tl; dr: Google's Nest WiFi has to face the competition's mesh WiFi systems in the test. The integrated smart speaker with Google Assistant in the access point comes at the expense of the LAN ports, which are missing in everyday life. With dual-band Wi-Fi, the set of 2 comes in its test to its limits, but can sometimes beat its predecessor.
In Google's Mesh WLAN system, the technical specifications of the router and the access point are different. The latter is technically inferior to the router, because this offers WLAN-AC-2200 with 4×4 MU-MIMO, including all transmission channels up to 2,200 Mbit / s, while the access point with WLAN-AC-1200 and 2×2 MU-MIMO maximum 1,200 Mbit / s in total from 2,4 and 5 GHz band allows.
While the router has two network ports, one of which must be used as a WAN port, Google offers surprisingly not a single LAN port at the access point. The access point can therefore only connect terminals wirelessly. The predecessor, Google WiFi, offered two LAN ports at each access point.
Support for Thread, the network protocol for low-power smart home devices that already supports the eero Pro, will be provided by Google for the Nest WiFi. However, Nest WiFi can already use WPA3.
As one of very few manufacturers, Google supports the wireless standard 802.11s for manufacturer-independent mesh WLAN with the new Nest WiFi. Due to the lack of suitable products on the market, this is currently a purely theoretical advantage, especially as the standard exists since 2011 and could not establish itself. It is more likely that EasyMesh will successively find its way into products according to IEEE protocol 1905.1, which only ensures star-shaped communication of the components via a central unit.
The matte white surface is extremely vulnerable to traces left by touching other objects. Restricted, they can be removed again. However, if you do not initially handle the devices with care and do not touch them with velvet gloves when setting up and finding the best position, they will not look new afterwards.
Sound the Access Point as a Smart Speaker with Google Assistant
The Access Point, which also acts as a Google Assistant speaker, has a light ring on the bottom that shines on the surface on which it stands. The router, on the other hand, has a small, bright LED on the front, which shines through the case and serves as a status indicator. The router does not have a speaker and can not be used as a smart speaker. The Nest WiFi access point relies on a 40mm 360-degree speaker for sound and music playback, as featured in the new Google Nest Mini (review). Music playback can be controlled either via voice or via the Google Home app. You can also control the volume, pause, and resume playback through the touch-sensitive surface of the access point. As with the Nest Mini, the center is used to pause and resume a song, while to the left and right touch buttons are hidden, the LEDs light up when approaching and are used for volume control.
Sonically, Nest's WiFi access point is on par with the Nest Mini. Instead of putting on a lot of bass, it mainly emphasizes the highs and offers a good volume. The bass response is better than the old Home Mini. At high volumes, the speaker, like the Nest Mini, will be very high-treble. With the playback quality of a larger smart speaker such as Amazon Echo, the access point of the Nest WiFi can not keep up. Nevertheless, the combination of the two elements is a good and meaningful implementation, if both are used anyway.
The speech recognition of the far-field microphones of the access point is no cause for complaint and works well in the test, even from several meters away.
Commissioning and functions
The setup of the Nest WiFi is not made like the predecessor via the Google WiFi app, but now in the Google Home app – a Google Account is therefore a mandatory requirement. Once the Nest WiFi router has been connected to the modem or the modem router combination via the WAN port and connected to the power, the Google Home app will guide the user through the setup that will help build the Mesh WLANs takes over. During commissioning, the user must also scan the QR codes on the bottom of both devices with the smartphone. At the access point, this is just a sticker with a pull tab. But you should not throw it away to be able to set up the access point again after a reset.
The setup wizard is understandable, and like other systems, the user must set a name and password for the WLAN and associate the devices with rooms. Access points are added after the router has been set up and automatically added to the previously set up WLAN. These will then also configure the Google Assistant. The router and access point settings can then be changed separately for each device in the home app. The access point can also be used to adjust the music playback via an equalizer, as already known from the Nest Mini and the other smart speakers from Google.
The home app can also be used to configure time restrictions for children, for example, and to set up a guest WLAN. Also a speed test and the blocking of websites on individual terminals is possible. How many of them are connected to the network is also shown to the user. With which access point which terminal is connected, you will not recognize in the home app.
The only conspicuous thing about running Google Nest WiFi was that the access point sporadically popped into the available Wi-Fi networks sporadically with the first setup SSID “setupEE88.ybd”, even though it was already connected to the mesh Wi-Fi and fully set up ,
On the next page: transfer rates, power consumption and conclusion