So you’ve invested in smart lights, a connected security camera, a couple of smart plugs, and probably a smart speaker or two around your house. You’re thinking of maybe adding a robot vacuum to the mix. But the idea of adding yet another app to your already cluttered phone is exhausting—what do you do?
To get around the fact that tech companies can’t seem to agree on a single smart home protocol, voice assistants have arisen as the natural solution. And they’re no longer limited to speakers, either. Amazon made a convincing case for smart displays with its original Echo Show. Since then, Apple, Lenovo, and Google have all hopped on board with the idea of a full-fledged, voice-activated smart home console. In other words, these things are smart speakers with a screen that you can use to control your entire home.
We put these devices—though we decided to preemptively toss the HomePod for the aforementioned reasons—through the wringer in three battles: one for device control, one for communication, and a final test for how well they use the display. It was close, but in the end, a clear winner emerged.
Of course, the ecosystem plays a role in whichever console you choose, and you’ll want to keep your existing gadgets in mind. That said, the Google Home Hub is the cheapest of the bunch and delivered the most consistent performance, winning two of three battles. All the reasons why it’s our Battlemodo winner and the smart home console you should buy.