About the Nest Audio smart speaker
We’re still getting to know the Nest Audio, but here are some important specs to note:
- Price: $99.99
- Colors: Chalk, Charcoal, Sage, Sand, Sky
- Connectivity: Bluetooth, WiFi
- Smart assistant support: Google Assistant
- Weight: 2.65 lbs
- Dimensions: 6.9″ H x 4.9″ W x 3.1” D
The speaker keeps the same fabric-wrapped look of previous Google speakers like the Nest Mini, but it takes on a more unique oval-shape and it’s taller than many other smart speakers on the market. It doesn’t come with any USB-C or auxiliary input ports, but unlike the Sonos One, it supports both WiFi and Bluetooth connection. As you’d expect in a modern smart speaker, the Nest can be paired with other Nest speakers for multi-room audio.
Other notable design touches include the three touch controls on the top of the speaker that can be used to play/pause audio, and control volume. There’s also a microphone mute switch on the back of the speaker to help protect your privacy.
Rich, room-filling sound that will make you want to dance
I’m no audiophile but this bad boy puts out some seriously impressive sound that is literally music to my ears. Most speakers sound generally the same to me, your average listener, (and yes, I own speakers from top brands like Sonos and Bose), but in the short time I’ve spent with the Nest Audio, it really kicks things up a notch.
Complete with a 19mm tweeter for high frequency coverage and clear vocals and a 75mm mid-woofer to get that sweet bass-thump, the Nest Audio has no problem filling a room with ear-pleasing audio, which I’ve already become taken with after a few days.
So far, my favorite feature is the new Stereo Pairing option, allowing you to sync two Nest Audio speakers in the same room in stereo. Borrowed from Sonos, I found this to be a lot like wearing a pair of headphones—not muffled or tinny, but a full-on rich and immersive audio experience. I didn’t think it was possible for my favorite music to sound even better, but the Nest Audio is really giving my Sonos setup a run for its money. Only time will tell how well the sound holds up, but color me impressed thus far.
One thing I don’t love is the lack of integration between Google smart speakers and Apple Music. It’s a popular streaming service, and also my primary music platform of choice, so it’s unfortunate that Google and Apple can’t work together there. Luckily, there’s a fix in that Apple Music can be streamed over Bluetooth. Other popular music streaming services like YouTube Music, Spotify, Pandora, and SiriusXM are available on the Nest Audio.
The new design dazzles
It’s safe to say that smart speakers are getting a serious makeover this year. Recently, we saw Amazon announce a slew of new crystal ball-shaped Echo speakers, abandoning the brand’s past designs. And, as you can tell by the pictures, Google’s inaugural Nest Audio speaker takes on a different look than the brand’s other smart speakers, featuring a slender, more cylindrical design.
If I’m being totally honest, it wasn’t love at first sight for me. But once I got the speaker set up I came to appreciate the new slim shape, which fits just right on my office bookshelf.
Freaky fast Google Assistant
The whole point of smart home is convenience, right? We rely on tech to turn off our lights and turn on the TV so we don’t have to do it. In a world with instantaneous expectations, speed is arguably the most important thing a smart speaker can offer and that’s exactly what I’ve found so far when testing out the Nest Audio.
Google claims Google Assistant, the voice who lives inside of the speaker, is two times faster than what’s offered on the brand’s original smart speaker, Google Home. The Nest Audio uses the same machine learning chip as the Nest Mini, which is just a fancy way of saying it won’t waste any time completing your request, all of which I found to be accurate during my short time with the speaker.
Ambient IQ, which boosts Google Assistant over background noises, is another new feature to Nest Audio. While I haven’t been able to get the full experience yet, Google’s done a decent job at responding to me when I have the music cranked up. (The real test will be how well it can hear me over my two kids screaming while Disney+ is blaring on the living room TV.)
Should you buy it?
While we haven’t tested the speaker for enough time to make a final verdict, so far, we’ve got nothing but nice things to say. The speaker’s sound is superb, Google Assistant responds quickly, and we love the new Stereo Pairing feature. We’ll be spending more time with Google’s latest smart speaker for a comprehensive evaluation and will update this article with our final verdict soon.
Meet the tester
Rachel Murphy covers smart home for Reviewed. She holds a journalism degree from the University of Central Florida. Previously, she worked as a freelance writer for several major outlets and as an associate editorial producer for ABC News’ Good Morning America.
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