Google Nest Hub 2 review: the new Google Nest Hub tested
5 things to know about the new Google Nest Hub.
While audio was once the ruling class of the smart home, video hubs are now becoming more commonplace. And for good reason: the addition of a screen increases what you can do with the thing - no longer do they just control your smart home and play music, they become entertainment hubs.
The new Google Nest Hub 2 goes one better than that. It has a hidden weapon among its AV arsenal that makes it the ultimate bedside companion. Google has added non-intrusive sleep tracking to its Hub. But is this enough to make you want to buy?
Here are 5 things to know about the Google Nest Hub 2...
1. Setup is simple
The Google Nest Hub 2 is a joy to setup, even if Google asks you a lot of questions while the installation is happening. The questions are all to do with how much access you want Google Assistant to have. Installation happens within the Google Home app - if you have numerous Google devices already setup, then you'll be asked which Home you are setting up. It's an easy process, one that does take a few minutes but that's mainly because of the permission granting.
2. Let it entertain you
The Google Nest Hub 2 comes with a 7-inch touchscreen (1024 x 600), which sits nicely on a fabric speaker base. The video means you can watch movies and other media on it. The screen is nice and clear and the EQ light sensor on board works well.
Through the installation process you can add a number of video services to the Hub. There's an option to watch Netflix, Disney Plus and All4 - if you have any subscriptions to these then just add in your details. We got Netflix working in seconds but Disney Plus seemed to not be happy with our log-in information. It's great to see the service on there, though, and we're hoping that the glitch will sort itself out soon. Prime Video wasn't available to log into.
3. Better bass, clear audio
While the Google Nest Hub 2 looks near identical to its predecessor, there are a few hardware changes that are pretty noticeable. Sound has certainly been improved. Using our music app of choice - Spotify - we cranked up the audio on the Hub and the bass is decent. There's a much bigger rumble than before and this is backed by improved audio clarity in the mid section, too. The audio comes from the speaker bass and it's louder than we were expecting from a unit of this size (the Google Nest Hub measures 120.4mm height, 177.4 mm width and 69.5mm depth).
4. Sleep of faith
One of the biggest USPs of the new Google Nest Hub is its sleep tracking capabilities. It does point to where Google wants you to use the Hub most and that is in the bedroom. For it to work, you have to allow Google to calibrate the device for sleep sensing - once done, it will measure your breathing and movement at night. You really do need to get this calibration right for it to work. You'll soon know if it doesn't as you will get some dodgy analytics in your report. Set it up, though, and you can start tracking your sleeping patterns, asking Google how well you slept and it also compiles a sort of wellness report for you. As it tracks your coughing and spluttering, it gives you a pretty good detailed report of how well you slept.
Obviously, recording you in this much detail may make you feel like you are in the Truman Show, so you can reduce what is recorded when you are getting some shut eye. We were impressed with this feature, though.
5. Quick gestures work well
Other things you can do on the Google Nest Hub 2 is use quick gestures to pause and play video and audio. We found these really useful for when cooking and having to pause a timer or whatever we were listening to when trying to make sure we weren't burning the cakes we were making.
Google Nest Hub 2: Final Verdict
The Google Nest Hub 2 is a great improvement on the already fun Google Nest Hub. It can be used for myriad things: audio calling (there's no camera so video isn't available), note taking, music listening, video watching and now has that extra layer of sleep tracking which really did work well in our tests and saves you from having to wear something to track your sleep patterns.
Add to this improved audio and a price that's cheaper than what the original Nest Hub came in at, and what you have is a smart smart home addition.
You can buy the Google Hub Nest (2021) now from the Google Store, costing £89.99.
- Check out the rival: Amazon Echo Show 10 review