Google Nest Audio Review: Best Sounding Smart Speaker In Sub-10K Price-Point

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Google Nest Audio is the company's latest product in the 'Smart Speaker' line-up for India. Priced at Rs. 7,999 (MRP), the new smart speaker replaces the original Google Home in every aspect. It brings a new design and claims to offer immersive audio delivery and better overall user-experience at a lower launch price. The Nest Audio is up for grabs at a discounted price of Rs. 6,999 on Flipkart during the festive sale season, which makes it even more approachable and exciting for anyone looking for a good entry-level smart speaker.

 

Rating:
4.0/5

Google Nest Audio Review

As expected, the Google Assistant backed speaker is out of stock at the time of writing this review because the features and performance it brings to the table at Rs. 6,999 (Sale price) seems quite hard to find in this price bracket. Fret not as Google should be working towards ensuring new stock for the latest smart speaker on the e-commerce platform.

We have been testing the Nest Audio since last one week and want to share our experience with the new Google Assistant backed smart speaker. Is there a better deal in the smart speaker space in the sub-10K price? Let's find out.

Design- Blends Seamlessly with Interiors

Design- Blends Seamlessly with Interiors

Google's sense of design is discrete and very natural, be it smartphones or audio products. The design language radiates aesthetics and seamless integration with surroundings, which is very critical for a product like a smart speaker that's supposed to blend in effortlessly within your habitat. Additionally, Google is also ensuring that new products have a minimal footprint on the environment. Available in Chalk and Charcoal color options, the Nest Audio's fabric is claimed to be made from recycled plastic bottles. Google says that the fabric, housing, foot, and a few smaller parts of the new smart speaker are made from 70 per cent recycled plastic, which means the speaker has less impact on the environment than the competition products.

Some More Color Options, Google?
 

Some More Color Options, Google?

I am testing the ‘Chalk' color variant which has a subtle light grey fabric housing. It blends seamlessly with my room's white background; however, I would love to see some bright color fabric tops for the Nest Audio. And unlike the original Google Home's cylindrical casing, the Nest Audio has a flattened enclosure with gentle curves which gives it a very distinctive look and feel. There's no other smart speaker in market that resembles the Nest Audio and this makes it look unique. The Nest Audio weighs 1.79 Kg and measures 6.9 x 4.9 x 3.1 inches. It ships with a 4 ft 11 inches cable to help you connect it with an electrical outlet. The cable length has been reduced to almost half of what the original Google Home speaker offers.

Buttons And Controls

Buttons And Controls

The top of the speaker has three touch spots for capacitive touch controls and there are no markings. The centre spot serves as a play/pause button and either side allows you to control the volume level. If you want to reset the speaker, simply press and hold the top centre spot for about 15 seconds. There's a flip switch at the backside of the speaker unit to help you disable the microphone. The controls work just fine but as there are no markings, you are bound to miss spots while controlling the volume level manually. There are four LEDs at the front which blinks when you set up the device and invoke the assistant. The only thing that seems missing here is a 3.5mm input for wired playback.

Set-Up Process, Streaming Services, Usability And Microphone Response

Set-Up Process, Streaming Services, Usability And Microphone Response

If you already have Google Assistant backed smart speakers at home, you must be familiar with the setup process. If the Nest Audio is your first-ever Google ecosystem product, follow the below-mentioned products to set it up.

  • Download the Google Home app and log in with your Google Account username and password.
  • Open the Google Home app and look for the notification ‘Set up Nest Audio' near the top of the screen and tap on it.
  • If you already have a Google Home device linked to your Google Account, you'll be prompted to select a specific unit; otherwise, the app will look for nearby Google Nest devices.
  • Select the Nest Audio device and tap "Next." The app will then connect to the device.
  • If the app is unable to show your device, tap the Add (+) button at the top of the home screen to add the Nest Audio.

Post setup, you can customize all important settings of the Nest Audio via the Google Home companion app. The application lets you tweak the bass and treble response of the speaker, select audio and video streaming services (Spotify, Gaana, YouTube Music, Netflix, JioSaavn), video streaming device (Android TV/tablet via casting), set routines, conduct broadcast messages (Requires more than one Google Home devices), and more. You can reduce the volume of responses and decrease the brightness of four LEDs while sleeping, check paired Bluetooth devices, pair two Nest Audios, set default music speaker (Requires more than one Google Home devices) and adjust the sensitivity of the "Hey Google" voice command to invoke the assistant.

Use As Intercom Or Broadcast A Message

Use As Intercom Or Broadcast A Message

Using Google Home speakers as intercom or to send a broadcast message is real fun. You would need more than one Google Home devices to use these features. The microphone response seems slightly improved when compared to the original Home. You should enable ‘Lower Volume When Listening' feature in the Google Home app to experience better microphone response while audio is being streamed. Last but not the least; you can also use Google Duo on Nest Audio to call mobile phones and tablets if you actively use the Google calling service.

Audio Performance

Audio Performance

Before we talk about the audio performance, you must know that the speaker placement can have a direct impact on audio delivery. As the Nest Audio is not a 360-degree speaker unit, you must find the right spot, or at least an optimal placement, to make the most out of this smart speaker for an immersive listening experience. The Nest Audio houses a 75 mm woofer and 19 mm tweeter, which as per Google makes the new speaker 75 per cent louder than the original Google Home and also boosts the bass delivery to up to 50 per cent. As these components are positioned at the front side of the speaker's body, make sure that no object is blocking the face of the speaker.

As far as audio delivery is concerned, the Nest Audio will not at all disappoint you for its price. In fact, it is the best sounding smart speaker in its respective price bracket. The secret lies in good tuning and powerful audio delivery. Google wasn't lying when the brand mentioned that the Nest Audio is louder than the original Home. And despite the impressive volume, the audio remains crystal clean. You won't hear any frequency overlapping or distortion even when the music is bursting at maximum volume.

Balanced And Quality Audio

Balanced And Quality Audio

The Nest Audio has a very balanced sound signature creating a very high-quality and enjoyable music experience. There's ample bass and vocals sound crisp and rich. The treble response is also handled very well and if you feel that a particular track needs more character, you can tweak the bass and treble response from the built-in equalizer of the Google Home app. You won't need it that often as the Nest Audio tends to adapt its audio delivery according to the content you stream most. The difference in tuning isn't drastic but you can start to experience it over time.

The Nest Audio's soundstage isn't the widest but for a speaker priced at Rs. 7,999 (MRP), it can get better than this. Overall, the Nest Audio is the best sounding smart speaker in the sub-10K price segment. It sounds cleaner and richer. The introductory price of Rs. 6,999 makes it a no brainer deal.

Verdict

Verdict

If you want to experience quality audio and the ease of a smart speaker at the most affordable price, the Nest Audio is the answer. It is neatly-designed to deliver the best possible listening experience at the sub-10K price-point. You also have the option of buying the recently launched Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker but don't expect the Nest Audio like performance.

The Mi Smart Speaker is strictly for consumers who are on a tight budget. It is priced lower at Rs. 3,999 (Sale Price- Rs. 3,499) and lacks the immersive audio delivery, premium and subtle look and feel of the Nest Audio and the direct software support from Google. In short, the Nest Audio is currently the best overall smart speaker in the market in the sub-10K price segment. Period. If you do not manage to grab the deal on Flipkart, check out for offers on Reliance Retail and Tata Cliq.

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