The Smart Display Fight! (Google VS Amazon VS Facebook) POLL

So, 3 of the major tech players now have skin in the game. Which one will you buy, if you are buying one, and for those of you who are on the fence right now or aren’t interested, which one would you hypothetically buy if you had to?

In one corner, we have the second-gen Amazon Echo Show.


In the second corner, we have the brand new Google Home Hub.


In the third corner, we have the Facebook Portal!


Pretty sure everyone knows that I’m a Google fanboy at this point, but I feel that objectively it’s the better device, since it’s the only one out of the three that actually knows enough about you to be a meaningful assistant (through Calendar, Gmail, etc). All three will ostensibly link pretty well to all smart home devices, and Amazon will obviously be easy for buying stuff, but only Google can be really smart with the contextual information that they show you.

So, let’s have a poll :grinning:

  • Google Home Hub (or third party Google Assistant device)
  • Amazon Echo Show
  • Facebook Portal

0 voters

I’ll throw a wildcard in as well - Do we think Apple will ever enter this space? And if they did, would they be able to make a good one? I think if we see huge sales of smart displays as a category it’s probably inevitable, but Siri just isn’t good enough at the moment for them to make a competitive one.


Looking at the spec comparison, Google also wins on price, weight (why are the others so heavy???) and the fact that it does YouTube :grinning:

I’m a huge, huge Apple fan.

So when Apple release the HomePod, I pre ordered it straight away. However I was really disappointed. The sound was great, but it was Siri that I was disappointed with. Siri used to be the leader of the virtual assistants a couple of years ago, in my opinion, but now has fallen behind greatly. I ended up returning the HomePod and invested in 2 Sonos Ones for the same price which are Alexa-enabled.

I personally believe that Apples version of this is in the making somewhere, but they seriously need to improve Siri before even thinking about launching the product.

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I would get the Echo Spot or whatever the small one is called

You could technically turn an iPad mini into a ‘smart display’ and I think that is what Apple would do.

It’s shockingly poor, and hasn’t made any meaningful progress for a long time. I read somewhere that this is primarily down to how it was designed and two bad decisions Apple made at the beginning - one was that they elected that Siri would only get updated through OS updates rather than always updating OTA (bizarre decision) and the other was that purely for the sake of trying to differentiate from Google et al, they weren’t going to use much user information to improve what Siri could do. Which is useless, IMO.


Why is Siri so bad? Why don’t they have the same amount of information at their disposal? Why can’t Siri just search Google, for example?

I guess Apple are starting to notice that they’re slacking with Siri, hence the new Siri Shortcuts app. So hopefully within the next couple of years Siri will be the leader of the virtual assistants again :crossed_fingers:

Can I just say smart displays seem pointless when we carry oversize phones with us all the time :man_shrugging:

Maybe it’s just me!


Google Assistant is the best by far, although Alexa is not too far behind.

The only two things I’d really like to see are a natural pause detection when asking a question.

And for the assistant tone of voice to be a bit more varied for certain things.

Oh and a slightly better name rather than saying ‘Hey/OK Google…’

I love the good night routine and morning routines on G Assistant.


What happens?

I already have an Echo Show and don’t see a compelling enough reason to switch it to Google Home Hub (even though I use Google services more than Amazon services). I’m sure the Google device is better at personal assistant stuff and web search, but I find that’s not what I use, or really want to use, these kind of devices for. What I use it for is limited to listening to music and radio, news briefings, kitchen timers, and smart home integration. For these, either will probably do just fine.

However what I really want is a smart display made by Sonos (with Alexa or Google Assistant built in). I know Echo Show has an element of integration with Sonos, but it can’t be grouped with Sonos speakers and therefore can’t contribute to synced multi-room audio within a Sonos system, which is really what I want.

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As much as it pains me to say, the Google home hub looks the best overall package if you can utilise it.

Although I read an interview with one of the Google peeps, and they basically said it was more about interacting with the touch screen, than voice control, which I found a little strange.

That wasn’t to say they didn’t advocate the voice usage, but it felt like they were trying to big up the UI on the touch screen.

I think part of the problem is the limitations Apple seemed to place (intentionally or not) on Siri on the HomePod. Not having the same Siri functionality compared with the phone is very un-Apple, and effectively turned it into a very very good speaker, with a bit of voice control.

