The Hogar Milo might not look all that different to a Google Home at first glance. Indeed, it shares much of the same functionality as Google’s own smart speaker, since the Milo also responds to your voice commands via Google Assistant. The Milo’s not just another third-party Google speaker, though. It’s a smart home hub with touch controls.
Say the word, and you’ll be able to control your smart home, check your calendar, ask for cooking instructions, search the web and more. Basically, the Hogar Milo will be able to do just about everything a Google Home can do.
But thanks to built-in Zigbee and Z-Wave radios, Milo can also help bridge your smart home devices to the cloud. Most of the time, if you want door sensors, motion sensors and other small gadgets making up your smart home, you need a separate hub, such as the SmartThings Hub or the Wink Hub. Those small sensors don’t talk directly to your router in order to save battery, and your Hub interprets the low-frequency signals they do use (Zigbee or Z-Wave) for your router. That’s the main job Milo’s taking on in addition to being your smart assistant.
Milo also offers some handy touch controls. You’ll supposedly be able to control “scenes” with a tap. Scenes allow you to control multiple smart devices at once, but since Hogar would be initiating these scenes, they might not work with all of Google’s many smart home partners. You might also have to set up your smart home with Hogar in addition to Google Assistant to enable both voice and touch controls, which could be a pain.
Still, the combination of voice controls, touch controls and the hub makes Milo a compelling option if you want to start building a fully functional smart home. It’s reasonably priced as well, at $150, which converts to roughly £110 or AU$190. A Google Home’s only $130, but a SmartThings Hub is $100 on its own, and Milo combines the two.
Hogar’s also launching the Pebble at CES, which works with the Milo and allows you to activate up to 10 scenes at the push of a button. If you’re intrigued by activating scenes with a push, the Pebble is an extra $50 (about £35 or AU$60).