Google Nest Audio: Reviews, User Experience, Compatibility, Competition and Verdict

While the Google Nest Audio improves upon its predecessor, it faces strong competition

Google Nest Audio

OUR VERDICT

Google promises big issues in terms of the sound quality of the successor to the unique Google Home smart speaker, however whereas it’s an enchantment, it doesn’t ship the jump in performance we have been hoping for. Nonetheless, it does work very nicely as a smart speaker, due to the great microphones and clear voice output, and it’s definitely adequate for listening to background music.

FOR

  • Subtle and unassuming design
  • Picks up voice commands very well
  • Better sound than its predecessor

AGAINST

  • Missing detail in the mids and trebles
  • Can sound harsh at higher volumes

Two-minute review

The Nest Audio is the successor to Google’s first smart speaker, Google Home, and quite a bit has occurred in the smart speaker world within the 4 years since that product launched.

In that point, we’ve seen several the different speakers and smart shows from Google, a reputation change designed to combine these merchandise with the Nest branding, and – arguably most significantly – a slew of smart audio systems from other brands that includes Google Assistant integration.

This means Google isn’t simply releasing a new product that has to enhance on the outdated model and match into its current lineup of merchandise – the Nest Audio additionally has to compete will an entire host of comparable merchandise from manufacturers like Harman Kardon, Sonos, LG, JBL and plenty of extra – and these are brands who know what they’re doing in terms of house audio.

That is probably one of many reasons why audio high quality appears to be a giant focus for Google with this product – a lot in order that it’s included ‘Audio’ within the new speaker’s name. That is why it is all of the extra disappointing that the sound quality would not actually live as much as our expectations.

It sounds just superb with uncomplicated pop music, but other genres reveal an absence of element within the treble and mids that make tracks lack sparkle and sound muffled.

On the plus facet, the Google Nest Audio functions very nicely as a smart speaker – the assistant voice comes out loud and clear, and it picks up instructions very nicely. It additionally has some helpful features like Google Duo voice calling, which can assist you communicate with household.

As a smart speaker, and as an extra Wi-Fi-connected speaker for the kitchen or one other smaller room, the Google Nest Audio can do a fairly good job. Nonetheless, if sound high quality is vital to you, it is value retaining in thoughts that you do not have to spend very way more to get a speaker that may reward you with a superior listening experience.

Google Nest Audio price and release date

GOOGLE NEST AUDIO SPECS:

Connectivity: 802.11b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz/5 GHz) Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0

Speakers: 75mm woofer, 19mm tweeter

Processor: Quad-Core A53 1.8 GHz

Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.9 x 3.1 inches (175 x 124 x 78 mm)

Weight: 2.6 pounds

The Google Nest Audio is available for pre-order now through the Google Store and a variety of different retailers, and the discharge date is set for October 5 (October 15 in the UK).

It will set you back $99 / £89 / AU$149, and it’s available in two colors in Europe (Chalk and Charcoal), whereas US buyers will get to select from three additional variants (Sage, Sand and Sky).

If you want to reap the benefits of the Nest Audio’s multi-room audio smarts or stereo sound characteristic, Google is presently providing reductions if you purchase packages, together with the Home Entertainment package (two Nest Audio speakers, a Nest Hub Max , and a Chromecast with Google TV) , the Audio Wherever package deal (two Google Nest Mini speakers), and the Room-filling Audio package deal (two Nest Audio speakers).

The price is barely decreased than the unique launch value of the Google Home, however increased than the present value of that speaker (in the event you can nonetheless discover one on the market). It’s also value noting that you would be able to get the Google Nest Hub for around the identical value, and if sound high quality is not your highest priority the Google Nest Mini is on the market for lots much less.

If, however, sound high quality is an important factor to you, it may be value paying a bit extra for one thing like a Sonos One or even Google’s own Home Max.

Google Nest Audio

Design

  • 70% recycled materials
  • Simple and subtle design
  • Good touch controls

Not like last year’s Nest Mini, which kept the design of the Home Mini that it replaced, Google has gone with an entirely new design for the successor to Google Home.

This time the whole unit is roofed in a material grille, retaining according to the remainder of Google’s smart audio system. This straightforward design – versus the air freshener-esque Google Home – works nicely for the smaller Google speaker, nevertheless, it makes this bigger speaker appear to be one thing of a featureless blob on your table when it’s not in use. One the other hand it is vitally discreet, so ought to mix in nicely with most decor.

It’s additionally worth noting that the brand new Nest Audio is manufactured from 70%t recycled supplies, and every unit will, in keeping with Google preserve, 1.2 500ml plastic bottles out of landfills, which is clearly a good factor.

Regardless that nothing in regards to the design suggests it, there are literally three distinct contact surfaces on the highest of the speaker, and from left to proper these allow you to decrease the amount, cease and begin playback, and switch the amount up.

The one bodily management on the speaker is the swap on the again that allows you to mute the microphone, to ensure that your Nest Audio isn’t listening to you when you don’t need it to.

