Google is hiding a little secret in its new speaker
Status: 1:42 p.m. | Reading time: 4 minutes
After four years, Google is replacing the smart speaker Google Home with the Nest Audio. The design is nicer, the sound sounds better. But the test reveals: In the fight against Amazon and Apple, buyers have a decisive disadvantage.
EIt took four years for Google to replace its Google Home speaker. That’s really long for a smart speaker. Amazon refreshes its echoes every year. So after four years you should be able to expect a lot from the new Google Nest Audio. The test showed that the manufacturer has made a big step in tone and design.
While the Google Home tapered slightly upwards and had a plastic surface in part, the Google Nest Audio is completely covered with fabric. This makes it look more modern and also slimmer. And it is largely made from recycled material. It is available in five different colors so that it fits into your living space.
The Google Assistant is still on board
The design is successful at first glance. There is only a slider on the back that turns off the three microphones on the speaker. Then four LEDs light up in orange on the front behind the fabric.
When the loudspeaker is playing music, the touch-sensitive controls on the top can be used to regulate the volume and stop or continue playing the music. If you tap on the left the sound becomes quieter, on the right it becomes louder.
This operating option is also explained when setting up the Google Home smartphone app. But you can’t see any of the controls on the speaker, as if they were supposed to remain a secret.
So if you are not familiar with the Google Nest Audio, you will not be able to control it via these elements. This is a pity. But of course there is still the option to control the Nest Audio by voice.
This is of course also the strength of the Google Nest Audio. The Google Assistant is built in and it is still the smartest voice assistant on the market.
But to use the voice assistant, a Nest Mini is sufficient, which at just under 58 euros is cheaper than the Google Nest Audio for just under 98 euros. The acquisition of the larger newcomer is only worthwhile for users who also want to listen to music on it.
Because the sound is significantly better than the small Nest Mini or the predecessor Google Home. A 75-millimeter woofer delivers better bass and a 19-millimeter tweeter a clear voice reproduction. The Nest Audio should be 75 percent louder and have a 50 percent stronger bass than the Google Home.
When it comes to audio, it is worth investing in more expensive equipment
According to Google, the Nest Audio automatically adapts to its environment. The Media EQ function then selects the right settings, depending on what is listening. A podcast sounds different to music, of course. The Google Home smartphone app also has an equalizer that can be used to make manual adjustments.
We haven’t seen much of the announced Ambient IQ. He is actually supposed to adjust the volume of the Google Assistant, messages and audiobooks if there is background noise in the area.
Overall, the audio quality is good for rooms that are not too big. But it does not come close to the competitors Sonos or Apple with its HomePod, which are, however, also significantly more expensive. If you want to hear in this quality on a Google device, you have to use the largest speaker, the Google Home Max.
If you have set up your Google speakers in several rooms, you can easily take the music with you wherever you go with the stream transfer feature. The music can then be played in another room by voice command. This is a popular function with Sonos users, among others. There it has to be triggered via the app.
Conclusion: Sufficient for many buyers
Google now has a small, medium and large model in its Nest speaker family. For many, the middle, i.e. the new Google Nest Audio, should be sufficient.
If you like a fuller sound, you can also couple two devices to form a stereo pair. Unfortunately, the Nest speakers won’t play Amazon Music or Apple Music. But Spotify, YouTube and Deezer can be set and used.