But honestly… I just don’t see how having one “hub” in the house is going to work - You’d need one in every room.

Sure, you can have it in the kitchen, where perhaps you’d use it more than other rooms - But then there will be times in the morning you’d prefer it upstairs, the evening in the living room, the day in the office and so on.

That’s where you end up getting your phone or tablet out, and doing everything on there.

From what I’ve seen, the Google Hub is almost identical to the Apple Home app - If I put it on my iPad, you’d have a similar interface, but the iPad can still be moved around, and can do a shed load more (appreciate the increased cost involved though).

As for the other options.

Facebook? Erm… Nah… I don’t think so.

I get the feeling the FB empire aren’t sensing the tone right now… Although, whilst many will applaud Google for their lack of camera (oooo privacy, yay) - I’d bet that they only did this to save on cost - It’s not like Google are the moral compass of privacy.

The Amazon Echo Show looks good, but I’ve never been enamoured with the Amazon hardware - I appreciate Alexa is one of the best voice assistants, but they make some ugly hardware…

The saving grace for Google is indeed the cost - Heck, I might get one just to see what it’s like - You can’t have too many complaints at £140.

To be honest, going from the HomePod where I had to literally shout whilst standing next to it for it to hear me, to the sonos speakers I now currently have, there is a huge difference. I live in a flat, so that puts the issue of being upstairs or downstairs aside. However it’s a fairly big flat, and Alexa can hear me from every room without me having to raise my voice at all which I think is just excellent.

Even having Hey Siri on an iPhone is pretty bad, unless it’s just my accident - but it never hears me! Even if I am holding the phone in my hand and shouting at it, it still doesn’t hear me or respond.

I find “Hey Siri” to be pretty reliable for basic stuff (lights, heating etc).

The “raise to speak” on the new Apple Watch (where you don’t even have to say “hey Siri” is a little more hit and miss, but still works most of the time.

These voice assistants aren’t conducive to a family environment though - The background noise, different voices, not wishing to talk to a computer whilst family are around, all make it much harder than if you lived on your own, or with a partner.

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Saying ‘Ok Google, Goodnight’:

Turns my phone on silent
Asks me when I want the alarm to go off
Turns the light off
Tells me about events/reminders tomorrow
Plays sleep sounds for 15 mins (I’ve got it set to Thunder storm)

Saying 'Ok Google, Good morning:

Turns of silent mode
Turns the light on very dim
Tells me the time and weather
Plays the news headlines or the latest episode of a podcast

I really want to automate the morning routine for weekends where I don’t set an alarm. I use to be able to do this with Fitbit and IFTT and Tasker which could detect if you were awake and fire off an assistant command. Just need a decent Wear OS watch.


That sounds great.

So I’m interested in this tech and as I run my email/domain through Google am probably veering towards a Google Home.

Fairly involved question: I’ve read that you can have multiple Minis, one in each bedroom for example, and I’ve also read that Google will support different accounts by voice recognition.

Is it possible for me to ask the Mini in my bedroom to set an alarm for, say 07:30 and my parents to ask the Mini in the guest room to set an alarm for 08:30? Will the correct Minis activate at the right times independently, or will my parents’ Mini activate at 07:30 when mine goes off?


I think an alarm set on a Mini will only go off on the one it was asked to be set on.

Voice detection is more for music recommendations linked to your account or to personalise responses to you.

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I don’t see what benefit any of these devices has over my phone / tablet which is available on my person at all times.

I could see a benefit if you had one as a fixture in every room (perhaps integrated into the wall) for general household controls / voice commands.

Imo, I wouldnt buy this tech until its developed into what it should be. And I dont think Apple will enter this market at all unless something drastic happens.


You’ll only hear the alarm on the device on which it was set. Multiple accounts/voices etc is more for more individualised information so for example if you asked it what your schedule was, to ring account specific contacts or to listen to said user’s music preferences etc.

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Assistant continues to surprise and scare me :joy: I’m assuming this was pulled from an email. I knew assistant tracks orders but never knew about bill reminders.

I’ve also just noticed it’s set reminders automatically for library returns :hushed: