Google Nest Audio vs. Google Home: Which Smart Speaker Should You Buy?

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Google Home vs. Nest Audio

The Google Home has a sequel, the Nest Audio. Announced back at the end of September, the Nest Audio is intended as a replacement for the aging Google Home, touting superior audio performance as well as upgraded processing power. Both are available for the same price and their similarity has many people asking whether they should upgrade, especially considering how many people have already adopted the original Home or lozenge-shaped Home Mini into their routines already.

We've outlined a handful of the major factors that set these two models apart to help you weigh the pros and cons, and come to a conclusion whether this upgrade is the right move for you.

Google Nest Audio Google Home
Improved speakers Touch controls
Better Processor Interchangeable Base
Color options Google Assistant Integration
5.0 Bluetooth Reduced Price

Sound

The Nest Audio is designed as a speaker first and a smart hub second, that doesn't mean that it isn't a perfectly capable home automation system, but it is clearly meant to be a speaker that also controls your lights, not vice versa.

Google Nest Audio
Google

While the bass and volume are far superior to the original Google Home, the compact form factor of the Nest Audio still limits the general audio quality, especially when it comes to Bass feedback. The Nest Audio isn't going to best a dedicated pair of bookshelf speakers from Klipsch or Marshall, but for a smart hub-bound speaker, you could do a lot worse.

Design

The Nest audio is available in a variety of muted pastel colors similar to what they've offered with their Pixel line of phones, and is mercifully also available in black. While there's no accounting for taste, it is refreshing to see Google providing us with some first-party aesthetic options out of the box this time around.

Google Nest Audio
 Google

The Nest Audio will look familiar to anyone who has seen the Google Home Mini with its all-over felt-like appearance. The design is minimalist and inoffensive but may leave you a bit confused as to where the controls are on its otherwise unassuming face.

The Nest Audio is about as tall as the original Google Home, but is a bit slimmer, forgoing the oblong cylindrical shape of its predecessor in favor of something more akin to a rounded pillbox.

Perhaps the most important design change is that the body of the Nest Audio is made from 70 percent recycled plastic, which should hopefully salve some of the guilt when your original Google Home inevitably heads for the landfill.

Features

All of the features that you got used to with your original Google Home are still present in the Nest Audio, allowing you to quickly access Google Assistant and everything that entails. This can range from controlling the smart devices around your home to setting alarms, or telling you how many pints are in a quart.

Google Home Smart Speaker
Google Home Smart Speaker. Image provide by Google

One noteworthy change, however, is the upgrade to Bluetooth 5.0 protocols, enabling stronger and more reliable connections between the Nest Audio and the multitude of Bluetooth devices scattered around your home. This also allows you to daisy-chain multiple Google devices together for stereo playback or cluster devices together for grouped playback in specific rooms.

Price

The Google Home was originally priced at $100 and the Nest Audio is no different. Google is also offering the option to grab a pair of the Nest Audio speakers for just $180, knocking $20 off the retail price if you otherwise bought them individually. Even if you were inclined to buy a Google Home at this point, you'd be hard-pressed to find one as they're slowly being phased out.

Final Verdict

While it is a slightly tougher sell if you already own a Google Home, the Nest Audio is a great starting point for anyone that has yet to invite one of Google's smart devices into their home and can even expand the capability of any existing Google devices you own.