A lot has happened since the emergence of the first Google Home. Google itself announced some interesting devices that did not appear on national soil, other companies started to bet on the segment, even those specialized in audio. In Brazil, Amazon, with its broad line of Echo, has been winning over the local audience for a long time. However, Google has returned to playing here – now with Google Nest Audio.
The device arrives on the market with a more contemporary, bold design and powerful sound. Google Assistant is more agile and can be a great partner for your routine and your connected home. But does it make sense to pay the R $ 849 that the brand charges? Is the sound better than that of competitor 4th generation Amazon Echo? I count my impressions in this review.
Google Nest Audio video review
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Nest Audio was provided by Google on an indefinite loan. For more information, visit tecnoblog.net/etica.
Design and controls
It is difficult to understand where Google sought inspiration to design its newest smart speaker. In my view, the company has chosen a bold path, which contrasts with its main rival and can divide opinions. But, in the end, it worked very well. The design in the shape of a giant soap is pleasant and even discreet in various environments of your home, especially in the middle of plants.
It weighs about a kilogram, is 17.5 inches tall and 12.6 inches wide. The traditional fabric of smart speakers covers almost the entire box. Google explains that the entire structure of Nest Audio (fabric, protective case and other smaller components) is made with 70% recycled plastic, which is very interesting. However, I must say that I was disappointed with the company’s decision to bring only the black and white versions to Brazil, eliminating the sand, green and blue options, which are even more beautiful.
Like the Google Nest Mini, manual controls are made from sensors hidden in the box. At the top, there are three control zones that are sensitive to touch: a tap on the left side decreases the volume; a touch in the center allows you to pause and play songs and podcasts; playing on the right side, you increase the volume. They work well, but it can happen that you get confused when you’re not looking at the device – it happened a few times with me.
Nest Audio’s only physical button is on the rear of the electronics and can be used to activate and deactivate the three microphones. Despite the opposite position, I had no difficulty handling it. Back there are the nice Google “G” and the charging port – the 30-watt power supply comes in the product box.
Google kept the four LEDs that light up when you activate the personal assistant, using the commands “Ok Google” or “Hey Google”, an interaction that takes us to the next topic of analysis.
Google Assistant and commands
Google Assistant is the brain of Nest Audio. It is worth pointing out that artificial intelligence has been in Brazil for a longer time, many people already have access to it on Android devices and, of course, the company knows a lot about its life through other Google products. All of this helps to create a more personalized and efficient experience.
This integration starts in Google Home, an application that I really like for having a cleaner and more friendly layout. After setting up with your Google account, Nest Audio is ready to play music, ask questions and help with your routine. I was able to control a smart lamp from Wiz, a smart socket from Multilaser, turn the TV on and off with Google Chromecast without any problem. But not everything is perfect: it was a struggle to ask to play a song or playlist on Spotify; she always put something else that had nothing to do with what I wanted.
Still, aside from this problem with Spotify, I must point out that Google’s technology is more comprehensive than Alexa. Note that the two services often use Wikipedia as a research source, but the Assistant is able to provide more accurate answers when I ask a question. The Google Assistant knows my name and quotes me in a few sentences, it gives me a feeling of closeness and takes away the impression that you are talking to a robot; Alexa still doesn’t know my name, even though I have access to my personal data.
Sound quality and microphones
Sound is a point on which Google focused a lot. The company explains that it counted on the help of audio specialists and invested more than 500 hours in order to offer a balanced sound quality. Unlike Google Nest Mini, Nest Audio has a very good sound stage: it is loud, clear and that means that you will be able to listen to music, podcasts and news in large environments, such as a living room and a large kitchen with an island . The smart speaker has a 19 mm tweeter and a 75 mm woofer, which gives that bass boost that I really like.
Even away from the box, I could still feel the pulsating bass in electronics, pop and hip hop – listening Up, by Cardi B, at Nest Audio is a delight for beat connoisseurs. The midfielders sound balanced, but I notice that Amazon Echo tends to embody more details in this frequency, expanding their presence, which I like the most. I also have nothing to complain about the Nest Audio treble: I heard Get Lucky, by Daft Punk, with excellent definition and without stridency at the highest volume. And to improve it, you can even pair two devices for a stereo sound experience.
Microphones have a great response as long as there is no other loud noise in the room. With noise, you will have to raise your voice. There is a sensitivity feature in the application that can solve this, but it was not available for Portuguese while I was producing this review. Without the inference, she recognized my “Ok Google” and “Hey Google” commands even though she was speaking softly.
Google Nest Audio: is it worth it?
I confess that I am still divided between Amazon Echo and Google Nest Audio. Both devices have admirable sound, complete smart home features and personal assistants that are not perfect but work well. Google’s technology, however, knows its user better than Alexa. Google Assistant knows my name; shares my agenda for the day as soon as I wake up; put a sound for me to sleep when I say “good night”; and it gives me precise answers.
Of course, the price of R $ 849 is scary, even more considering that it was launched for US $ 99 in the United States. In Brazil, I foresee divided consumers and even betting on the competitor that is 13% cheaper. Despite this, whoever chooses Nest Audio, will not regret the choice. It represents an excellent upgrade for anyone who has the Nest Mini now and is looking for something more powerful.
My main criticism goes to the integration with Spotify, which made me lose my patience at times, mainly via voice command. In sound, for some details, the competitor can deliver a better experience, but you have access to the equalizer in the Google Home app to solve this. Google Nest Audio has many hits, more hits than mistakes and has everything to please you who are looking for an efficient smart speaker with powerful sound.
- Connections / connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11b / g / n / ac (2.4 GHz / 5 GHz), Bluetooth 5.0, integrated Chromecast, DC power port;
- Speaker: 75 mm woofer and 19 mm tweeter;
- Microphones: three from a distant field;
- Processor: 1.8 GHz A53 quad-core;
- Technology: Google Assistant integrated and Voice Match;
- Sensors: capacitive touch controls and three far-field microphones;
- Compatibility (Google Home): Android smartphone with Android 6.0 or higher, and iPhone or iPad with iOS 12.0 or higher;
- Dimensions: 175 mm (H) x 124 mm (W) x 78 mm (D) / Power cable: 1.5 m;
- Weight: 1.2 kg;
- Colors (Brazil): chalk (white) charcoal (black).