Google House Max’s days are numbered

Google’s first Assistant speaker, Google Property, turns four this 12 months. The corporation says that gadget was made mainly as a indicates to access the Google Assistant, and tunes playback was secondary. But the de facto second era, the new Nest Audio, was purpose-crafted as a media unit — and boy, does it at any time present.

Layout, hardware, what is actually in the box

The initial Google Home experienced an legendary (if funky) layout that variety of looked like an air freshener. The Nest Audio trades that eccentric character for a much more discreet glimpse, and even though which is possibly heading to disappoint some, I like the path. The Nest Audio is kind of a featureless, rounded rectangle, coated in the exact “acoustically transparent” recycled material used on the Nest Mini. Shaped and textured the way it is, it reminds me of a throw pillow, and it blends easily into dwelling decor. You can get it in five colours: Chalk (light grey, viewed here), Charcoal (dark gray), Sage (inexperienced), Sand (form of an earthy pink), or Sky (blue). Chalk and Charcoal are both equally really lower-crucial and quick to cover the other three stand out more.

With its new material-coated style, the Nest Audio additional closely resembles the Nest Mini and Google Property Max than the initial Google House. There is practically nothing on the entrance side of the speaker — it is just an expanse of cloth. The prime edge properties capacitive contact controls: tapping the still left or ideal corner will alter the quantity down or up, and tapping the middle will play or pause. There’s no way to activate the Assistant by contact, presumably simply because of the usually-listening fiasco from the Google Household Mini’s launch. The Nest Audio’s bottom is house to a bodily microphone mute swap and a barrel plug port for the bundled 30-watt power brick — but no auxiliary jack, regrettably.

When it can be only about an inch taller and wider than the Google House, the Nest Audio weighs far more than 2 times as a lot: two lbs . and 9 ounces to the Home’s one particular pound and adjust. The boost in excess weight is since there is so a great deal additional things packed into the speaker’s housing. It really is bought a 75-millimeter woofer and a 19-millimeter tweeter, while the very first Property only had just one 50-millimeter “full-array” driver.

Audio good quality

These improved motorists coupled with a bounce from 300 to 520 cubic centimeters of back quantity (the hollow area behind the motorists) imply the Nest Audio can muster a entire good deal more oomph than the Google House could. Google claims it can make 75 p.c additional quantity and 50 percent far more bass, and even though I have no indicates of scientifically screening all those promises, they guaranteed appear to hold h2o. This thing gets incredibly, neighbor-botheringly loud, and the low-conclusion frequency reaction feels extremely robust in comparison to the Google Home.

It just appears greater than you’d hope for its measurement.

The term that arrived to mind as I listened to the Nest Audio was significant. It just sounds larger than you’d anticipate for its dimension. That’s not only since it is louder and the bass is more robust, but also since it will not have the compressed, marginally muffled flavor Google House experienced. (Google suggests that muffled seem was because the Home’s two passive radiators — primarily inner vents that let sound leak out the sides in addition to the way the driver confronted — caused reduced frequencies to reverberate for extended. The Nest Audio has no passive radiators.) The Nest Audio also works by using new Google-made software program to limit compression and enhance the audio further.

Across genres, I was persistently amazed by how effectively-represented highs, lows, and mids are. Bass truly thumps in ’90s R&B and jangly indie rock guitars are very clear as a bell. Dynamic variety is wild for a speaker this dimension, way too. Even in hectic arrangements, little specifics occur by way of: I was taken aback to pick out guitar sections in my beloved steel album that are all but inaudible when listening on Google Dwelling.

I had two 1st-generation Google Dwelling speakers in two individual rooms when my Nest Audio assessment device arrived. I figured I would make them a stereo pair in my place of work, wherever I hear to music additional often, and stick the Nest in the bed room. Following testing the Nest Audio, nevertheless, I’ve resolved to swap that set up. It can be that good.

Need to you invest in it?

Challenging indeed. At $99, the Nest Audio is a deal, primarily when you try to remember that the Google Property released at $129 back in 2016. It does all the things you have occur to be expecting of the Google Assistant just as nicely as Google Residence — improved, even, thanks to improved on-product processing that speeds up selected instructions like new music controls. It also seems great for its measurement, and it truly is capable to hear hotwords startlingly properly, even with the volume maxed. I am probably heading to obtain a next 1 to make a stereo pair.

