Often times, the two-year period between a device’s launch and its proposed follow-up brings with it a host of changes and improvements. The original Nest Hub, formerly the Home Hub, has now been replaced by the second-gen Nest Hub, and it raises questions about which one is right for you.
The tiny smart display has proven to be one of Google’s most useful smart home products in recent years. It’s a great companion in a multitude of rooms in your home, no matter where you want the little speaker to live.
It probably doesn’t help that, at first glance, the Nest Hub and Nest Hub (2nd Gen) look almost identical. There’s a bit more when you take a closer look at it, but there are even a few under-hood tweaks that can cause it to lean toward the newer model rather than the original, so let’s take a look at what is potentially missing. Or, to put it another way, what you will win.
Video: Nest Hub vs. Nest Hub (2nd Gen): What’s New?
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Design and hardware
The Google Nest Hub is basically a (low-resolution) display set at an angle on a cloth-covered speaker, which acts as a base. This design formula is exactly the same for the original Nest Hub and the 2nd generation. However, there are some quality of life improvements that make sense if you’ve ever used the original.
You can choose the Nest Hub 2nd Gen in the exact same colors as before, including Chalk, Charcoal, Mist, and Sand. That means that if you want to add a new model or replace the original in a room, you can simply change it without affecting the decoration style of your home. It is important to note that the full color gamut is available outside of the US for the first time on the second generation device.
Rounded, the mute switch has changed a bit, it’s more rounded and sticks out a bit more. This makes it easier to turn it on or off without having to change the second-gen Nest Hub. The volume control also stays in the same position and only allows you to quickly control the audio levels on the left side.
Google claims almost 50% excellent bass response on the latest Nest Hub compared to the original, while there is a third microphone for Thread radio and voice control detection. However, this is not available at launch. The biggest new hardware addition is the Soli radar chip found in the upper right corner of the display bezel. This allows for some new sleep monitoring and control methods, which will likely be the new smart display’s biggest selling points.
Unfortunately, the new Nest Hub 2nd Gen does not improve the 7-inch screen resolution. The LCD panel is pretty much the same with some notable additional tweaks that improve usability. It’s still below 720p at 1,024 by 600 pixels, but unlike a tablet or smartphone, the distances you see from mean it should be sharp enough to see most things.
The fixed viewing angle remains the same, which is ideal for visibility and placement on a multitude of surfaces in and around your home or office. Peak brightness hasn’t changed either, with the Ambient EQ doing wonders on both displays.
One of the most notable changes is the removal of a protruding outer edge or bezel on the Nest Hub 2nd Gen. This is a double advantage as it makes tapping from the edges a bit easier, plus it has the additional advantage of not accumulating dust. , dirt and grime in the small space. These are minor changes, but big long-term improvements in quality of life from a piece of technology that seamlessly blends into your home without a second thought.
Monitoring and controls
The monitoring and control methods are where you can find the biggest differences between the original Nest Hub and the 2nd generation model. While the Soli radar chip may never make a comeback in a Pixel phone, Google has put the radar technology in the new Nest thermostat and now the new Nest Hub.
Voice controls are still a key component on these assistant-driven smart displays, but the newer model includes some hand-shaking skills. You can touch the air to pause and play music, but unfortunately you cannot move your hand to control the music or the interface. We hope it will arrive in a future update, but for now you are limited to pausing and playing music. It works well and is quite accurate.
A bigger new inclusion that uses the Soli chip is sleep tracking. When placed in your bedroom, you can analyze your sleep patterns and routines without using a Fitbit or similar fitness tracker. Through the use of radar technology, the Nest Hub 2nd Gen can detect specific sleep disturbances such as coughing and snoring, it can also detect light and temperature changes in your bedroom and analyze what is affecting your sleep patterns.
You can get daily updates on your Nest Hub’s home screen, but all of your sleep data is tracked and visible within the Google Fit app for easy access. Rate your sleep and can even determine the quality of each cycle. The original Nest Hub only offers voice and touch controls, but barring air gestures and sleep tracking, the overall experience is nearly identical.
All common home controls and voice commands remain the same on both devices. It is worth noting that the performance is still not what we would call “stellar”But it’s worth noting that the second-gen Nest Hub and Nest Hub are meant to be passive devices. That means sporadic controls and low-power home hubs for your smart home tech.
Nest Hub vs Nest Hub (2nd Gen): Should You Upgrade or Which One Should You Choose?
If you already have the original Nest Hub, unless you really want contactless controls and sleep tracking, stick with what you have. Upgrades are pretty minimal, but if you want to add sleep tracking to your favorite smart home hub’s arsenal, then the Nest Hub 2nd Gen is a prime candidate.
Consider the rather small $ 10 price increase over the original and the quality of life improvements mentioned above, and it’s pretty much a bargain. If you’re not interested in hands-free controls or sleep tracking, you might get a good deal on the older model.
You can get Nest Hub 2nd Gen at various retailers including Google Store, Walmart, Best Buy, Target, and more.
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