Google has just launched its brand new smart speaker. Nest Audio is the replacement for the original Google Home speaker. What’s new? There are some major design changes and improvements to the overall sound. I had the opportunity to get hands on with Nest Audio ahead of its public launch. Here’s what I learned. By the way, this review will cover the basics of what the Nest Audio device does, and what’s new. If you’re looking for help setting it up or creating a stereo pair or group, check out, How to set Up Nest Audio here.
Google Nest Audio review: what’s new?
First and foremost, Nest Audio is made to sound better than Google Home. For starters it’s 75% louder and has 50% more bass than the original. I’ll share more about the overall sound quality in a sec…
The most obvious change from Google Home to Nest Audio is the design. Now taller, leaner and shaped in a more elliptical way, the Nest Audio is also completely fabric wrapped (the original had a plastic cap) and it comes in a softer colour palette of five shades—I received the blue Sky shade. Google tells me it’s designed to integrate seamlessly into your home, and it does indeed look a lot less like obvious audio gear and more like a softer decorative element; like a felt stone or a cushion.
New Family Bell
Google has added a new feature called Family Bell (English only), where you can add audible and visual reminders throughout the day. These bells can announce when it’s time to start an online class, take a break, settle in for homework, or head to bed.
To set one up you need to go to the Google Assistant app, (not the Home app) and click your profile photo in the top right. Scroll down until you see Family Bell and follow the instructions to add one.
Touch controls to control Nest Audio
Touch controls carry over from Nest Mini: here they are on the top front of Nest Audio: play and pause is located in the top middle, and volume is adjusted up or down by touching the corners. You can turn the microphone off for privacy using the switch on the back.
Sound Control & audio quality: Nest Audio
The key upgrade on Nest Audio is overall sound quality.
One of the biggest complains about the original Google Home speaker was that it sounded muffled and wasn’t really designed to be a high end audio device; it was meant to be more of a digital assistant with ears. Google remedied that with Google Home Max and then Nest Hub Max which were both great sounding speakers, but those are also much larger speakers. This time around they told me they were trying to get all the audio quality of the Hub Max in a smaller package.
Nest Audio speaker specs
The all new Nest Audio speaker has a 75 mm woofer and 19 mm tweeter, plus 3 far-field microphones to hear your commands or to use with phone calls, plus a hardware mic mute switch.
Audio quality: Google Nest Audio
So how does it sound? Impressive. Google has definitely gone all out on improved audio quality in a versatile size. Right away you’ll notice the sound is beautifully clear. It sounds very well balanced, and I can say these speakers definitely get loud. The bass is also much improved over the original; there’s a lot more thump and it’s got a nice low resonance.
As a stereo pair, this is a really nice set of speakers. They sound excellent as a duo and can definitely fill a space with sound. The sound is ideally balanced, and you can place two Nest Audio smart speakers close together or further apart depending on how much room you have available.
Make equalizer adjustments
If you want to fine tune your sound to your own preferences, you can use the EQ settings inside the Google Home app to adjust bass and treble.
Nest Audio also apparently adapts to your home to ensure that you’re getting the best sound experience possible. With Media EQ, Nest Audio has responsive tuning that adjusts to the content that you’re listening to whether that’s music, podcasts, or audiobooks. Nest Audio also responds to background noise in the house, hiking the volume so you can hear the Google Assistant.
What else can Nest Audio do in your home?
●Voice call with Google Duo: Use Google Duo on Nest Audio to call mobile phones, tablets and more. This is free and works internationally.
● Call home: In the Google Home app, there’s a “Call Home” coin at the top. Tap that coin and your Nest Audio will
become a home phone.
● Use as an intercom: Call any other Nest speaker or display in your home. Just say “Hey Google, call the living room”
or “Hey Google, call the kitchen.”
● Broadcast: Just say “Hey Google, broadcast [any message]” to send that message to all the other speakers and
displays in your house. You can also broadcast from within the Google Home app.
●Transfer music around your home
If you have multiple Nest Audio speakers, you can easily move music around your home with just your voice. Just say, ‘OK Google, move music to living room.
Use Google nest Audio to control smart home devices
Nest Audio works with over a thousand compatible smart devices, like TVs, lights, thermostats and locks, and you can use your voice to control your lights, thermostat, or turn off the TV.I tried it out and it responds quickly and efficiently, executing the commands perfectly 99% of the time.
What can Google Assistant do?
If you’re new to the power of the Google Assistant here’s a short list of what it can do it your home:
- Do information searches and answer questions like you might otherwise type into google
- Watch or listen to media like radio, YouTube, news briefs etc.
- Get news, weather, sports, business, traffic info on screen
- Set timers, alarms
- Do math & conversions
- Control your home; thermostats, lights
Voice control & music services
Of course since this is a voice controlled digital assistant, you can use your voice to control popular music services like YouTube Music, Spotify, Sirius XM and more on the all new Nest Audio. And through casting, you’ll have access to hundreds of compatible apps to stream from your phone, tablet or laptop. Plus, YouTube Music and Spotify Premium subscribers can say, “Hey Google, recommend some music” and Google Assistant will offer multiple choices from artists and genres that they like, and others like them to choose from.
Overall review: all new Google Nest Audio
Overall I’m really happy with these speakers and impressed with how far Google has gone to make this both a responsive digital butler and a great sounding audio device. I love the new look and think it’s super attractive and modern and blends into my home seamlessly. The sound quality is vastly better than original Google Home and of course it’s still got all the smart home controls of the original, with some new toys too. In short, if you’ve been waiting to upgrade your old Google Home, or to get a smart speaker, this is the time to do it and the speaker to do it with.