Remedios Varo’s Mystical, Surreal Paintings Continue to Captivate - Lebanon news - أخبار لبنان
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Remedios Varo’s Mystical, Surreal Paintings Continue to Captivate

Upon the sudden death of Remedios Varo in 1963, her peer André Breton noted that death made the painter “the sorceress who left too soon.” It was a fitting way of bidding goodbye to Varo, whose faith in magic, mysticism, and the power of nature inspired her fantastical, allegorical work. She died at the height…

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Upon the sudden death of Remedios Varo in 1963, her peer André Breton noted that death made the painter “the sorceress who left too soon.” It was a fitting way of bidding goodbye to Varo, whose faith in magic, mysticism, and the power of nature inspired her fantastical, allegorical work. She died at the height of her success—her posthumous retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in Mexico City in in 1971 surpassed attendance records at the institution for shows by Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros.
In death and life, Varo was defined by her Surrealist associations. After fleeing her native Spain, the French poet Benjamin Péret introduced her to the Parisian avant-garde crowd, whose members she exhibited and studied alongside. Varo worked within a psychoanalytic framework, but her approach left little to accident or automatism. She was a meticulous architect of dreamscapes, planning well in advance the symbology that operated as roadmaps to her autobiography, though she rejected affiliation with the Surrealists, telling an interviewer in 1957, “I was with an open mouth within this group of brilliant and gifted people. I was together with them because I felt a certain affinity. Today I do not belong to any group.” 

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Below is a guide to Varo’s life and the many influences that shaped her creations.
Early exposure to religion, Romanticism, and science made an indelible impact on her imagination.
She was born María de los Remedios Alicia Rodriga Varo y Uranga in northeast Spain in 1908. Her father was a hydraulic engineer, whose profession often uprooted the family. Having recognized her artistic talent early, he had Varo reproduce his technical engineering sketches. An intellectual and a believer in universalism, the philosophical concept that certain ideas recur in all cultures, he introduced her to the work of Edgar Allan Poe, Alexandre Dumas, and Hieronymus Bosch. She was provided texts on mysticism, science, and philosophy. Her mother, in contrast, was a devout Catholic (Varo was named after the Virgin of Los Remedios). At 15, her parents enrolled her at the Escuela de Bellas Artes in Madrid, the alma mater of Salvador Dalí and Pablo Picasso.
Varo rebelled against it all—the formal instruction of the Escuela de Bellas Artes, her father’s expectations, and her mother’s religious ideology. At 19, she eloped with fellow student Gerardo Lizárraga, and the two left for Paris. She left him soon after to pursue a bohemian lifestyle, taking up with Péret. As an adult, Varo resisted speaking about her childhood. “I do not wish to talk about myself because I hold very deeply the belief that what is important is the work, not the person,” she said.

