LAS VEGAS — When Amazon launched the Echo Plus, it was an effort to simplify the smart home setup process for consumers. Inside the Echo Plus is a Zigbee hub, so you can connect devices such as smart lights and smart locks without needing a third-party hub, such as Samsung SmartThings or the Wink 2.
The Hogar Milo is the Google Home equivalent of a device like the Echo Plus. However, this smart speaker, which will go for $149 when it becomes available in the first quarter of 2018, offers more than just Z-Wave protocols. The device also has Zigbee, Bluetooth LE and Wi-Fi, enabling it to connect to the vast majority of smart home devices on the market. And, because it has Google Assistant built in, you'll be able to interact with it using your voice.
On top of the Milo are several touch controls. Three of the buttons let you activate a particular "scene," which can control multiple smart home devices. For instance, you might create a "Goodnight" scene, which turns off your TV and lights, and locks your doors. Hogar will also sell the Pebble ($49): a small wireless puck-shaped remote control, which connects to the Milo, and lets you control 10 additional scenes.
The Milos that we saw at CES had gray-and-black covers, but the company said that these are removable, and it plans to sell other colors in the future. We didn't have a chance to gauge the Milo's sound quality, but the size of the speaker — roughly that of a large can of tomatoes — would suggest that its audio should be on a par with the Echo.
Hopefully, the Milo will be reasonably good at pumping out music, as its built-in smart home hub features are something not found in any other Google Home device. It also remains to be seen whether the Milo app will allow for complex actions and features comparable to the SmartThings app. Stay tuned for our review of the device in the coming months.