Getting started with your first Google Home or Nest Home smart speaker is kind of like biting into that first potato chip in the classic commercial — you’re going to want more than just one. Before long you’ve bought another, and another, and if you’re like some people (including me), eventually you’ll want to step up your game with a smart display like the or . After all, even though Google Home and Nest Home smart speakers open the door to hands-free audio playback, smart home controls and ambient computing convenience, a display adds a whole other dimension (two dimensions, actually) to what you can do with a Google Home ($69 at Walmart).
The Google Store offered some pretty hefty discounts on smart speakers and displays over Black Friday weekend, and continues to offer some decent deals on select smart home devices, like the Nest Mini for $35, the Nest Hub for $79 and the original Google Home smart speaker for $69. I actually scored the smaller of Google’s two smart display offerings, the (good news — the deal, which saves you about $160 off retail, is ).
Whether you picked up a Nest Hub ($79 at Walmart) or Nest Hub Max over Thanksgiving weekend like I did, or you’re still thinking about adding a display to your current Google Home setup, here’s what you need to know about what they are, what they do (and don’t do) and how to get them set up in a jiffy.
What a Nest Hub smart display is — and isn’t
The Nest Hub and Hub Max are more or less designed to perform the same kinds of tasks as Google Home and Nest Home smart speakers while also visually displaying the information you want, such as the name of a song and artist for a track playing. They can also show lyrics or recipes, play slideshows and videos and let you turn connected smart home devices on and off with a touch. Additionally, the bigger Nest Hub Max has a camera you can use for video calls. However, the Nest Hub and Hub Max aren’t mobile devices nor quite as full-featured as tablets, and there’s no app store like Google Play — but they generally don’t cost as much as tablets, either.
Unbox and set up your new Nest Hub in under 5 minutes
Whether you’re adding a Nest Hub or Hub Max to an existing Google Home setup or starting from scratch, unboxing and connecting it to your smart home should be a breeze. The Google Home app and Nest Hub itself guide you through the process, but here are some of the steps you’ll want to pay extra close attention to:
1. After you unbox the Nest Hub or Max and plug it in, open the Google Home app on your phone or tablet. When you see Set up 1 device appear at the top of the screen, tap it to get started.
2. Next, the app will ask you to verify a four-digit alphanumeric code displayed on the Nest screen. Match up the code and tap Next.
3. You’ll be asked if you want to “Help improve” Google Nest services. This is optional and choosing No thanks will have no effect on your device’s performance.
4. Next, choose the room where your device will go.
5. The Nest Hub will now connect to the same Wi-Fi signal your phone is currently using, so make sure you’re on your home’s Wi-Fi.
6. Next, choose whether to use Voice Match, which is a feature that learns to recognize your voice and up to five other voices so your Nest Hub can display the calendar appointments, reminders, photos and other information of the person using it. If you don’t need this feature, choose No thanks. If you tap I agree, Google will keep data that can identify your voice on its servers, which some people may not be comfortable with.
7. Next, link any music, video and live TV services you want to use with your Nest Hub. If you’ve already connected the streaming services you use to your Google account with another Google Home device, they should appear here automatically, so you can skip this step.
8. If you’d like to use your Nest Hub to make phone calls, you’ll now be asked to link your Google Duo phone number and account. If this isn’t something you think you’ll ever need, tap Not now to skip it.
9. When not serving you information or controlling your smart home, your Nest Hub works as a digital photo frame. Choose whether you want to use your own photos stored in Google Photos, or professional images from Google’s Art gallery. If you’d rather keep your display purely functional, you can also select Fullscreen clock as an option.
10. Finally, you’ll be asked to review all the decisions you made during setup, after which your Nest Hub display will give you a brief tutorial on what the various buttons and sensors on the device are for as well as a walk-through of its basic operations. Once you’ve completed all of that, you’re done and ready to start using your new Nest Hub or Nest Hub Max.
If you’re still on the fence about whether or not a smart display is right for you, check out ourand our . Privacy concerns regarding smart home tech are on the rise, so be sure to read about how — and how to stop it. While you’re at it, check out our guide to , including the personal information associated with your Google Home.