It wasn’t a secret that Google was planning to release a new speaker at today’s Launch Night In event. No, seriously. Not only did Google itself confirm this speaker existed back in July after an initial round of leaks, an overeager Walmart accidentally had a few up for sale a week early. Now that the Nest Audio is officially here, here’s everything we know about Google’s newest smart speaker.
For starters, like the leaks suggested, the Nest Audio will cost $100, feature Google Assistant integration (well, duh), and the ability to stream music. This is also a big boi speaker compared to the original Google Home; in fact, it looks an awful lot like an oversized fabric case for over-ear headphones. This time around, the fabric is also made from recycled materials. (In fact, the whole thing is 70% recycled plastic.) It also looks like we’ll be getting plenty of pastel color options on top of the usual white and gray, including mint green, pastel blue and pink. Though, it’s Google so officially the colors are Chalk, Charcoal, Sand, Sky, and Sage.
The Nest Audio works with other Nest speakers, meaning it can work as a whole home audio system. You can even stream things from say, YouTube Music, and move it through rooms as you walk through the house. It’ll also automatically adjust to the acoustics of your home and to the the type of content you’re playing. Sort of like...a much cheaper Sonos (which maybe gives a hint why Sonos slapped Google with a lawsuit yesterday). Other supported music streaming services will include Spotify, Pandora, Deezer, and Sirius XM, among others.
On the processor front, Google says the Nest Audio will have an on-device machine learning chip with “one TeraOPS” of processing power. Basically, it’s supposed to be able to understand your Google Assistant commands super fast. As for privacy, Google says it’s including a switch to turn the microphone off.
One major change is right in the name: audio. While the OG Google Home was incredibly fine for listening to music, the Nest Audio’s been juiced up to actually make music enjoyable. Leakers claimed that the Nest Audio was similar to Ikea’s Sonos Symfonisk speakers, but we’ll have to test it for ourselves to know for sure. That said, the Nest Audio has 50% more bass thanks to a 75mm subwoofer. It’s also got a 19mm tweeter. The speaker is also supposedly 75% louder. Google’s launch event was a digital one, of course, and audio quality is hard to judge over a stream, but the clip we did hear had a much fuller sound.
In any case, while the Nest Audio was far from a surprise, it is a long-overdue update and its affordability might actually shake things up a bit in the home audio front. The Nest Audio will be available in 21 countries starting Oct. 5.