LG’s SmartThinQ Hub gets Amazon’s Alexa but still isn’t that smart

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Smart hubs for your home are all the rage right now, and LG wasn’t going to just sit out on the fun. It unveiled its own smart hub gadget back in December, and it looked… very familiar. People kind of thought that LG’s SmartThinQ Hub was Amazon Echo’s long-lost twin that gained a 3.5-inch screen along the way somehow. Well, now that LG is adding Alexa support – Amazon’s virtual assistant – to the SmartThinQ Hub, their resemblance is becoming truly uncanny.

smartthingsSee also: Samsung unveils new SmartThing hub, available today for $ 99

Back in 2015, Amazon announced that the company will be opening up Amazon Alexa to everyone to compete with other virtual assistants like Siri and Google Now. For devices like the SmartThinQ Hub, this is fantastic news: LG’s smart hub lets you control music and LG appliances, but not much more. With Alex on board, however, LG’s cylindrical speaker is set to become a bit smarter but sadly not that smart.

With Alex on board, however, LG’s cylindrical speaker is set to become a bit smarter but sadly not that smart.

With the new partnership between LG and Amazon, the SmartThinQ Hub can now do some of the cool things that Amazon Echo does: namely, adding things to your schedule, playing music on-demand, checking the weather, updating your to-do list, etc. But notice how I said “some.” Unfortunately, the Alexa that you’ll meet on LG’s SmartThinQ Hub is less, well, intelligent than Amazon Echo’s Alexa.

For one, Amazon Echo is always listening, meaning you say Alexa’s name, and she’s ready to help you immediately. LG’s Alexa can be activated only by pushing a button on the speaker itself or the remote. I guess that’s better than before where you had to use your smartphone’s SmartThinQ app to control it.

Another limitation is that you cannot use Alexa to control other smart home devices like light bulbs or door locks unless they are LG’s own SmartThinQ home appliances. This is another huge let-down since Amazon boasts a pretty extensive list of smart devices that Amazon Echo’s Alexa supports. LG still hasn’t released any information on the SmartThinQ Hub’s release date or price, but unless it is significantly cheaper than Amazon’s Echo lineup, I personally don’t really see the point in buying LG’s offering over Amazon’s.

What do you think? Would you rather buy LG’s SmartThinQ Hub with a 3.5-inch screen even if it means Alexa’s limited functionality? Let us know by leaving a comment down below!