Nest Audio review: A better body for Google’s Assistant with OK sound

Reasonably priced • Compact • Gorgeous design • Stepped forward audio high quality • Seamless connectivity • Much less muffled sound

Now not for the audiophile • Sound high quality may well be higher • Now not water-resistant

At slightly below $100, Google’s Nest Audio is a superb and inexpensive selection if you are the kind who values good house controls over best notch audio high quality.

Since its release in 2016, Google House has advanced from a glorified speaker with an built in voice assistant to a full-blown good house hub. It might probably now learn off your day by day agenda or even get started your espresso gadget earlier than you get off the bed. However its expansion over time has been at the tool aspect of items. Ahead of Google presented its new and rebranded Nest Audio good speaker closing week, the software’s design had remained totally untouched for 4 years.

At $99.99, the Nest Audio is not best extra inexpensive than the unique, however it in spite of everything has a completely new glance that is way more aesthetically enjoyable and recent than its predecessor. And, with some upgraded portions beneath the hood, it additionally has a fuller, clearer sound as in comparison to the unique Google House.

Previous to the release of the Nest Audio, the corporate have been pumping out new Google Assistant- powered hooked up house units left and proper — whether or not that was once the Nest Mini, the Google House Max, or the Nest Hub good shows — giving shoppers various new choices to make a choice from. The ones in search of one thing slightly extra tough than a mini good speaker and not more intense (and less expensive) than the Google House Max, on the other hand, best had an outdated Google House type to make a choice from. 

Even Google knew it was once time for a refresh. 

Whilst definitely new, the Nest Audio does not reasonably revolutionize the remainder of Google’s good speaker lineup — it adapts to it as a substitute. To piece in combination what is referred to now because the Nest Audio, the corporate necessarily cherry-picked options from the remainder of its good house lineup, just like the cloth-covered aesthetic, compact shape issue, and complex audio options (like Ambient IQ and Media EQ) that robotically tweak the sound in response to your setting and noise round you. 

However do not let the revamp (and manufacturer Mark Ronson’s stamp of approval) idiot you. Whilst it has its perks when it comes to its top rate really feel and its skill to double as each an audio speaker and a wise house hub, Google’s newest good speaker is not supposed to compete with the likes of Sonos or Bose. The Nest Audio is a brilliant house software first and a speaker 2d.

An excessively vital face carry

When the Google House first got here out, the memes and tweets poking a laugh at this factor for its putting resemblance to a Glade air freshener had been reputedly never-ending. And, they were not fallacious — its relatively angled best and curved base makes it glance love it’s about to spray puffs of a few floral odor into the air. 

There is no getting round it: Google House is unsightly. 

See? Now all of the speakers match flawlessly.

See? Now the entire audio system fit flawlessly.

Symbol: brenda stolyar / mashable

For the Nest Audio, Google scrapped the House’s shape think about desire of an oblong form with cushy, rounded edges. It is totally coated in cloth, excluding the rubber base at the backside, which provides it a great blank and seamless glance that makes it simple to include into any form of decor. 

The Nest Audio additionally is available in some a laugh colours like sky, sage, and sand along side extra muted ones like chalk and charcoal. As you’ll be able to inform from pictures, Google despatched me the chalk colour which is unquestionably simple to compare with any internal, however I used to be actually hoping to take a look at one of the vital extra colourful choices.

Seeing as how Google recycled the design from the fabric-wrapped Nest Mini and Google House Max, the brand new Nest speaker seems to be proper at house (ha, see what I did there?) along each. So, in the event you personal both of the ones audio system, your setup will glance much more cohesive. 

Like its buttonless speaker siblings, you perform the software by means of the usage of contact controls: Evenly faucet the proper nook to lift the quantity and the left to decrease it. A center faucet will pause or playback audio. 

Whilst I have been principally the usage of voice instructions to keep an eye on it, the contact controls are actually responsive. Additionally it is pleasant that you simply shouldn’t have to put your finger on a selected spot each and every time for it to acknowledge the motion. It’s going to sign up your faucet as long as you are inside vary of each and every of the corners.

Now, all of that sounds swell, however here is the bizarre factor: The Nest Audio seems to be incomplete by itself. I discussed this in my hands-on, too, however its compact measurement and small footprint nearly begs for any other one to be positioned along it. 

Don't worry, the mute button is still there on the back of the speaker.

Do not be concerned, the mute button continues to be there at the again of the speaker.

Symbol: brenda stolyar / mashable

And I am not loopy for feeling that manner as a result of Google did say that you will want to use it in pairs for the most productive enjoy. However that is principally as it has a pairing function which lets you attach two Nest Audios for stereo sound. 

That does not imply you will have to purchase two at the spot, despite the fact that. Except you do plan on pairing the 2, I will be able to verify that once spending per week with the speaker, my want to pair it’s slowly subsiding. I am not totally there but, however I am getting extra happy with letting it stand by itself.

No matter you do, despite the fact that, simply be sure to do not position this speaker to your rest room or outside. Since it isn’t water-resistant, it is best to comprise it to rooms the place it would possibly not be uncovered to over the top moisture.

Controlling your good house stays the similar, most commonly

For the ones unfamiliar with the Google Nest lineup, the entire good audio system hook up with the Google House app. It maps out your entire hooked up units right through the home, permitting you not to best stay monitor of them all however to additionally keep an eye on each and every one if you are too a ways away. 

So far as good house controls pass, the Nest Audio comes with the usual features: You’ll ask the Google Assistant questions and cause instructions like “Whats up Google, flip the quantity as much as a 5,” or “Whats up Google, set a timer,” hyperlink third-party electronics that include Assistant integration, and circulate track or podcasts.

Google Assistant is quite speedy when responding.

Google Assistant is reasonably rapid when responding.

Symbol: brenda stolyar / mashable

Google claims the Assistant now responds two times as rapid in comparison to its efficiency on Google House, because the Nest Audio packs a gadget studying chip within. Whilst I shouldn’t have the unique to check, I did in finding the Nest Audio was once fast to answer my voice. It did not have bother figuring out my instructions both — whether or not I used to be asking for songs, asking questions in regards to the climate, or beginning my bedtime regimen. In truth, there was once infrequently a time I needed to repeat myself, be expecting for once I needed to discuss up somewhat louder from a close-by room. 

In case you have a couple of Nest good speaker (any type from the lineup), you’ll be able to additionally use options like circulate switch, speaker teams, stereo pairing, and multi-room audio keep an eye on — all of which may also be arrange in the course of the Google House app.

With circulate switch, you’ll be able to temporarily transfer no matter you are lately paying attention to from one Nest speaker to any other the usage of both a voice command or the app. Now not best is it my favourite function of the bunch, however it is the one I used maximum ceaselessly. It additionally is sensible to make use of in case you have two audio system at house. Since I generally tend to transport from room to room so much right through the day, it allowed me to simply transfer no matter I used to be paying attention to from my Nest Audio to the Nest Mini, and vice versa.

Each and every time I left my Nest Audio in my room and moved to the kitchen which homes the Nest Mini, I might say “Whats up Google, transfer to the kitchen speaker,” and it might robotically proceed taking part in my podcast within the subsequent room. From time to time, if I forgot to request the speaker transfer earlier than leaving the room, I would just faucet at the “Play track” choice within the app and it might switch the content material to that exact speaker.

In the meantime, a function like multi-room keep an eye on is much more helpful in case you have a wise speaker in nearly each room of the home. You’ll use it to keep an eye on the quantity of each and every one proper out of your telephone with no need to manually pass into each and every room to both build up or lower it. However it is also an ability that makes much more sense to keep an eye on at the Nest Good Show, which provides an more straightforward interface for each and every software.

The similar common sense applies to speaker teams, which lets you workforce particular audio system in combination to be able to play audio concurrently on they all right through your area. 

However if you are seeking to magnify the sound in a single room, then you are the usage of stereo pairing. I imply, positive, you’ll be able to workforce a Nest Audio and a Nest Mini with the stereo workforce function and position them subsequent to one another, however it’ll sound unbalanced. 

Easily control the Nest with a few simple taps on the corners and in the middle

Simply keep an eye on the Nest with a couple of easy faucets at the corners and within the heart

Symbol: brenda stolyar / mashable

With stereo pairing, you’ll be able to best pair two of the similar audio system in combination. So, on this case, you would have to shop for two Nest Audio units for fuller stereo sound. That still way you’ll be able to keep an eye on them concurrently as smartly thru voice instructions and for your telephone. Preferably, this might paintings highest in no matter room you have got devoted to house leisure.

You will not be bragging in regards to the audio high quality

I am not an audiophile, however having used the Google House religiously for 3 years, I right away spotted that the Nest Audio’s sound is clearer and not more muffled by means of comparability.

Google House includes a 50mm complete vary motive force at the entrance. Since its process is to breed the frequencies of content material you are paying attention to, it makes use of passive radiators to provide you with higher ranges of bass. However that still leads to a muffled sound that is not as crisp because the Nest Audio.  

With the Nest Audio, Google has got rid of passive radiators from the equation. Because the Nest Audio has a 75mm woofer for bass, it has the facility to get right of entry to all of the frequency vary and supply extra intensity of sound with out the will for passive radiators. So when audio comes thru, all you pay attention is natural bass from the woofer which leads to extra exact sound.

Goodbye forever, passive radiators

Good-bye eternally, passive radiators

Symbol: brenda stolyar / mashable

However whilst the fewer muffled sound was once sufficient for me, it isn’t sufficient to place this speaker’s general audio high quality on par with different higher-end good audio system. 

Mashable’s Australian editor, Caitlin Welsh, additionally examined the Nest Audio out with the assistance of her spouse who’s a legitimate engineer. After I requested for  her spouse’s comments, she stated he discovered the sound to be “beautiful flat and dead.” He additionally famous that the Nest Audio’s “high-end is totally undefined, the mids are cluttered, [and] the low-end has slightly of a ‘whump’ … [that] does not actually serve the track past making it extra provide.”

So, if you are in search of a speaker that is able to generating a deeper and richer sound, you may need to take a look at manufacturers like Sonos or Bose which can be extra well known for sound high quality than options. However if you wish to keep inside the Google House ecosystem, then the Google House Max is any other viable choice. After all, at $400, it is a lot more pricey than the Nest Audio, however you are necessarily making an investment in each high quality and contours.

Talking of options, the Nest Audio comprises the similar Media EQ function Google first presented with the House Max. This measures the acoustics of the gap the good speaker is positioned inside after which adjusts the audio accordingly. However you additionally be capable to manually modify treble and bass by means of the Nest Audio’s settings. So, that may lend a hand the ones of you who’re extra specific about effective tuning your sound to get it good.

It additionally comes with Ambient IQ which adjusts the quantity of the content material you are paying attention to relying at the background noise within the room. So, necessarily, the nearer you progress the Nest Audio to “the supply” of noise, the louder it is going to get. On the other hand, Google says the function is best lively for specific content material — e.g., if you are paying attention to Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts, or Google New (Google hopes so as to add Spotify compatibility someday). Nevertheless it does paintings with any background noise like a fan, hairdryer, electrical toothbrush, electrical razor, vacuum, or operating water. 

I examined Ambient IQ out with my hairdryer grew to become on whilst paying attention to a podcast at 50 p.c quantity and will verify the quantity did get louder. Nevertheless it was once nonetheless tricky to listen to obviously. It wasn’t till I grew to become the hairdryer off, larger the quantity to 70 p.c, after which grew to become the hairdryer again on that Ambient IQ kicked in loudly sufficient for me to listen to the podcast very easily.

If you're an audiophile, you might want to skip this one.

In case you are an audiophile, you may need to skip this one.

Symbol: brenda stolyar / mashable

The function additionally labored smartly with Google Assistant — form of. When I stated “Whats up Google, what is the climate?” the Assistant’s voice was once unquestionably loud sufficient for me to listen to the forecast. That stated, I did need to get as on the subject of the speaker as imaginable for it to “pay attention me” over the hairdryer and podcast audio.

Ambient IQ is unquestionably a nice-to-have function, however it does take some persistence to grasp its quirks. And whilst I really like my podcasts, it might be pleasant if the function additionally labored with track someday, in addition to extra third-party apps. 

A easy however vital improve

After spending per week with the Nest Audio, I nonetheless really feel the similar manner I did once I’d best used it for 24 hours: It is for Assistant loyalists. 

For anyone like me, who has been the usage of the Google House for years now, Google has made all of the proper enhancements: It seems to be nicer, sounds higher, and is extra inexpensive. However once more, if high-end sound is what you are after, then you are taking a look at audio system from the likes of Sonos, Bose, or Marshall.  

The ones of you taking a look to improve from the unique Google House actually can not pass fallacious with the Nest Audio. At $99, it is extra cost effectively priced than the $129 you most likely spent at the House years in the past. Additionally it is a very good way to imagine if you are in search of a easy good speaker hub to attach and keep an eye on your entire good house units. 

From its simple setup procedure to its compatibility with quite a lot of third-party good units, my general enjoy with Nest Audio has been seamless. And, seeing as how I am not the pickiest with sound high quality, the development in sound readability is greater than sufficient for my ears.

However that is not to mention Google is excused for ready such a lot of years to improve its primary good speaker. Except the engineering beneath the hood, those upgrades don’t seem to be all that complicated and had been lengthy past due. 

Sure, I’m very content material with Nest Audio and can be for some time, however I actually hope we shouldn’t have to attend any other 4 years for its successor.

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