After 4 years, Google finally updated the iconical cylindrical Google Home with a bigger and lounder Nest Audio in 2020. So, the question for many existing users of Google Home is the comparison of Nest Audio vs Google Home
This Google Home guide explains the new features and improvements of Nest Audio vs Google Home to help you understand whether you should “upgrade” your Google Home, or whether Nest Audio is the right smart speaker for you.
The comparison of Nest Audio and Google Nest Mini (Google Home Mini 2nd Gen) is covered in this post (coming soon).
Before we explore the new features and improvements of Nest Audio (vs Google Home), let’s check what has not been changed (i.e., the shared features).
Nest Audio vs Google Home: what are NOT changed?
As a successor to Google Home, Nest Audio share some identical or similar features with its predecessor. This part highlights the common features of these two smart speakers.
Both Google Home and Nest Audio share a similar software package. Google Assistant works in an identical way.
The setup and customization are also almost identical. This means existing owners of Google Home will have nothing new to learn to set up and use the Nest Audio.
You can use also pair two Nest Audio speakers for stereo audio, just like you can do with two Google Home speakers.
Middle-range smart speaker
Although Nest Audio looks like Google Home Max from the front, it is still a middle-range smart speaker in the product family, just like Google Home.
The direct and the biggest competitor of the Nest Audio is Amazon’s 4th gen Echo. While Google Home competed quite well with the 1st to 3rd Gen of Echo.
All Google Home smart speakers, including Nest Audio, Google Home, Google Home Max, Google Home Mini, Google Nest Mini (Google Home Mini 2nd gen), Google Home Hub, Nest Home Hub Max, have Chromecast built-in.
So, you do not need a Chromecast (or the discontinued Chromecast Audio) if you want to cast to these speakers.
Quick mute (microphone switch)
The mute switch is on the back of the Google Home and Nest Audio.
You can use the switch to turn off the microphone when you do not want Google to interrupt you or want to keep your privacy.
As explained in this guide, you also need to mute the microphone first before you can reset Nest Audio.
Capacitive touch control
Although Nest Audio does not have a smooth surface on the top, you can still control Nest Audio using some capacitive gestures.
Of course, the gesture controls on the Nest Audio are more closer to Nest Home Mini, due to lack of the flat surface as in Google Home.
The layout of Nest Audio is detailed in this guide.
You may check this guide on how to control Nest Audio with the touch control panel and voice commands (Google Assistant).
The meaning of Nest Audio LED lights is explained here.
Both Nest Audio and Google Home support duan band (2.4 GHz/5 GHz) 802.11b/g/n/ac.
There is no WiFi 6 support on Nest Audio (and Google Home). But you probably do not need a WiFi 6 connection for a smart speaker.
No line-in, no line-out
Google continued to refuse to offer the line-in (and line-out) option on Nest Audio. Therefore, you can use neither Google Home nor Nest Audio as a standalone speaker. You cannot use these speakers as an audio input source for your home audio system (unless through Bluetooth).
Because Google discontinued Chromecast Audio, many Chromecast Audio users expect Google Home speakers can fill the gap with a line-out option. Unfortunately, Google doe not allow you to use your own speakers with any Google Home devices.
Amazon, in this aspect, did a far better job. A 3.5mm port (with line-in and line-out) was added since the 3rd Gen of Echo.
Nest Audio vs Google Home: What are the improvements and new features?
Although both Google Home and Nest Audio are sold at the same price ($99), Nest Audio is a significant upgrade of Google Home. There are many improvements and nee features that you will appreciate.
Nest Audio vs Google Home: Louder and clearer
The audio quality may be subjective. Some prefer bass; some prefer vocal; some prefer “balanced”.
Google claimed that Nest Audio is 75% louder and has 50% stronger bass than the original Google Home thanks to the 75mm mid-woofer.
The 19mm tweeter offers consistent high-frequency coverage and clear vocals.
As a comparison, Google Home only has a 2″ driver and two 2″ passive radiators.
Nest Audio vs Google Home: Heavier and larger
Nest Audio increases its weight about 150% (1.2kg), compared to Google Home (0.477kg).
Its size is also bigger at 175mm x 124mm x 78mm. The Google Home is 142.8mm in height and 96.4mm in diameter.
The major weight gain of the Nest Audio is due to its new woofer and tweeter.
Media EQ and Ambient IQ
Among Google Home speakers, Google Home Max has some unique smart features. Now, part of these features come to Nest Audio.
Media EQ lets Nest Audio change the EQ automatically based on the media contents you are listening to. For example, when you change from music to audiobooks, Nest Audio will adjust its EQ automatically.
Please note, media EQ is separate from the EQ settings for the speaker in the Google Home app. The annoying part is that you cannot disable or tune it.
Ambient IQ can automatically adjust the volume of Nest Audio based on the background noise, which is sampled by the microphone. So, you cannot use this feature when the microphone is switched off.
Besides, Ambient IQ adjust the volume of Assistant, news, podcasts and audiobooks, not the music.
Nest Audio is upgraded from Bluetooth 4.1 in Google Home to Bluetooth 5.0.
But some Bluetooth 5.0 features were NOT implemented in Nest Audio. For example, you cannot pair the speaker to two devices simultaneously.
Overall, Bluetooth 5.0 offers better and more reliable connections.
As Google moves more and more voice processing from the cloud to the local device, Google also significantly upgrade the chips inside the Nest Audio so that Google Assistant can process your commands faster.
The Quad-Core A53 1.8 GHz chip replaces the Dual-Core Cortex A7 in Google Home.
3 far-field microphones
Smart speakers need to pick up your voices very reliably.
Nest Audio now is equipped with 3 far-field microphones. Google Home uses a 2-mic array to pick up your voices.
Nest Audio also added the WebM format support. It is not a big deal currently because of the low adoption rate.
But WebM is more future-proof due to its flexible container design.
The full body (except the bottom) of Nest Audio is covered by the fabric-like recycled plastic, which is almost identical to the material used in Google Nest Home Mini.
As a comparison, Google Home has a removable base with fabric-like plastic.
More colour options
Instead of offering interchangeable fabric base and while cylinder, Google lets you choose different colours for your Nest Audio.
In most regions, the available colours include Chalk, Charcoal, Sage, Sand, and Sky.
Do you have any questions on new features and improvements of Nest Audio vs Google Home?
If you have any questions on new features and improvements of Nest Audio vs Google Home, or if you have any other questions on the Nest Audio, please let us know in the comment box below.
The community will help you.
Other Nest Audio guides can be found here.
Please check other Google Home guides here.
For Google Home Mini specific guides, please check here.