Review: 4 months later, the Nest Audio is still a smart speaker champ

Nest AudioSupply: Daniel Bader / Android Central

Replace, February 2021: Nest Audio, four months later

It is crucial to not overthink what the Nest Audio is, or what it is looking to be. Google is not; it was once lovely transparent about that reality all through the product’s advent. It is a successor to the preferred 2016 Google House, the corporate’s authentic air freshener-shaped cylindrical Google Assistant-powered speaker, which was once launched all through an overly other time within the corporate’s roadmap.

It wasn’t till the next yr, in 2017, that the colourful, rounded-corner, fabric-covered aesthetic we all know and love lately was once published within the sorts of the Google House Mini and House Max, petite and portly variations of that authentic speaker designed to make the Google Assistant out there to extra house sizes, budgets, and audio lovers.

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Within the final couple of years, there was no scarcity of Google Assistant audio system launched to the marketplace, however maximum of them proportion something in not unusual: they’ve presentations. Google’s fallen in love with sensible presentations, all of which play song, certain, however none that exemplify the austere audio-focused mandate of the unique Google House. (Sure, 2019 noticed an audio-enhancing refresh of the Google House Mini within the type of the Nest Mini, however even its advanced speaker is not any fit for the dynamic vary of maximum songs launched lately.)

So right here we’re, days got rid of from an Amazon match that noticed some other reinvention of the Echo speaker, and Google has its personal 2020 take at the $100 sensible speaker. Whilst it isn’t going to change the dialog round inexpensive sensible audio system, it is a cast addition to the marketplace, and reinforces Google as a maker that understands the wedding of speaker design, audio high quality, and its robust platform.

At a look

Google Nest Audio Sky RenderGoogle Nest Audio Sky Render

Nest Audio

Base line: Google offers its authentic House speaker an enormous visible and audio improve for 2020, however the most efficient section is the speedier Google Assistant processing and beef up for stereo pairing.


  • Very good sound high quality for the cost
  • Sexy, understated design
  • Very good microphone high quality
  • Google Assistant may be very helpful
  • Intuitive contact controls, devoted mute transfer


  • Nonetheless some tool system faults

Nest Audio assessment The

Nest Audio

Nest AudioSupply: Daniel Bader / Android Central

Class Google Nest Audio
Dimensions four.89″ x three.07″ x 6.89″, 2.65 lb
Colours Chalk, Charcoal, Sage, Sand, Sky
Processor Quad Core A53 1.eight GHz with TeraOPS ML engine
Audio system 75mm (2.95″) woofer, 19mm (zero.75″) tweeter
Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n/ac (2.four GHz / five GHz)

While the unique Google House felt like an experiment in design that took place to repay — its top-mounted capacitive ring continues to be one among my favourite tactics to switch quantity — the Nest Audio sits obviously in Google’s circle of relatives of fabric-covered audio system and sensible presentations.

In its most simple sense, it is a a lot smaller vertically-mounted Google House Max, round 20% taller and 25% wider than the third-generation cylindrical Amazon Echo, and at a shocking 2.6 kilos, round 50% heavier. It additionally dwarfs the OG Google House, and is even fairly taller than, although no longer slightly as deep as, the Sonos One.

Google obviously put a large number of effort into preserving the Nest Audio compact. Its heft comes from a surfeit of steel — aluminum within the entrance and magnesium within the again — intended for warmth dissipation and pressure that are supposed to save you distortion at excessive volumes. Rather than the load, although, you would by no means know there was once a steel body inside of; the entire speaker is roofed in a cushy woven material, the vast majority of which Google says is derived from recycled water bottles.

The Nest Audio seems to be, unsurprisingly, like a smaller Google House Max

To be had in 5 colours, I were given to check out the least colourful two — Chalk (white) and Charcoal (black) — however I don’t believe it truly issues a lot; this can be a speaker that can be dispose of to the aspect of a room to be referred to as upon to play song or a podcast when the temper moves. That mentioned, the Sage inexperienced, Sky blue, and Sand choices are certain to be common for individuals who do need to make the speaker a little bit extra outstanding.

Again in July, Google teased the Nest Audio with a few pictures and a video, during which it appeared like the speaker might be used portably. Sadly, that was once only a mirage, for the reason that Nest Audio, like any Google audio system, is supposed for use plugged in — although it does beef up Bluetooth if you wish to attach it without delay to a telephone.

Google instructed me that it sought after to make sure the highest-quality Google Assistant efficiency in each and every surroundings, making it essential that, when attached to Wi-Fi, the speaker had a constant supply of energy. Whilst indubitably disappointing to a few who have been most likely searching for a miniature model of the Sonos Transfer, including a battery sufficiently big to energy the Nest Audio for plentiful time, even simply attached to Bluetooth, would have upended the compact shape issue Google accomplished right here.