Toward the Tower by Remedios Varo, 1961.
GDA via AP Images

A triptych created in the last years of her life functions as a metaphor for her early years. In the first part, Toward the Tower (1961), Varo depicts herself as one of a group of uniformed girls bicycling away from a Mother Superior figure, an allusion to the convent she attended for primary schooling. Mother Superior is joined by a looming man and flock of birds. The girl at center resists the hypnotizing effect of her teachers, who have entranced her schoolmates. The central image of the triptych, Embroidering the Earth’s Mantle (1961), offers an alternate view of creation at odds with her conservative Catholic upbringing, which created anxiety for Varo throughout her life. In the work, convent girls are shown captive in a tower as they embroider a story dictated by a hooded figure. The figure stirs a boiling liquid, through which the thread emerges. The final panel, The Escape (1962), represents her successful emancipation. United with her lover, they flee to the mountains.
Varo spent the majority of her life in transit, first as a child, then in adulthood as a political refugee.
Varo moved to Paris in 1937, and because of her political ties, she was barred from returning to her native Spain following the Spanish Civil War. Her time in Paris was fruitful for the connections she made: through Péret, she met leading artists such Breton, Max Ernst, Salvator Dali, and Leonora Carrington. After arriving in Paris she exhibited in the International Surrealist exhibitions organized by Breton and poet Paul Éluard. When World War II neared Paris in 1940, Varo was jailed under suspicion of espionage along with fellow Spanish expatriates. After her release she fled the country with Péret aboard one of the last ships allowed to depart the country, en route to Mexico. 
Displacement and travel is frequently alluded to in her painting, often in the form of surreal vehicles of voyage. In Exploration of the Sources of the Orinoco River (1959), an intense figure dressed in a bowler hat and English trench coat is ferried in a small, vest-like boat. She reaches a wooden hut, where water flows from a goblet. The work alludes to Varo’s gold mining trip to Venezuela, where the Orinoco River flows. Here, gold is reminiscent of philosopher’s gold, an alchemical substance which symbolized perfection of the mind and soul, as well as a source of transformation. 
Varo blended Renaissance and Surrealist painting techniques in her work.
In one of her best-known paintings, a juggler (or magician) transfixes a crowd of near-identical figures clad in a single gray cloak. The juggler is illuminated by white stardust, and he stands on the platform of a cart filled with  a lion and goat and fantastical instruments. Varo created the painting by first transferring a preparatory drawing onto a panel that had been primed with gesso, then scratching the panel to produce an unusual texture. Varo also used decalcomania, a decorative technique popularized by the Surrealists, in which designs on paper or aluminum foil are pressed onto another surface, transferring the image. This created the halo-like effect around the juggler. The central character has also been painted over a five-sided piece of mother of pearl, which Varo associated with enlightenment. Among her many influences was the writings of the Russian mystics and philosophers Georgii Giurdzhiev and Piotr Ouspenskii, who espoused the idea that people live their lives in a state of hypnotic “waking sleep,” but have the potential to awaken a state of hyper-consciousness. 
Psychoanalysis played a large role in Varo’s work. 
Like many of the Surrealists, Varo was drawn to the psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud and Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, both of whom focused on the complexity of the unconscious and untapped desires. It’s unknown whether Varo ever saw a psychoanalyst (a few unsent letters seeking psychiatric help were discovered in her belongings), but she populated her paintings with overt references to the field of study. In the 1956 work Woman Leaving the Psychoanalyst’s Office, the central figure exits from the office of Dr. F. J. A. (Freud, Jung, and the Austrian psychotherapist Alfred Adler) and proceeds to drop her father’s disembodied head into a small well, an act which she described as “correct to do when leaving the psychoanalysis office.” Looked at one way, this could be Varo liberating herself from the patriarchy and approaching autonomy.  
She found success and an enduring artistic practice in Mexico City.
Her early exposure to Surrealist and Cubist artists, in particular the work of Georges Braque, were formative on her later practice, but Varo produced little work while in Paris. This was partly due to the sexism of Varo’s male peers, who she said held contemptuous attitudes toward women artists. In Mexico, however, she produced a lush body of work that often elevated a feminine figure. In The Call (1961), her body is illuminated from within by a supernatural glow. While working odd jobs, including a stint as Marc Chagall’s assistant, Varo reunited with fellow European expatriates, such as Leonora Carrington and photographer Kati Horna, who together became known as “the three witches.”
Upon Varo’s arrival, Mexican muralism still held sway, but by the time of Varo’s first exhibition in 1955, Surrealism had become a market force. The show was a hit, with buyers forced to add their names to a waitlist. She showed again at the Salón de la Arte de Mujer in 1958, and died of a heart attack five years later, in 1963.
After a period of relative obscurity outside Mexico, Varo’s star rises on the market.
Frida Kahlo, Varo, and Carrington are often considered the preeminent women artists associated with the Mexican Surrealist movement. Varo remained relatively unknown outside Mexico after her death, but her profile has steadily climbed in recent years alongside rising demand for female Surrealists. Varo, having passed away at her prime, behind few works, many of which reside in private collections. In 2012, the Museum of Modern Art in New York acquired The Juggler (The Magician), 1956, which is now prominently displayed in the Surrealist gallery beside works by Max Ernst and Salvador Dalí.
In 2019, Varo was featured in  “Surrealism in Mexico,” a retrospective at the Di Donna Galleries in New York, and in a pop-up show presented by Gallery Wendi Norris in San Francisco, which paired Varo with works by Carrington. “Some of the best paintings of Surrealism were made in Mexico during the 1940s and ’50s, by women,” wrote the New York Times in its review of the show. In June 2020, Varo’s 1959 canvas Microcosmos (Determinismo) sold at Sotheby’s for $1.8 million, marking the fifth-highest price paid for the Varo’s work at auction. Armonía (Autorretrato Sugerente), 1956, achieved an even higher number, selling for a record-breaking $6.1 million, far surpassing its high estimate of $3 million.

