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Google Nest Hub (2nd generation) review: A wasted opportunity

Google Nest Hub 2 cover photo
Picture: TechnikNews
(Post picture: © 2021 TechnikNews)

The new Nest Hub came out of nowhere. But can he build on the success of the original? TechnikNews has had the Google Nest Hub of the 2nd generation in a long-term test.

Many thanks to Google Germany for providing the test device. I used the Nest Hub in English, but all functions are also available in German.

I was a huge fan of the first Google Nest Hub. Google worked steadily on the Nest Hub software and brought streaming providers such as Netflix and Disney + on board. While the hardware did not change after two years, the software slowly grew beyond the hardware. A hardware upgrade was long overdue. But what did Google do with it?

About this test report

In this review, I will only go into the new features of the second generation. David already has the basic information on operation, the power supply unit or the initial setup in his test report explained very well to the predecessor.

Google Nest Hub (2nd generation): design

Unfortunately, the design of the smart display is largely identical to that of the first Nest Hub. The display edges are still the same size, the display does not have a sharper resolution and the materials are completely the same compared to the predecessor. Here, the competition from Amazon is already providing more ideas. A rotatable display? Thin display bezels? Here I would have expected more from Google after two years.


Sleep tracking

One feature I was really excited about is sleep tracking. I already had the first Nest Hub by my bed and apparently I wasn't the only one. Google uses the in-house Soli-Chip, which has already been installed in the Pixel 4 (XL) or in the Nest thermostat. The feature can be set up during setup, and it can also be decided whether noises can also be recorded. From then on everything works automatically. As soon as the user is in bed, the Nest Hub displays the message “Sleep tracking is active”.

The termination also works automatically. As soon as it is recognized that sleep has ended, a summary is shown on the display. The Nest Hub tells you how long and how good or bad you slept. In addition to the basic values, the breathing rate, snoring and coughing can also be measured using the microphones. However, Google promises that all data will only be saved locally - everyone has to decide for themselves whether they trust Google.

After a week, the weekly sleep tracking results can also be viewed on the display. The data is also available for inspection in the Google Fit app.

Conclusion on sleep tracking

I found the sleep tracking to be very accurate. In the four-week test phase, I wore two different smartwatches, the results of which sometimes deviated between 5 and 10 minutes. The positive thing is that you can now charge that smartwatch while you sleep without having to miss the recording. However, Google also analyzes the sleep tracking and then gives tips such as "Your sleep is inconsistent" or videos are offered by Google to improve sleep.

Sleep tracking doesn't revolutionize the Nest Hub, the whole Probut zess will be a lot easier. But that Proproblem: Google explicitly says that the feature is currently only a "preview" and could be integrated into a subscription in the future. We're expecting the feature to be rolled into Fitbit Premium next year, which might put off many customers. But if the previous sleep tracking is just a preview, the final version should be even better. So I'm even more excited about this one.

gesture control

Also new is the gesture control, which is made possible by the new Soli chip. But this feature is still very limited four weeks after launch. So far, only media such as music or YouTube videos can be stopped using hand gestures; jumping forward and back is not (yet) supported. You can end the timer or the alarm clock with it. Google still has a lot to add here, but as the saying goes: “Ein Proproduct is judged by how it is now, not how it promises to be in the future".

Software and performance

As mentioned at the beginning, the Nest Hub software has gotten a lot better over the years. In addition to Spotify, Apple Music is now also supported with Android and after YouTube there is now Netflix and Disney+. New functions are constantly being added, but they cannot change the hardware. That's why I have a new one Prozessor maintained, which should increase the performance drastically. The hardware has actually become a lot faster, but that doesn't really show up in practice. Loading speeds are largely the same as the first generation and the UI also needs improvement.

Google Nest Hub (2nd generation): Sound

According to Google, the sound and bass have been improved a lot. I've listened to a lot of music on the Nest Hub, watched Netflix and noticed slight improvements in a comparison. The bass is still not really present, but okay for news broadcasts or radio music.

Google Nest Hub (2nd generation): Conclusion

Google took two years to release an update for the Nest Hub, but the result is only satisfactory. The performance has not yet been greatly improved, the design looks outdated and the sound is still not really strong. But the Nest Hub is still a really good smart display. The Google Assistant is the smartest smart assistant on the market, the routines are extensively customizable and sleep tracking is a welcome innovation. But I would have wished for bigger revolutions, I would have paid more for them.

An upgrade is only worthwhile for customers who are really keen on sleep tracking and want to pay for it in the future. If you are considering buying a Nest Hub, you have to ask yourself “Where should the display be?”. If the answer is: “On the desk or in the kitchen!”, You can save the 20 euros extra and go for Generation 1, which is still good. On the bedside table, however, sleep tracking makes more sense, here I would definitely use the current model, as this is not really expensive with a price of around 100 euros.

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Nils Ahrensmeier

Nils has been with us since 2019 TechnikNews and very interested in smartphones, speakers, smartwatches and SmartHome. In addition to his 'Creative Business' studies, he enjoys pursuing his hobby of athletics and meeting up with friends.

Nils has already written 323 articles and made 32 comments.

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