Nest Audio

Nest AudioSupply: Daniel Bader / Android Central

I deliver this up early within the assessment as a result of, instead of enhancements to design and sound high quality, the Nest Audio is nearly no other from the unique Google House. Just like the Nest Mini, there is a devoted microphone mute transfer on board, along side 4 LEDs that remove darkness from when enjoying and pausing song or converting quantity. Most sensible of the speaker additionally homes the capacitive contact zones: left for quantity down, center for play/pause, and proper for quantity up. Those areas are sufficiently big that exact placement is not essential, and the entire interplay fashion looks like Google has spent the final 3 years atoning for the Google House Mini’s faulty contact controls.

The Nest Audio’s design purposefully does not draw consideration to itself. You would possibly not even be capable of inform it is on except you are interacting with it.

I just like the Nest Audio’s design in spite of its near-monolithic austerity. Not like the Amazon Echo and even the Sonos One, there are not any bodily buttons, or hints at button placements, except you already know the place to faucet. The speaker’s LEDs keep unlit whilst audio is enjoying, and simplest deal with their presence when the rear mute transfer has been activated (which, once more, is not visual except you are searching for it). Google has discovered that folks would slightly pay attention than see a speaker — which is precisely how it will have to be.

Nest Audio Colors

Nest Audio ColorsSupply: Google

What the Nest Audio is excellent at, like its predecessor, is listening to its keywords even whilst muttered quietly or when the song is blaring. The 3 far-field microphones do an improbable task selecting up even the faintest trace of a “Hi there Google,” quieting the present tune to get a greater earline to a follow-up word. This has at all times been an enormous benefit of Google’s first-party over competition like Sonos that combine the Assistant into its , and that is the reason true right here, too.

Nest Audio assessment The sound

Nest Audio

Nest AudioSupply: Daniel Bader / Android Central

The Nest Audio sounds just right, however no longer superb. That reality will have to be evident, however we are used to special tech corporations subverting our expectancies via subsidizing their to inspire ecosystem lock-in.

The promising information is that in case you are coming from both an OG Google House or a Google House Mini or Nest Mini, this can be a large improve. Not like the Alexa ecosystem, which has noticed large expansion as a result of Amazon turns out prepared to paintings with actually any corporate that may throw in combination a tweeter and a microphone, there don’t seem to be a large number of succesful Google Assistant audio system. And as Google spent the previous couple of years operating with companions like Lenovo, LG, Sony, and JBL to pair audio system with monitors, or even because it constructed out its personal Nest Hub merchandise, audio high quality hasn’t ever looked like a concern.

The Nest Audio sounds a lot greater than the Google House, however that wasn’t a excessive bar to succeed in.

By itself, the Nest Audio speaker is 75% louder, and has 50% more potent bass, than the unique Google House, consistent with Google. Whilst that is instantly obvious upon first listening, it is the readability and dynamic vary that I admire extra when evaluating the 2. The Google House, praised when it was once launched for its room-filling constancy, sounds muddy and boomy compared.

The Nest Audio has a quite flat sound profile, no longer uninteresting or useless, however with out including its personal colour to what is being performed. Google says it employs its personal automated tuning algorithms to the sound profile as soon as the speaker has been positioned for a couple of seconds, studying the ambient noise and reverb within the room to decide find out how to equalize the sound. Whilst I did not understand an enormous distinction in sound signature between the speaker positioned in the course of a big room or the nook of a small one (although the effects have been clearly extra relaxing within the latter state of affairs), the Nest Audio does regulate its quantity, in addition to the room-thumping low-end, relying at the surroundings.

The speaker does really well enjoying maximum genres of song, however it’ll wish to be equalized to extend the bass if you’ll force truly thumpy hip-hop or dance song. Nonetheless, the low-end is blank and alluring, vocals come via fantastically, and there is no sharpness or sibilance on the high-end.

Nest Audio

Nest AudioSupply: Daniel Bader / Android Central

I spent a large number of time taking note of song at the Nest Audio, biking between 4 different sensible audio system: the third-gen Amazon Echo ($100, however now discontinued), the Sonos One ($199), the Ikea Symfonisk WiFi bookshelf speaker ($100), and the Google House ($100, now discontinued).

Of the ones 5 attached audio system, the Nest Audio unearths itself firmly in the course of the pack, each when it comes to total audio high quality and the way it reproduces maximum genres of song. It is a long way much less muddy and bass-forward than both the Google House or the Amazon Echo, the latter of which sends audio from its tweeter upwards and its woofer down in opposition to the ground, exaggerating its bass reaction because it sends song in all instructions.