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Walmart Black Friday weekend deals: $398 Samsung Smart TV, save $60 on Apple Watch SE and Beats Solo 3 – CNET

This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2020, CNET’s gift picks with expert advice, reviews and recommendations for the latest tech gifts for you and your family. While Black Friday is officially over, that doesn’t mean there are no more deals to be found this holiday shopping season. In fact, most retailers are extending…

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This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2020, CNET’s gift picks with expert advice, reviews and recommendations for the latest tech gifts for you and your family.

While Black Friday is officially over, that doesn’t mean there are no more deals to be found this holiday shopping season. In fact, most retailers are extending their Black Friday sales through the end of the month and even beyond. It’s little surprise that Walmart’s Black Friday sale is still going strong through the weekend. Yes, the Xbox, PS5, Nintendo Switch, AirPods Pro and Apple Watch Series 3 all quickly sold out, but you can still get in on some great deals. A previously sold-out deal on a GoPro is even back in stock. Walmart is offering price cuts on smart devices including Lenovo’s Smart Clock Essential for just $25 and Google Nest Hub for $50. If your holiday shopping list includes a new TV, check out the Samsung 58-inch TV deal for a discount of $52. You can also get a $51 discount on the cult-favorite Instant Pot Viva, bringing its sale price down to $49. Our favorite deals are listed below — note that availability and prices fluctuate, but were accurate at the time of this story’s most recent update.

Black Friday 2020 sales and deals

DEALS HAPPENING NOW

Google

This second-generation Google Nest Mini is an unobtrusive way to add a smart speaker and voice assistant to another room in your house.

EA Sports

Starting Nov. 25, Walmart slashed prices across the board on a huge swatch of games for current consoles, including titles for as low at $15. Select EA Sports titles for Xbox, Switch and PS4 are as low as $28 each. But be forewarned that the most popular titles sold out quickly and are currently out of stock.

Instant Pot

This Instant Pot does just about everything you’d want or need a multicooker to do and just under $50 is about as low as you’ll see it go. It features 15 cook settings: soup, meat/stew, chili, cake, egg, slow cook, pressure cook, saute, rice, multigrain, steam, sterilize, porridge, warm and yogurt. Six quarts is the most popular size, large enough to cook for groups but not so huge that you’ll find it difficult to store. It also has OverHeat Protection, a safety lock to ensure safe pressure cooking.

Lenovo

While Lenovo’s Smart Clock Essential lacks some of the features of the company’s previous version, it’s a simple but functional smart alarm clock. And at half off, it’s worth your consideration if you want to bring Google Assistant to your bedside table.

Samsung

The Samsung UN58TU7000 is currently selling for its Black Friday price of $398, a $52 savings. It measures 58 inches and has a full 4K resolution with HDR. It’s a Tizen-powered smart TV with support for Netflix, HBO Now, Hulu, CBS, Vudu, Google Play Movies and other services. It also takes voice commands via Bixby Voice.

Óscar Gutiérrez/CNET

The Beats Solo 3 are perennially popular wireless on-ear headphones thanks to the solid sound quality and the Apple W1 chip that makes pairing with iOS devices utterly painless. This $119 price, which kicks in today, ties for the lowest price ever.

Vanessa Hand Orellana/CNET

New for 2020, the Apple Watch SE is the middle child of the Apple Watch lineup. It has the same basic design as the Series 6, but lacks that model’s always-on display, ECG functionality and oxygen saturation measurements.

Read our Apple Watch SE review.

Angela Lang/CNET

The Google Nest Hub is almost half off, selling for a mere $50. It features a 7-inch touchscreen, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support and far-field voice recognition so it can hear you from across the room. At Walmart, you’ll get a credit for the Vudu video service, too.

Walmart

This GoPro is technically discontinued, but it’s available for about $110 less than the Hero 7 Black, which is the entry-level model in GoPro’s current lineup. Not bad for a fully waterproof video camera that can still pull down full HD video.

EXPIRED AND OUT OF STOCK DEALS

Roku

What’s the least expensive streaming media player money can buy? This guy. Roku has made a special-edition media player priced at $17 just to claim the banner of “cheapest.” It’s basically the same as the Roku Express that sells elsewhere for $25, meaning it can ably stream 1080p HD video and has nearly every top video service with the exception of HBO Max.

Vizio

The Vizio 70-inch 4K UHD LED Smart TV HDR V-Series V705x-H1 sells for around $650, but you can snag it for $478 starting today. It’s a perfect storm of features, including a 4K display, Dolby Vision HDR, DTX Virtual X and streaming channels via Vizio SmartCast.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The AirPods Pro have been on a pricing seesaw for months, bouncing between full price and historic lows. They’ve been widely available for $190 to $200 recently, but this $169 is the lowest price we’ve ever seen. The deal is currently sold out at Walmart, but people can still find it at Amazon for just a dollar more.

