show vs the Google Nest Hub at all, because they’re well matched on so many levels – it’s more about Amazon vs Google in terms of which ecosystem you’re already invested in, which products you’re most likely to buy in the future, and which company you trust the most. 

David Nield

Written by David Nield

Updated:

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, you’ll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables.

David has by-lines at leading publications including TechRadar, Wired, The Guardian, Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.

When he’s not busy writing, he enjoys watching football and long walks in the countryside.

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