Other than that there are the 4 signature LEDs on the front that gentle up if you work together with Google Assistant, and that’s about it.

Google Nest Audio

Audio performance

  • Improved bass response
  • Missing details in mids and treble
  • Picks up voice commands very well

As talked about, audio quality appears to be a significant focus for Google with the Nest Audio. In line with Google, its new speaker is 75% louder, and has 50% extra bass, than the Google Home. Which may be true, however, we still can’t say it presents the improve in sound high quality we have been hoping for.

To be honest, the Nest Audio does sound fairly good when listening to uncomplicated pop music like Dagny’s Any individual or The Weeknd’s Blinding Lights. Such tracks are reproduced pretty nicely, and the bass is unquestionably current, offering a strong basis with out being overwhelming.

Nonetheless, it’s value noting {that a} fast comparability to the small and moveable JBL Flip 5 reveals that the latter can ship considerably decrease frequencies, and we will’t see why Google couldn’t have managed to carry extra backside finish out of its new speaker.

Extra intricate tunes show extra of a problem for the speaker, and the stunning factor is that it’s probably not the bass that disappoints – it’s extra that the treble is lacking a few of the sparkle we’d hope for, and it means the soundstage is a bit of muffled.

On a similar time the excessive mids are additionally lacking some element, and when listening to a traditional like Fleetwood Mac’s Rhiannon, the vocals aren’t fairly given the main focus they deserve, whereas a few of the area and element is drowned out by the booming decrease mids.

The lacking treble may be restored considerably by cranking up that setting within the Google Home App, however, there’s no adjustment for mids, so you possibly can’t do a lot in regards to the lack of element.

Turning up the amount additionally shifts the stability considerably in the direction of extra treble, however this additionally introduces one other problem, with the sound changing into harsh and grainy. We discovered this notably noticeable when listening to Björk’s Military of Me, with the vocals having a disagreeable ring to them that actually should not be there.

To be clear, the sound high quality total isn’t horrible, and the Nest Audio may give you an pleasurable listening expertise at reasonable quantity ranges – simply keep in mind that you don’t should pay very way more for a speaker that may ship way more bass, element, and sparkly treble with none harshness.

Nonetheless, as a smart speaker the Nest Audio works very well. The voice assistant comes out loud and clear, and maybe easily heard even if you’re not near the speaker. The three microphones additionally did a superb job of choosing up our voice, amid each loud music and different noise within the room.

Google Nest Audio

User expertise and features

  • Easy setup
  • Stereo pairing
  • Automatic EQ

Setup of your Google Nest Audio is done by way of the Google Home app, and the method of connecting to your Wi-Fi and configuring your Google Assistant settings is fast and easy. From there you’re prepared to begin giving instructions, asking questions and taking part in music, and in the event you’ve used a smart assistant earlier than this all works exactly as you’d anticipate.

By way of the Google Home App you possibly can assign the speaker to a selected room in your house (helpful if you’re eager on establishing a multi room audio system), arrange filters for content material, and lively night time mode. It’s additionally attainable to mix two Nest Audio items in a stereo pair – configurations with different Nest audio system are attainable, however, restricted to mono sound, although the power so as to add the Nest Audio to a multi-room setup is a cool contact.

Another feature that’s supported is the power to name the speaker out of your phone or vice versa by way of Google Duo. You should utilize this, for instance, to name and test on the children whilst you’re out, and so they can even get hold of you simply by simply asking the speaker to name you.

The Google Nest Audio has an automated EQ characteristic that tunes the speaker relying on the ambient sound, and adjusts the sound relying on one whether or not you are listening to music or speech in podcasts, though since this all occurs routinely and within the background it’s arduous to inform precisely what’s being adjusted, and the way. And – returning to our points with the sound high quality, it would not necessarily enhance the music listening expertise all that a lot, however voices do no less than sound clear and loud.

Should I buy the Google Nest Audio?

Buy it if …

You want an easy and compact smart speaker
The Nest Audio is a space-saving and unassuming smart speaker that will match wherever.

You want a smart speaker for the kitchen or the bedroom
The Nest Audio is sweet sufficient for the kitchen or a bedroom, nevertheless it would not ship sufficient quantity to fill an even bigger area.

You need a successful smart speaker
Whereas the sound high quality when listening to music is not one of the best, the Nest Audio works very nicely as a smart speaker with clear voice output and good microphones.

Don’t buy it if …

You’re picky about sound quality
The sound quality of the Nest Audio is perfectly sufficient for listening to pop music within the background, but if you’re choosy about having your favourite tunes reproduced faithfully you could be upset by the dearth of detail.

You need a sound that fills a big room
The Nest Audio just isn’t constructed to fill a giant area with music, and if you try to compensate by cracking up the volume tunes can rapidly begin to sound harsh.

You’re looking for interesting design
The Nest Audio doesn’t look bad by any means, but it’s unassuming appears means that anybody on the lookout, for one thing, a bit of extra placing will want to look elsewhere.

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