Google has lifted the lid on its latest range of Pixel and smart home products. The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3XL, details of which were extensively leaked in the run-up to launch, are joined by the Pixel Slate tablet and Google Home Hub. Here’s everything you need to know about Google’s latest gadgets.
Google Home Hub
Google has announced another addition to it’s ever-expanding line-up of smart home products. The Google Home Hub joins the Google Max, Home and Mini and is a direct competitor to Amazon’s Alexa Show.
It might look like a tablet, but the Home Hub isn’t designed to be touched – it’s designed to be talked to. There’s a 7-inch touchscreen, but most of your interactions with it will be through the in-built microphone, which is powered by Google Assistant. The Home Hub’s default screen shows basic information such as calendar events and traffic updates. And when it’s not doing anything, it’ll show images you have stored on Google Photos (with your permission, of course).
There’s no web browser but the Home Hub’s basic interface can be used to control other smart home products such as connected lightbulbs or thermostats. As with Google Assistant on your phone, you can use voice commands to play music, set timers and perform other basic tasks.
The Home Hub costs £139 and is available in four colours; blue, yellow-ish, white and grey-ish. It’s available to pre-order now and will be in stores from October 22.
Google Pixel Slate
The Pixel Slate is Google’s first own-brand tablet in three years. The Slate runs Chrome OS, is Intel-powered, comes with either 8GB or 16GB or RAM and a 3,000 x 2,000 pixel display. There are also USB-C ports on either side of the device, along with cameras on the front and back. The Android Camera app is also compatible with the Pixel Slate, which should make tablet photography slightly less terrible.
The Pixel Slate is compatible with the cover and stylus pen. Google didn’t say when the Pixel Slate would be available, though you can sign up to be notified by email when it goes on sale.
The Pixel Slate costs £549, with the Slate Keyboard an extra £189 and the Pixelbook Pen an extra £99.
Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL
The Pixel 3 XL is the largest phone Google has ever made, with a 6.3-inch display and weighing in at 184 grams. The regular Pixel 3 has a 5.5-inch screen and weighs 148g.
The biggest visual change to the XL is the addition of a notch. Google’s notch is one of the chunkiest around but the firm says adding it to the phone has helped it to create a larger edge-to-edge screen that takes up 82 per cent of the front of the device.
The upgrades to this year’s phones are largely focussing on the camera. Both devices have a 12.2MP single camera on the rear and on the front there are two cameras. The front cameras are both 8MP but one is a wide-angle lens. Google says this wider lens will make group selfies easier to take. Google has also added a number of new camera features, including a new low-light mode.
Both phones are being made available for pre-order now and will be in stores in November. The Pixel 3 starts at £739 (64GB) and the Pixel 3 XL starts from £869 (64GB). Both phones come with 128GB of storage.
A new Chromecast
Three years since it last update, Google has announced a new Chromecast. It’s been given a slight design upgrade with new glossy colours but, more interestingly, it’s also got some useful new features. The new Chromecast is, according to Google, 15 per cent faster and can now support 60fps video at 1080p, up from 720p with the current generation dongle.
An update later this year will also turn the new Chromecast into a Chromecast Audio, letting you play music in sync across multiple connected speakers.
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