Google says that the Nest Audio is not just directional, however that it is a waveguide speaker, because of this the tweeter is designed to extra exactly goal precisely the spot the speaker is pointing. That is intended to lead to what hi-fi lovers name a “candy spot,” the purpose in a room, relative to a speaker’s placement, that ostensibly sounds the most efficient. I in reality discovered this to be true, virtually to the speaker’s detriment; given its small dimension and directional output, a tune’s musical soundstage seems narrower than at the Sonos One or Ikea Symfonisk, that have better-quality drivers and a bigger enclosure, respectively.

Nest Audio Lab Testing

Nest Audio Lab TestingSupply: Google

Nonetheless, the Nest Audio holds its personal, particularly when enjoying song the place you need to pay attention a transparent separation between the vocals and tools; and at its upper volumes, a unmarried Nest Audio will get the room vibrating, if no longer modestly thumping.

However that is obviously Google tuning its speaker for an target audience that listens to simply as many podcasts as top-40 hits, simply as many information clips as freestyles. I believe it was once the appropriate selection, too, as a result of at part the cost of a Sonos One, you are getting 90% of the efficiency.

The Nest Audio truly has a possibility to polish two gadgets shape a stereo pair.

The place the Nest Audio truly excels is when paired to a 2nd unit. Google started providing stereo pairing all of the long ago in 2017 with the House Max, however at $600 that most likely wasn’t a quite common use case. Now all of Google’s first-party audio system beef up the function, which bodily divides the audio system into devoted left and proper channels, simply as sound engineers meant. It is on this configuration the waveguide tweeters shine, construction a gorgeous and succesful little wi-fi speaker machine for slightly below $200.

Nest Audio assessment The Google Assistant

Nest Audio

Nest AudioSupply: Daniel Bader / Android Central

Being a sensible attached speaker, the Nest Audio has get admission to to the entirety the Google Assistant has discovered through the years, from soliciting for songs or podcasts to atmosphere timers to asking not unusual details to controlling sensible house devices and loads extra. By way of now you most likely know in the event you’d get pleasure from the addition of a sensible speaker, and I am guessing in case you are taking into consideration the Nest Audio, you might have interacted with the Google Assistant in some shape or model.

Google Assistant continues to be greater than Alexa for buying questions spoke back, however Amazon is bettering its assistant sooner than Google.

The nice and unhealthy information is that the Assistant works identically at the Nest Audio because it does on each and every different sensible speaker attached to Google’s ecosystem; there are not any unique or distinctive options right here. It is a competent and succesful vessel to all sides of Google’s ecosystem, although I did come across a couple of insects when asking Spotify to play explicit albums — any album that got here out within the final couple of weeks did not seem to exist in Spotify’s database, although they may manually be driven to the speaker the usage of Spotify Attach — however the request labored at the Google House or Nest Mini.

Nest Audio

Nest AudioSupply: Daniel Bader / Android Central

After all, like Amazon’s mainline Echo audio system, the Nest Audio is in a precarious place in its father or mother corporate’s ecosystem. Google offers away the Nest Mini at each and every alternative — I have won and given away no less than 5 of them during the last yr — as a result of it is a affordable entry-point to the Assistant. At the different aspect, Google’s Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max have monitors, all of the greater to engage with the Assistant, whilst additionally providing a at hand Google Footage ambient show.

Google instructed me that the Nest Audio is for individuals who explicitly desire a speaker devoted to audio, and particularly song, the place a sensible show is not suitable and a Nest Mini is not robust sufficient. I exploit my House Max in my lounge for its energy and a Hub Max within the kitchen for its show, however I will be able to recall to mind a couple of puts round the home — my administrative center, my daughter’s room — the place the Nest Audio’s smaller dimension and loss of a show would turn out to be useful.

In reality the usage of the Assistant at the Nest Audio is a deal with. No longer simplest does the speaker proportion the similar on-device processing that debuted within the Nest Mini final yr, however its extra robust processor implies that that is essentially the most responsive Google Assistant has ever been on a speaker. Whilst the Nest Audio does not make Assistant much more likely to get the solution proper — it nonetheless journeys up greater than I would like — it succeeds and fails sooner, and I for sure admire that.

Nest Audio assessment Pageant

Amazon Echo 4th Gen

Amazon Echo 4th GenSupply: Joe Maring / Android Central

There don’t seem to be a large number of Google Assistant audio system in the marketplace lately, so discovering apples-to-apples festival for the Nest Audio is lovely tough. The excellent news is that there are lots of super sensible audio system within the $100-200 vary that give the Nest Audio a just right problem.

The Nest Audio has a couple of primary competition in the marketplace, however none extra so than the Amazon Echo (4th Gen). Redesigned in a brand new greater round frame with directional audio, Amazon guarantees louder sound with much less distortion from its new $100 Alexa speaker, and it is stiff festival for Google’s speaker.