Read our AirPods Pro review.

Apple keeps the Apple Watch Series 3 around as its budget model for folks who don’t need the shiniest new model, but $119 for the 38mm version (aluminum case and sport band) is an all-time low price. In fact, we’d be surprised if it dropped any lower before Apple simply discontinues the model entirely. The Apple Watch Series 3 in the 42mm size is $149, also its lowest price ever.

Walmart

Just in time for the holidays, grab this Nintendo Switch bundle with a download code for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (and three months of Nintendo Online) included in the box. Grab it while you can, it’s gonna sell out immediately.

Érika García/CNET

Fitbit’s Versa 2 is a smartwatch fitness band with all-around attractive styling, long battery life and excellent exercise and sleep tracking. It lacks built-in GPS, but if you usually carry your phone with you when you work out, this is a superb tracker. Read our Fitbit Versa 2 review. The stone/mist gray color is currently sold out, but black/carbon and petal/copper rose are still in stock. This deal is also available at Best Buy.

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Black Friday Amazon tablet deals still available: Save up to $70 on Fire tablets for adults and kids – CNET

This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2020, CNET’s gift picks with expert advice, reviews and recommendations for the latest tech gifts for you and your family. Black Friday may be over, but Amazon is still handing out major savings on all kinds of devices. All of Amazon’s Fire tablets are still on sale,…

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This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2020, CNET’s gift picks with expert advice, reviews and recommendations for the latest tech gifts for you and your family.

Black Friday may be over, but Amazon is still handing out major savings on all kinds of devices. All of Amazon’s Fire tablets are still on sale, some at prices even better than the Prime Day deals from October. Here’s a full breakdown of the Black Friday Fire tablet deals still available.The Fire HD 10 (10-inch tablet) is now $80 ($70 off)The Fire HD 10 Kids Edition is now $130 ($70 off)The Fire HD 8 Plus (8-inch tablet) is now $75 ($35 off)The Fire HD 8 is now $55 ($35 off)The Fire HD 8 Kids Edition is now $80 ($60 off)The Fire 7 (7-inch tablet) is now $40 ($10 off)  The Fire 7 Kids Edition is now $60 ($40 off)Note that each Fire Kids Edition includes a case and a year of Amazon’s Kids Plus subscription service, a $36 value. Many tablets have been unavailable or temporarily out of stock, so if you find that to be case for any of the deals below, keep checking back as we update this page regularly.

Black Friday 2020 sales and deals

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Amazon has come a long way from the first Kindle Fire tablet. The Amazon Fire HD 10 is Amazon’s biggest tablet with a 10-inch screen size and powerful speakers (and it now charges via USB-C). Just like its smaller 8-inch sibling, the Fire HD 8, the tablet is packed with benefits for Prime subscribers, making it easy for members to stream and download movies, TV shows and games. The Fire tablets don’t run a pure version of Android, but instead use Amazon’s Android-based Fire operating system and pull apps from the Amazon Appstore. You can still get apps from Google Play, but you’ll have to install the store yourself to get access. All in all it’s still an excellent gaming tablet experience.

Read more.

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The Fire HD 8 was updated earlier this year with a faster processor, USB-C charging, better Wi-Fi performance, 2GB of RAM (up from 1.5GB) and a bump from 16GB to 32GB of storage in the base model. Its HD screen is sharper than the entry-level Fire 7’s, but it’s not nearly as sharp as iPad displays. The HD 8 Plus adds wireless charging and slightly better performance thanks to 3GB of RAM.

Read our Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020) review.

David Carnoy/CNET

The Fire HD 8 Plus adds wireless charging and more RAM (3GB instead of 2GB), with performance that improves on that of the standard Fire HD 8. The tablet should charge just fine on most wireless charging pads.

Read our Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Fair warning: We really think you should pay up for a Fire HD 8, which is a much better, faster tablet than the entry-level Fire 7. But at $40, this non-HD 7-inch model is going to be tempting for a lot of folks.

Amazon

Like the Fire HD 8 Kids’ Edition, the child-friendly version of the Fire HD 10 tablet includes a padded case and a one-year subscription to Amazon Kids Plus, for access to more than 20,000 apps, games, books and videos. Parents can give kids access to more apps like Netflix, Minecraft, and Zoom through the Amazon Parent Dashboard.

