Holiday Loot Grab 2020 Special Code: GOOGLE NEST
“Google is your best friend.”
This is usually a phrase aimed at anyone who asks an annoying question that already has a known, searchable answer, but it takes on a whole new meaning with Google’s latest smart device. The Google Nest Audio may not be the first or newest smart speaker in the market but it’s definitely one of the most intelligent ones we’ve encountered.
The Google Nest Audio is actually an updated reiteration of the Google Home audio speaker that merges a speaker with Google’s smart assistant. Wrapped in a Charcoal fabric mesh, the speaker has a slim minimalistic design and a stable base that will fit in with most home decor. For those who prefer a lighter colour, the speaker also comes in Chalk.
The set up for the speaker is easy and similar to any Google networked device. Similar to controlling the Google Home, all you need to do is to download the Google Home app and let the prompts guide you through the rest of the setup. Once it connects to your Wi-Fi network, you can link it to any external services you might have, to play your tunes directly on this speaker. Following its trend of convenience for consumers, you can customise the audio from the speakers easily with your smartphone and set up for smart experiences with the Google ecosystem.
You won’t even need an Android device as the Home app is available on both Android and iOS systems. You will have to create a Google email or use a pre-existing one though. Afterwards, all you have to do is voice your instruction to the speaker and it will carry out the task. One example is asking Nest Audio to play a specific song on your Spotify from your smartphone.
Adding to it’s sleek design is the lack of multiple buttons – instead, there is only one slider button at the back to mute your speaker’s microphone. Google has cleverly integrated the controls for the volume into the top of the speaker itself. With a gentle tap on the top left or right corners, you can decrease or increase its volume.
Moreover, in order to play or pause your music, all you need to do is tap the top middle section of the Google Nest Audio. The speaker also doesn’t feature an “on and off” button, and relies on being paired with your phone, where you can control the speaker from.
For its smaller size (124 mm x175 mm x78 mm), the volume of the speaker can pack quite a punch. Unlike the Google Home which projects sound at 360, the Google Nest Audio is a directional speaker that projects sound only from the front. This allows for an improved sound quality overall. The speaker is able to project sound loud enough to fill a whole room without losing detail and even adapt to the environment that you are in. This means that when placed in the middle of a room full of rowdy voices, the speaker will automatically increase its volume.
Boasting a 75mm woofer, 19mm tweeter and tuning software, the device delivers crisp vocals and powerful bass, perfect for a range of music from acoustics to rock. The Nest Audio also has three microphones, up from the two that the Google Home had. The bass is pretty decent, although, as you raise the volume up, you will get less of it. The best volume output is at 80% to get the most balanced yet decently loud audio overall (this can be controlled via the Home app, we’ll discuss more on that later). You can even pair two Nest Audio devices together to create stereo sound.
Speaking of pairing devices, the Party Mode will help to sync up multiple Nest Audio devices in different rooms around the house. Like the Sonos system, this means, the same music being played on one speaker can be channeled throughout the entire house, allowing the whole family to party together.
With the Google Home App, you can adjust the equaliser for the speaker. We did find that making adjustments to the Treble produced more obvious results in terms of sound quality as compared to the changes in the Bass. Although, this may be dependent on the nature of the song too.
Beyond being a powerful speaker, the Google Nest Audio is a smart little creature. Via the built-in Google Assistant of the speaker, there are a few services you can connect to and control smart devices. These services and devices include Youtube, Spotify, Google Duo, Smart lighting and your smartphone. You can install an existing Google smart ecosystem or create a new one with your Nest Audio.
The new Ambient EQ feature will also help to adjust the Google assistant’s voice response based on the level of the background noise in the room. However, this also means having to raise your voice a little more to control the speaker when you have loud music played from it.
The Google Nest Audio has a connectivity of 802.11b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz / 5GHz) WiFi. It also connects to your other devices via either Bluetooth 5.0 or the built-in Chromecast. The speaker is powered through an external adaptor of 30 W and 24 V with a DC power jack.
Specs aside, you can even ask the speaker to “Google” things such as recipes. The best part? The device doesn’t deliver the information by droning on mindlessly about the contents of the webpage. Instead, it will analyse the contents and group it, going section by section and asking you things such as “Should I read out the Ingredients” and “Should I start with the preparation steps”, so that you can easily pace yourself as you cook and listen to the recipe.
The fully functional Google system even includes organisation apps such as weather and maps. more. If you have a Google calendar, you can check what your agenda is for the day, by asking the speaker “Hey Google, what’s on my calendar” and it’ll reply with all your planned appointments and events. You can even add events to your calendar by saying “Hey Google, add an event to my calendar”. The coolest part? This is all done hands-free and without even opening your smartphone app.
Worrying about privacy is also a big thing these days. And rumours about your smart devices listening in on your conversations seems more or a truth than fiction nowadays. Luckily, Google has taken these concerns into consideration and has created steps for increased privacy.
Firstly, the microphone which you use to communicate to your device can be muted via the two-stage mic mute switch at the back. Next, you can delete your search history on the Google Nest Audio by saying, “Hey Google, delete what I just said.” The device is extremely responsive and answers all queries immediately thanks to the three far-field microphones. It also understands most instructions within the realm of its functions.
And last but not least, for the more environmentally conscious, Google has made a huge effort to create the Google Nest Audio out of 70% recycled plastic. The most attractive part of the speaker is that for it’s low price point of S$139 and small form factor, you can get a very loud sound, making it perfect for parties or simply for everyday-use at home.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
The Google Nest Audio is a highly intelligent smart speaker that delivers a surprisingly loud performance for its smaller than usual form factor and low price point.
Aesthetic - 8/10
Build Quality - 8.5/10
Performance - 8/10
Value - 8.5/10
Geek Satisfaction - 8/10