It isn’t sudden that the Sonos One sounds greater than the Nest Audio, however it for sure does not sound two times as just right. There is an airiness to song that comes out of the Sonos One who feels extra compressed and remoted at the Nest Audio, however they each reproduce vocals and tools splendidly. The Sonos One is extra exact and has a cleaner, extra relaxing low-end, however no longer via a lot — and given its $200 ticket, most likely no longer greater sufficient.

Ikea Symfonisk

Ikea SymfoniskSupply: Daniel Bader / Android Central

The most affordable method to get into the Sonos ecosystem, the Symfonisk WiFi bookshelf is in reality an Ikea product made in collaboration with Sonos. At $100, it places out strangely just right sound, with a bigger enclosure that ends up in a extra comfy and relaxing sound than that of the Nest Audio. Whilst it lacks the microphones to make it a devoted sensible speaker, it may be paired with a Nest Mini for Google Assistant routing functions.

I would recommend getting the Nest Audio over the Symfonisk for simplicity sake except you have already got present Sonos audio system, however it is transparent that Google most likely will have spent a little bit more cash at the high quality of the audio parts with out expanding the price an excessive amount of — however that might have resulted in a bodily larger speaker.

Nest Audio assessment Will have to you purchase it?

Nest Audio

Nest AudioSupply: Daniel Bader / Android Central

I have grown to benefit from the Nest Audio so much since I won a couple to check final week. It is a succesful, horny, and understated piece of that may most likely cross directly to promote really well given the luck of the unique Google House.

You will have to purchase the Nest Audio if…

You wish to have a cast sensible speaker with Google Assistant. It’ll sound evident, however the Nest Audio is a no-frills speaker that specializes in audio high quality. Should you plan to hear a large number of song or podcasts, and do not want the display that incorporates a sensible show, this can be a super choice.

You will have to no longer purchase the Nest Audio if…

You are searching for a hi-fi audio resolution. Google higher the standard of the Nest Audio over the unique Google House, however do not be expecting miracles from this $99 field. It sounds just right, but when you need a attached speaker with a little bit extra panache, grasp a Sonos One.

out of five

The Nest Audio is precisely what is proven at the tin. If you are upgrading from an present Google House or Nest Mini speaker, it is a huge development; in case you are transferring over from an Echo, it is a extra exact and not more aurally colourful listening revel in.

I nonetheless like Google Assistant greater than Alexa, and that have is healthier than ever at the Nest Audio due to its sooner processor and devoted on-device system finding out chip.

For $100, there are not any greater Google Assistant audio system for the cost, and for $200 a few est Audios paired in combination in stereo mode is without doubt one of the least expensive and easy tactics so as to add great-sounding cloud audio to any room.

Pay attention to this

Google Nest Audio Sky RenderGoogle Nest Audio Sky Render

Nest Audio

Giant improve, small package deal

Google offers its authentic House speaker an enormous visible and audio improve for 2020, however the most efficient section is the speedier Google Assistant processing and beef up for stereo pairing.

Nest Audio, four months later assessment

Nest Audio in Charcoal

Nest Audio in CharcoalSupply: Joe Maring / Android Central

The Nest Audio has now had round 4 months to search out its footing and turn out that it may possibly dangle its personal. And you already know what? It is completed a rattling just right task of doing simply that. Not anything has significantly modified with the Nest Audio since liberate, however as we have now noticed with different Google just like the Chromecast with Google TV, that is not essentially a foul factor.

Google’s design for the Nest Audio truly stuck my eye proper out of the gate, and after having two of them on my table for the previous few months, I have but to develop uninterested in them. The material design is heat and inviting, the compact nature makes them simple to put near to any place, and the Charcoal colour I opted for makes the Nest Audio great and discrete.

The capability of the design has held up simply as smartly, with the capacitive contact controls for quantity and media playback nonetheless paintings as anticipated. I assumed the loss of exact buttons would turn out to be an annoyance, however I have in reality come round to truly just like the capacitive controls Google opted for.

Talking of , the two.95-inch woofer and nil.75-inch tweeter have remained very good for informal song listening. I consider Daniel’s preliminary assessment that the sound profile is a little bit flat proper out of the field, however with a little bit of equalizer tweaking within the Google House app, it is simple to regulate the audio in your liking. I will have to additionally indicate that I have been the usage of my Nest Audios in a stereo pair, which has confirmed to be a fully killer sub-$200 setup. If you’ll be able to have enough money to splurge for 2, I would extremely suggest it.

Mix all of that with very good microphone efficiency and widespread gross sales that ceaselessly deliver the Nest Audio down to simply $80, and this finally ends up being a sensible speaker that we are nonetheless very happy to suggest. Google hasn’t added any glossy options or settings since release, however the entirety that made the Nest Audio super nonetheless stays lately. Whether or not you are looking to shop for your first one or upload in your rising assortment, the Nest Audio is a sturdy select for the most efficient sensible speaker in early 2021.

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