Google has unveiled a new Nest Audio smart speaker to take on Apple’s AirPod and Amazon’s Echo line. The new streaming stick from Google is also official and it’s called the Chromecast with Google TV. Here is everything you need to know, including pricing and details on the new Nest Audio Smart speaker and Chromecast with Google TV.
Google Nest Audio: What you need to know about the new smart speaker
Google’s marketing the Nest Audio as the most advanced smart speaker it’s released claiming it has “next generation” audio chops compared to the competition and “cutting edge” smart home features.
What’s new in the Nest Audio?
The Nest Audio is the middle child in Google’s audio line up, taking the pace of the older Home speaker. This means it sits below the “premium” more expensive Google Home Max and Nest Mini.
Unlike it’s siblings the Nest Audio is designed to stand erect, measuring in at 6.9-inches tall and 3.1-inches thick. This is a bid to let it sit flush against walls on fairly thin surfaces, like kitchen counters.
Despite the difference the device looks fairly to past Google speakers being available in Chalk and Charcoal finishes and having a near identical plastic fabric housing and grill, which according to Google is made from 70 percent recycled plastic.
Like past Home and Nest speakers it also requires a cabled power source. This sits on the speaker’s back just below the Nest Audio’s mic control, which lets privacy focused users mute its 3 far-field mics, stopping it listening in on conversations at a hardware level.
The biggest changes relate to its audio chops, which Google claims are “significantly” more developed than competing smart speakers. Google’s loaded it with a larger 75mm woofer and 19 mm tweeter.
Google claims this, plus more focussed tuning, lets the speaker offer significantly tighter bass that’s 50% “stronger” than the original Home’s. The Nest Audio also has 75% louder max volume levels, according to the spec sheet.
As an added bonus Google’s also added Media EQ and Ambient IQ features which reportedly lets it scan and optmise its audio settings based on what you’re listening to and its environment to do things like automatically raising the volume when it detects excess background noise.
Outside of this the Nest Audio has similar functionality to other Google smart speakers. These include the same Google Assistant and smart home functions seen on other Home and Nest speakers. The functionality lets you interact with the speaker using vocal commands and create multi-room setups by pairing it with compatible speakers, like the Google Home, Nest Mini and Nest Hub.
Those that wish to can also use it as a command centre to interact with compatible smart home tech. According to Google this includes a portfolio of 100 million devices from big name brands including Philips Hue and TP-Link.
When is the Nest Audio out? Price?
Nest Audio smart speaker will be available in five different colours. Locally, it is available for pre-order now at the Singapore Google Store for S$139 and it will be in ready stock from 15th October. The local store also has a cool pre-order promotion where you get to save 15% when you order a pair of these speakers together.
Chromecast with Google TV officially revealed: Here’s what you need to know
The Chromecast with Google TV is a notable step forward for the brand’s streaming stick, adding some heavily requested features both in terms of hardware and software. The two biggest additions are a remote and an actual user-interface. Google has never bundled a remote with its Chromecast before, preferring users to Cast all the content from a connected mobile device. That’s all changed here, and you now have a way to control your content without needing to pull out your phone.
The remote is simple and sleek, with quick access to Netflix and YouTube along with a dedicated Google Assistant key. It can use its IR blaster to control the volume, power and inputs on your TV, and it’s powered by batteries rather than a rechargeable cell.
For the UI, Google has taken its Android TV platform and added a new skin on top. This is called ‘Google TV’ and it’s heavily focused on recommending content from streaming services. You can ask for titles via the Assistant and install apps directly onto the stick, something you couldn’t previously do. In the UK, these apps include Netflix, Disney Plus, ITV Hub, My 5 and Prime Video among others. If an app works with Android TV, it’ll work here.
Of course, you’ll still be able to Cast content from other services that don’t have dedicated apps. It supports 4K HDR streaming up to 60fps with HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. There’s also support for HDMI passthrough of Dolby audio content, which includes Dolby Atmos. A notable absentee is Stadia, which is said to be coming in a future software update.
Like previous Chromecasts, this version plugs directly into the HDMI port on your TV and then into a USB port for power. It’s a small, rounded, pebble-like puck that comes in three colours. There’s a white, light pink and pastel blue hue available and you get a matching remote. Google says that 49% of its plastic mechanical parts are made with recycled plastic.
When is the Chromecast with Google TV out? Price?
Available in three colours that Google calls, “Snow, Sunrise, and Sky” and costing US$49(~SGD $67), the device is available now in the United States. It is also available for pre-order in countries like Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom where it will be available for purchase on October 15. Locally, there is still launch news yet for Google Singapore.
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