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Google Nest Hub (Generation 2) Review

When Google first announced the nest hub a few years back, I had to have one for my kitchen – putting it in my room as an alarm clock never really crossed my mind, despite many folks doing it. But then we upgraded the kitchen display to a Nest Hub Max, and well…you can imagine how that was a big improvement with the bigger screen. That ultimately pushed the original Nest Hub to my wife and I’s room, and while we liked having that, it started to feel a bit short on features and quality compared to other Google products we were adding to our home (like the Nest Audio). Then Google changed the game by surprise dropping the newest Nest Hub (Generation 2), and boy are we impressed.


You’ll be forgiven if you cannot initially spot the difference between the original Nest Hub and the second generation iteration. And that is OK, because the two devices are incredibly similar. There are a few small changes we should mention off the top. The device now comes in one extra colour than before – light blue – and has improved speakers that rival the Nest Audio capabilities. This is actually a pretty huge deal, as the speaker in the original Nest Hub were fairly sub par. The other new addition is the inclusion of an extra microphone and increased learning capacity makes talking and working with your Google device easier than ever before. It’s minor, but when using my devices side-by-side, there is still a noticeable difference.

All the Google features you’d want in a Nest Hub device – or any Google device for that matter – are here. On board buttons to control volume and mute the microphone. The ability to say “Hey Google” and ask any number of questions. The ability to hear news updates, sports updates, weather updates, and more, set to when you want to receive them, morning or night. And of course, the ability to see your sleep patterns.


Outside of the improved speakers, these probably aren’t the device upgrades you’ve read about so far, however. With the new Sleep Sensing tech powered by Soli – the motion technology that Google used in the Pixel 4 to allow gestures – Google is working to help you improve your sleep habits by monitoring the habits of the closest person to the device. And it works surprisingly well in our week long test. My initial concern was privacy – it seems that all new screened devices on the market require a camera, but wisely Google has opted to not include a camera in the latest Nest Hub, which is a welcomed decision. It is worth noting that Sleep Sensing is free in 2021, but will require a subscription in 2022.

The data you get from the sleep sensing is pretty good, but Google lacks the ability to suggest ways to improve your sleep outside of standard stuff. The feedback you get outside of the raw data won’t be detailed to you. So if you are a heavy snorer, outside of saying, “Hey Google, how can I limit my snoring?” there won’t be much in way of help to match your snoring tendencies to other sleep issues, say laying on your back (if this technology could even pick that up). That being said, the daily data you glean in the morning is something I now look forward to looking at each morning. As a habitual snorer, it’s nice to see nights where I snore less, and at times, not at all! It’s also a good way to find out if my wife was lying about how much I snored!


Setting up the Sleep Sensing tech isn’t overly difficult, but does require that you get the Google Fit application – which didn’t come naturally on my Google Pixel 5G so you may need to hunt this one down. After you setup the device, you are ready to go. The only downside to the device is that it might not work in your bedroom setup. My wife and I both prefer having our nightstands below the top of the mattress, so to get the most out of my Nest Hub, I had to place a few books on the nightstand to get the screen at mattress level. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be able to track my movements at night, limiting the data you would get in the morning.

Once you’ve completed a night of sleep, your device will display all the important information in three distinct categories: Schedule, Quality and Duration. Essentially, 1) did you get to sleep on time? This is decided at the setup phase; 2) how well did you sleep? Did you roll around a lot? Did you snore a lot?; 3) how long did you sleep. Anyone with common sense knows that these are three keys to good health, and having Google keep track of that data for me is pretty fantastic.

We could go on at length about the devices other features, but it’s not why you’ll buy the Nest Hub. Speakers are improved, but still pale in comparison to the Nest Audio in our opinion. The ability to tweak treble and bass is nice, but again – the subpar audio isn’t why you buy the device. And when I say sub-par, that’s probably calling it worse than it is. Audio quality – and video quality for that matter, using Disney+, YouTube, and Netflix – is useable. I’d classify it as great, but not exceptional. Other improvements are so minor, you may not even realize they exist if you were a previous Nest Hub owner. This device is all about the Sleeping Sensing technology, and on that front, despite the limitations we mentioned, it delivers pretty well.




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blank Adam Roffel has only been writing about video games for a short time, but has honed his skills completing a Master's Degree. He loves Nintendo, and almost anything they have released...even Tomodachi Life.

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Twitter: @AdamRoffel