- Value 20/20
- Functionality 19/20
- Ease of Use 19/20
- Aesthetics 17/20
- Sound Quality 20/20
- Total: 95/100
I’m sorry to my neighbors in advance for the new addition to my home.
The second I plugged in the Google Nest Audio speaker and the three dots lit up on the device, I knew it was going to be an essential part of my daily routine. Now, I’ll admit I might be a bit bias when it comes to Google devices. Before the Nest, I already had two Home Minis in my home. I relied on them to set alarms, play music and answer my inane questions like, "How old is Timothée Chalamet and why am I not dating him?." But the second I got my hands on the Nest, I knew this was a huge upgrade.
Let’s Talk Aesthetics
The first thing I noticed was the size. It was much larger than my other smart devices. The speaker is taller (by about two inches), sleeker and sturdier (thanks to its heftier weight). The Nest is also heavier (around two pounds more)—which is nice since it makes it sturdier. Plus, it didn't take up a lot of room (though it very much sticks out like a sore thumb, so decor aficionados beware). The color is an inoffensive, modern neutral, with the collection coming in five different shades such as charcoal, chalk, sand, sage and sky.
OK, but how is it better than other models?
Now, the Nest pretty much has the same features as the other devices in the Google family. However, what sets it apart is the built-in speaker which runs 360 degrees around the device, which makes the sound quality that much better. The second I said, "Hey Google" followed by a command, I was taken back by the sound (and it wasn't even on the highest volume). Whether I turn the volume up to 3 or 10, the device's voice is loud and clear. The Google assistant answers any commands quickly and efficiently without the long pauses that sometimes plague my Mini.
But aside from the commands, playing music just turned any social function into a full-fledged party and I just got access to the VIP section at the club. The speaker reminds me of one of those fancy-schmancy surround sound systems (and it has the two speakers compared to the one speaker in the Mini to thank). On the highest volume, I can hear it from any part of my apartment and I'm pretty sure the entire floor can hear it too (so sorry in advance for blasting Ariana Grande's latest album...again). I highly recommend placing it in the living room or any common area to get the full experience (since you just became the DJ for the virtual office holiday shindig).
If we break it down and stick to the technical side of the sound quality, the Nest is 75 percent louder and has a 50 percent stronger bass than the older models, according to the brand. I tested that theory and found that the Minis are definitely more suitable for smaller spaces so don't rely on them to get the party started.
Sound quality? Check. What else can it do?
The sound quality was a huge factor for me, but you can't go wrong with a smart assistant. Like I mentioned before, I relied on my Minis for everything and I can say the same to the Nest. If anything, it can do things quicker. From asking it the weather to playing rain noises to help me fall asleep, the possibilities are limitless. I can even use it to turn my place into a smart home and have it turn off my lights, turn on the TV or raise the temperature. Also for the parents out there, the speaker can even read your kiddo a bedtime story. It has become the little helper I didn't know I needed and can definitely see it taking over the responsibilities of my two Minis.
Aesthetics and comparisons aside, the set up took less than ten minutes. All I needed to do was plug in the device, download the Google Home app to my phone, set it up with WiFi and violà. My Google assistant came to life ready to do and/or answer just about anything. I don't know about you, but I think I might invest in another one for the holidays. (I hear two Nests are better than one for the ultimate stereo sound.)