It’s been almost four years since Google first introduced its Made by Google hardware initiative that began with the Google Home. It introduced the Google Assistant into our homes while also giving Amazon’s Echo devices a run for their money.

Fast forward to 2020, and the company is now on its 7th smart speaker with the new Nest Audio.

Design & Hardware

Nest Audio (Chalk)

The outside of the Nest Audio continues Google’s trend of covering the speaker in fabric. Like the Nest Mini last year, the new speaker uses fabric made from recycled plastic bottles, while the actual enclosure is made from 70% recycled plastic. The shape of the speaker is reminiscent of an upright Google Home Max.

Nest Audio (Chalk)

From the outside, you won’t be able to tell that the speaker is made from recycled materials. The speaker features 3 far-field microphones to help the Google Assistant hear you better.

Google Home Mini (Left) and Nest Audio (Right)

In terms of audio quality, the Nest Audio uses a 75mm woofer and a 19mm tweeter, which makes the device 75% louder and 50% deeper bass than the original Google Home.

Nest Audio (Left) and Google Home Max (Right)

Despite its small size, this thing can get really loud, almost as loud as the Nest Hub Max and Google Home Max. It can literally fill a room with sound and the speaker has a feature called Media EQ which automatically adapts your content based on background noise in the room it’s in.

Nest Audio (Sage)

Just like the Google Home Max, you can pair two Nest Audio speakers in a stereo pair for even better sound.

Nest Audio (Charcoal)

On the back of the speaker, you’ll find the mic mute switch and power jack. The front of the speaker has the LEDs that will light up when you talk to the Google Assistant.

The top of the speaker has 3 touch areas to volume up and down as well as play/pause or snoozing alarms. I found the touch areas to be slightly finicky but worked for the most part.

Like other Google Nest speakers, this one has the Google Assistant, Chromecast built-in as well as Bluetooth 5.0. There’s also support for 802.11 b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz/5 GHz Wi-Fi).

The Nest Audio is available now from the Google Store and Best Buy Canada for $129 CAD. Google is also selling a two-pack of the Nest Audio for $234.98 CAD, which makes each speaker down to around $117 CAD.

It comes in a few colours, Charcoal (dark grey), Chalk (light grey), Sand (pink), Sky (blue) and Sage (green).

Software

If you’ve used a Google Assistant-powered speaker, then you shouldn’t have any issues using the Nest Audio.

You can ask the Google Assistant just about any question you can think of from the weather, your commute or control your smart home devices.

Thanks to the on-device high-performance machine learning chip in the Nest Audio, the Google Assistant on the speaker can process queries quicker and locally. The Nest Audio will learn your most common music and smart home commands to make the device respond quicker.

To set up the Nest Audio, all you’ll need is the Google Home app on Android or iOS and your Google account. Just tap the add new device icon in the app and find your new Nest Audio speaker, then you should be good to go.

If you’ve already set up Voice Match with your Google account, then the Google Assistant can give you info based on your account details. With Voice Match, it also lets you use the Nest Audio with your other household members.

Final Thoughts

The Nest Audio offers great sound at a reasonable price and makes a great addition to Google’s smart speaker family.

Pros

  • Easy to setup
  • Great design and new colours
  • Balance sound and can get fairly loud
  • Google Assistant is faster than before
  • Cheaper than the original Google Home

Cons

  • Touch controls can be finicky

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