Amazon Echo Show 10 vs. Google Nest Hub Max: Which is the best 10-inch smart display?

Amazon Echo Show 10 vs. Google Nest Hub Max: Which is the best 10-inch smart display?

OK, so it doesn’t move, but you’d think since the regular-size Google Nest Hub is our favorite smart display we’d go absolutely gaga over the supersize Nest Hub Max. As it turns out, however, none of the features Google added to justify the Max designation really impressed us. In fact, some of the extras actually make us like the Nest Hub Max less than if Google had skipped them. But how does it compare with the new Echo Show 10?

Well, starting with price, they’re about the same. Despite it being around a year and a half old at this point, Google still sells the Nest Hub Max for its original price of $229, so it’s cheaper than the Show 10, but barely. And unlike Google’s entry-level Nest Mini smart speaker, which frequently goes on sale, deals and discounts on the Hub Max are few and far between, so that price rarely changes.

So, what are you getting for all that money? 

Starting with the most obvious, that big ole 10-inch screen. As mentioned, the Nest Hub Max uses an ambient light sensor to dynamically adjust both the brightness and color temperature of the screen, which allows pictures and videos to absolutely pop. Amazon may have cribbed this feature for the new Show 10, but Google’s screen is still more impressive. 

The Nest Hub Max also has a webcam, but it captures images and video at 6.5 megapixels — half the Show 10’s 13-megapixel lens. However, even though the Nest Hub Max doesn’t move, it can still follow you around the room when you’re on a video call. Much like the ill-fated Facebook Portal, rather than tracking you physically, the Hub Max pans and zooms to keep your face centered and in focus. 

Perhaps the biggest difference between these two camera setups, however, is in how they process that visual data. The Echo Show 10 doesn’t learn individual faces — it merely recognizes when a person (any person) is present. It can then trigger smart routines accordingly. 

The Google Nest Hub Max, however, uses a technology it calls FaceMatch to create a sort of digital fingerprint of your face, much like the facial recognition software on your smartphone. This allows it to tailor onscreen content — like calendar appointments, reminders and even photos — to your individual Google account.

Granted, for both the Echo Show 10 and the Nest Hub Max, all of this visual processing is done on-device, which is quickly becoming the new privacy- and security-minded gold standard for smart devices that collect such data.

As far as organizing and controlling your smart home is concerned, the Google Nest Hub Max does not include a physical smart home hub, Zigbee or otherwise, but what it lacks in hardware it more than makes up for with its software. Compared with Amazon Echo displays, the smart home controls on both the Nest Hub and the Hub Max are vastly more intuitive and easy to access. Plus, they just look better on the screen than Amazon’s drab sliders and toggles.

Read our Google Nest Hub Max review.

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