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This child-friendly version of the Fire HD 8 tablet adds a padded case, parental controls, a two-year warranty and a one-year subscription to Amazon Kids Plus (formerly known as FreeTime Unlimited), which normally costs $3 a month and gives you access to a bunch of kid-friendly content. It’s not really suitable for remote learning, but it’s a much more affordable option than giving a young child a full-on iPad.

Sarah Tew/CNET

This has all of the same extras as the HD 8 above, but it’s the childproof version of the smaller, more affordable Amazon Fire 7. You’re getting a 7-inch screen instead of 8 inches, and a less robust processor.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2020

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Google’s Nest Hub smart display is still great – CNET

Editors’ note, Oct. 30, 2020: The Nest Hub debuted as the Google Home Hub in 2018. Google changed the product name in May 2019 to Google Nest Hub. The Nest Hub has been an Editors’ Choice winner since it launched, and it remains one of our favorite smart home products here in 2020. The review below…

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Editors’ note, Oct. 30, 2020: The Nest Hub debuted as the Google Home Hub in 2018. Google changed the product name in May 2019 to Google Nest Hub. The Nest Hub has been an Editors’ Choice winner since it launched, and it remains one of our favorite smart home products here in 2020. The review below has been updated to account for new competition from Amazon’s Echo Show smart display line. The Google Nest Hub may be small, but it’s surprisingly useful in lots of ways, from organizing your smart home to walking you through a complex recipe, to finding you a place to eat if your cooking efforts fall short. The small gadget is made mighty by the great Google Assistant, and the line is blurry between where the actual hardware of the Google Nest Hub shines and where the digital Google Assistant does all of the heavy lifting. That differentiation might not matter for your buying decision. The Hub, at a newly reduced price of $90, down from $130, is a smart display that combines the functionality of a voice-controlled smart speaker like the original Google Home with a touchscreen you can use to look at pictures, watch videos, browse recipes, control your smart home and more. Read more: The best smart displays of 2020If you’re a fan of Google and want a Google-centric smart home, or if you just like the idea of a smart speaker with a screen and want to try one out for displaying photos at home, or for the step-by-step recipe guides, I recommend the Google Nest Hub. The seamless touch controls and intuitive voice commands will even help the tech-phobic members of your family get used to it. The differentiation between hardware and software becomes much more important if you’re able to spend a little more and you’re willing to consider third-party smart displays alongside this Google-branded one. Google added a newer, bigger smart display called the Nest Hub Max, which has a 10-inch screen and a built-in Nest Cam with unique features including gesture control. Both Lenovo and JBL have recommendable 10-inch smart displays with Google Assistant built in and most of the same features as the Nest Hub. Read more: The best Google Assistant and Google Home devices of 2020Unlike most of the other smart displays, the Nest Hub doesn’t have a camera, which might be a negative for some, but privacy-minded folks will appreciate its absence. Otherwise, it offers all the same features as the other smart displays for a reasonable price. The Google Nest Hub is a cute, useful gadget, and an even better value now than it was when it debuted. 
What the Google Home Hub lacks in size, it makes up for in substance
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Good things in small packagesThe Google Nest Hub is tiny. It sort of looks like Google stuck a thin, 7-inch tablet onto a Google Home Mini smart speaker. It’s simple — a screen and a stand covered in fabric.It has two forward-facing microphones on a bezel surrounding the 7-inch screen. The middle dot between the mics is an ambient light sensor, not a camera. On the back of the Nest Hub you’ll find a switch that mutes the microphone and buttons for controlling the volume, and that’s it. If you want to do anything else with the Nest Hub, you’ll need to use its touchscreen or give it a voice command. That’s an ambient light sensor, not a camera.
Chris Monroe/CNET
You can pick from four colors for the fabric — chalk, charcoal, aqua and sand. We tested the chalk model, but all four colors are otherwise the same and all cost $90. You can buy the Google Nest Hub at Best Buy, Walmart, Target and other electronics retailers as well as online via the Google Store. (See here for the UK and Australia.)Google bundles a six-month trial of YouTube Premium with the purchase of a Nest Hub. The service costs $12 (£12, AU$15) a month after the trial ends and allows you to listen to YouTube’s music library without ads. The four color options for the Google Nest Hub.
James Martin/CNET
An entertainment hubYou don’t need a subscription to watch ordinary YouTube videos on the Nest Hub. You can search for them by voice and scroll through the options with your voice or with touch. YouTube gives the Google Nest Hub an advantage over the Amazon Echo Show. Google pulled the rights to the streaming site from Amazon’s competing smart display over a dispute in 2017. You can watch YouTube on the Echo Show, but only via a browser, which doesn’t respond to voice commands.Videos also look surprisingly crisp on the petite 7-inch screen. If you have a subscription to YouTube’s live TV service — YouTube TV — you can watch live TV on the Hub as well. It certainly won’t replace your main TV, but again, the picture looks good, so this feature could come in handy if you want to watch the news in the morning while you make breakfast.

