Nest Audio: much better sound and better than previous speakers

When it comes to loudspeakers, very often the audio quality is directly proportional to the size of the speakers. This rule, Google applied it thoroughly in designing its new Nest Audio. At 1.2kg, it’s two and a half times heavier than the original Home speaker.

Located in the mid-range at Google, we find the Nest Mini ($ 69) on the lower end and the big Home Max ($ 299) on the top.

And if we look at what is being done elsewhere, the offer is well off. Along with the three products from Google are the Echo models from Amazon, those from Sonos, the $ 400 Apple HomePod, and the myriad of classic plug-and-play speakers that don’t require mobile apps to operate.

$ 130

As for the price, it is fortunately not as heavy as the product. At $ 129.99 each in our home (US $ 99 in our neighbors), you can get a second to create a stereophonic atmosphere.

One or a pair?

Choosing one or two speakers will depend on your needs. For sound in an office, one will suffice. For a larger room, two Nest Audio speakers can be paired together to create a perfect stereo pair for the home theater, or just for delivering sound from your iTunes music store or online at Amazon Music.

Not being an audiophile nor a specialist in acoustic frequencies, the audio quality is in my opinion there with serious bass. But in this area, your eardrums are certainly better than mine!

These Nest Audio have touch controls hidden above the speaker: volume + in the right corner, volume – in the left corner, and pause / play in the middle between the first two. Tip, avoid moving or grabbing the speaker from the top, you will touch the controls.

Google Home app to redesign

On the back, we find the usual manual control of the microphone. Enabled, you can initiate voice commands with the Ok Google ID. For example: “Ok Google, what will the weather be for Montreal tomorrow” or “Ok Google, increase by 25%”.

Off, you can still use the Google Home app to launch commands on your phone. Or deactivate it again in the settings of your iOS or Android phone or tablet to avoid any possibility of unwanted listening.

A final word on the physical appearance of the speaker, it lacks a mount on the back or base that would allow it to be suspended.

Since this is a smart, connected speaker, you’ll need to install the Google Home app on your mobile device. Don’t look for a wired connection for audio, there isn’t one. Nest Audio uses Bluetooth 5.0 and WiFi wireless connections to deliver music and the Google Home app for built-in services.

Google Home is the central app for all of the internet giant’s audio, smart and home automation products. By default, the Google Home app obviously gives you its own YouTube Music and Play Music services.

There, I must admit that configuring the two test speakers was neither intuitive nor easy. To add the second Nest Audio, you have to redo the whole process and grant or not the many permissions of Google.

After all the devices and sources have been added to the Nest Audio pair, you must manually turn off the Bluetooth connection of one (eg, your phone) to turn on the other (eg, your computer). However, twice this afternoon, the connection was cut for no reason.

It seems to me that a dedicated Nest Audio app would have made this easier.

Available in five colors, these speakers are sure to find a place in your home. But remember to take longer than usual to familiarize yourself with the Google Home app.

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