That stereo pair will be only wireless, nevertheless, for the reason that Google did not contain wired enter in the Nest Audio. That’s a serious disgrace, for the reason that two of these would be fantastic hooked up to a turntable. If you want to make a wired stereo with Google speakers, you can expect to have to shell out for two Google Household Maxes — which will operate you $598 at retail. Not only is that super high priced, it truly is also overkill for most rooms, especially smaller sized types. By distinction, you can get a two-pack of Nest Audios for a compact lower price: $179.

It is pretty tough to come across fault with the Nest Audio.

But unless you actually need to hardwire your speaker to an audio source, it can be very challenging to find fault with the Nest Audio. It is damn around the perfect sensible speaker, and a wise up grade for any one using the authentic Home.

(Do not definitely throw your outdated speakers away, while — donate or recycle them, you should.)

Purchase it if:

  • You’ve got had your Google Residence(s) a although and want to update.
  • You happen to be searching to begin a complete-house sensible audio setup. The Nest Audio is a terrific location to start out.

Will not purchase it if:

  • You want a speaker with auxiliary input.
  • You presently have Google Dwelling Maxes in each area of the residence.

Wherever to purchase:

A person month later

In the months considering that I initially reviewed the Nest Audio, I have ongoing applying it on a day-to-day basis. In simple fact, I obtained a second a single so I could use two as a pair.

Individually, Google’s greater Home Max speaker obviously beats the Nest Audio on audio, when it will come to both high-quality and quantity (the latter in certain dwelling in an apartment, I very not often have occasion to change my Property Max up substantially past 50 percent blast). But two Nest Audios doing the job as a pair — properly, a single Google Residence Max beats that setup, far too, but not by sufficient that I would endorse most people invest in 1 $299 Max around a pair of Nest Audio speakers for $178 (Google provides you a discount when you order them as a set).

A single Home Max has two 114-millimeter woofers and two 18-millimeter tweeters, compared to the Nest Audio’s one 75-millimeter woofer and 19-millimeter tweeter. So even with two Nest speakers doing work jointly, you’re not going to get nearly as a lot quantity or bass as you do out of the Max. Even now, the top quality is there, and except if you want to rattle the plates in your cabinets or fill a banquet corridor with sound, a stereo pair of Nest Audios should really fulfill all but the pickiest listeners, especially thinking about how a lot dollars you might be conserving as opposed to shopping for a Household Max at retail. You can find also the benefit of staying in a position to put the two far plenty of aside to produce appreciable stereo separation the House Max does technically have stereo seem, but with the motorists so close with each other, it’s really hard to inform that unless of course you might be ideal up against it.

On paper, the $229 Nest Hub Max ought to be a really near match to the Nest Audio. It is really acquired the very same dimension woofer and two tweeters that are really a little more substantial. But people drivers are rear-struggling with, and to my ear, the Nest Audio has clearer, louder sound. The Hub Max is also a good display screen and expenses much more than 2 times as a lot as the Nest Audio, so it can be tough to consider several folks are striving to make a decision concerning the two.

Here is a breakdown of every single device’s specs, which include the first Google Home for excellent evaluate:

A person sore place did expose itself by continued use: I was unhappy to obtain that a pair of Nest Audio speakers has ridiculous audio-video clip lag when actively playing audio more than Bluetooth. We are conversing audio in excess of a whole next powering accompanying visuals. That's a disgrace, simply because I was actually hoping to use them as computer system speakers, and considering the fact that they lack 3.5-millimeter jacks, Bluetooth would be the only way to do that. Nonetheless, that's an edge situation complaint.

I continue to be resoundingly happy with the Nest Audio on the total it sounds fantastic by by itself and even far better in stereo. It may not be equipped to greatest the Google House Max, but it really is actually not supposed to — it really is 1-third the selling price. And for $99, I even now consider it truly is a fantastic price that would make the Household Max a questionable proposition for most purchasers. If you want to use your clever speaker for everything other than the Google Assistant, the Nest Audio is a improved purchase than the Nest Mini, and a worthwhile upgrade from the to start with-gen Google House.