Otherwise, you can watch streaming videos through services such as HBO Max and, as of this summer, Netflix. As with any of Google’s smart speakers, you can also issue a voice command to the Hub to start streaming Netflix on any of your TVs with a Chromecast streamer or Chromecast built-in. You have plenty of options for listening to music on the Hub as well. Other than YouTube music, you can sync your account for Pandora, Spotify, and Deezer. You can also set any of those services as your default, so Google Assistant will search there first when you ask it to play a song. Once you start playing music, you can use the Google Home app to customize the speaker equalizer settings if you want a little more bass or treble. You can also add the Nest Hub to speaker groups with other Google Assistant smart speakers or speakers connected to a Chromecast audio streamer. If you don’t like the sound quality of the Nest Hub, you can also set another speaker as your default and it will automatically start playing music on that device instead of through its own speakers.Smaller hardware, smaller soundFrom left to right, the Lenovo Smart Display, Google Nest Hub and JBL Link View.
Chris Monroe/CNET
You might not like the sound quality of the Nest Hub if you’re an audiophile. It’s fine if you want to listen to background music, but it’s not particularly loud or crisp. Unfortunately, the sound quality isn’t in the same league as other smart displays such as the Amazon Echo Show or the JBL Link View. In fact, the sound quality is more on par with Google’s smallest smart speaker, the Google Home Mini, which still beat the Nest Hub in our tests. Thankfully, the Hub’s microphones held up better under scrutiny. The Nest Hub understood my voice commands from across the great room of the CNET Smart Home. It even heard me from an adjacent room as long as I had the door open. It also fared well over background noise while I stood in the same room. Expect to need to speak up if you’re playing loud music, but that’s standard for any smart speaker. The second-gen Amazon Echo Show heard me more often from a greater distance, but the Hub’s mics are on par with those in the smart displays from Lenovo and JBL. A versatile personal assistantYou can issue a wide variety of voice commands to the Google Nest Hub. Plug it in and set it up on your Wi-Fi using the Google Home app, then, thanks to the built-in Google Assistant, you can ask Google Nest Hub any question you’d ask the original Google Home.As we saw on the Lenovo Smart Display and the JBL Link View, Google Assistant makes good use of the touchscreen with helpful visuals after you ask a question. Check the weather, and you’ll see illustrations of the forecast for the week. Search for local restaurants and you’ll see pictures of nearby places. You can use the Google Nest Hub to find a place to eat.
Chris Monroe/CNET
You can then scroll through the options and tap one for more details. Google will even show you how to get there on a map and send the directions to your phone. This will work automatically if you have an Android phone and it works on Apple’s iPhones too, as long as you have the Google Assistant app installed. You can also make calls with the Nest Hub. Since Google Assistant can recognize your individual voice, it can find numbers from your phone’s list of contacts and dial. The recipient will even see that it’s you calling. You can make video calls with the Hub too, but you’re limited to using Google Duo — Google’s mobile app for video chats. Since the Nest Hub doesn’t have a camera, you’ll be able to look at the recipient but they won’t be able to see you.

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You can always swipe right on the screen to go back a page, or swipe up for quick settings like volume and brightness. You can’t download apps or browse the web as you could on an ordinary tablet, but all of the content of the Google Nest Hub is meant to be visible from across the room. Other helpful features include routines, which are customizable grouped commands that allow you to play videos or podcasts, get directions to work and turn on your connected lights with a simple command like “good morning.” If you control your smart home with a voice command, you’ll see your device pop up on the screen. Change the temp of your thermostat, and you’ll see buttons and sliders to tweak the temp further or change the mode. All of these features are the same on all of the Google Assistant-equipped smart displays, and my favorite feature of both the Lenovo Smart Display and the JBL Link View has made its way intact to the Google Nest Hub. Search for a recipe by voice, or find one in your phone and send it to your display. Google Assistant will read the ingredients and directions out loud and you can see them listed on the screen.

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