Sleep tracking might need a paid subscription in future
Google has launched the Nest Hub (2nd Gen) that comes with a couple of new upgrades and you might be wondering if it is worth the purchase. Generally, that would be a ‘yes’.
Google first launched the Nest Hub (originally called the Home Hub) in 2018, and since then the Hub has been regularly updated. Starting out essentially as a digital photo frame with smart speaker capabilities, it is now a core element of the Google smart home ecosystem.
The Nest Hub is now capable of being a smart home control centre, fancy alarm clock, weather machine, media centre, communications hub, and more. That’s quite a bit that’s packed into such a small device. The second generation of the Nest Hub now packs even more!
The Google Nest Hub (2nd Gen) may be hardly distinguishable from its predecessor, but there are some significant changes under the hood.
Featuring a 7-inch touchscreen (1024 x 600), the Nest Hub sits perfectly on a desk, dining table, or wherever in your room you’d want your controller to be. With 3 far-field microphones, it’ll pick up your voice from across the room and execute commands via the built-in Google Assistant. ‘Hey Google’ works pretty well… sometimes too well.
The Nest Hub does occasionally pick up something that’s said from the TV and think that it’s a command. You can either turn on personalized options for Google to recognize your voice better, or for greater privacy, turn off the microphones with the hard switch at the back to the Hub.
The Nest Hub features the same speaker that works well enough for youtube videos and basic listening. However, it’s not up to snuff if you’re an audiophile and the mids-and bass bleed too much into each other and lose definition. However, if you just want something playing in the background, it’s perfect.
One of the more interesting features of the Nest Hub (Gen 2) is the added Sleep Sensing. Using Soli – Google’s miniature radar technology, the Hub can now track sleep detecting movement, sound, light and even respiratory rates and environmental factors when placed near you when you sleep. The Hub can detect how many times you cough and snore throughout the night and how it affects your sleep. Things your smartwatch can’t typically do.
However, as a partner of someone who has sleep apnea, I can tell you that’s not the whole picture. The sensor technology that a smartwatch uses measures different aspects of your sleep quality and by combining both, you get a better understanding than each by itself. However, you should always consult a doctor when it comes to anything clinical. These devices are not meant to diagnose.
Do not though, Sleep Sensing is currently available for free preview, after which a subscription may be required.
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth have been around for a while now and the Nest Hub (Gen 2) features the latest Bluetooth 5.0 standard. Even more exciting though is the integration of Thread, the latest standard in IOT (Internet of Things).
Thread is designed to create the best way to connect and control products in the home and buildings and is supported by many leading brands such as Google and Apple. Thread creates a mesh network between other thread capable devices as long as they are connected to at least one Thread-enabled Hub increasing the stability and speed considerably over WiFi and Bluetooth.
Unfortunately, while the technology is present in the device, Thread functionality is still currently unavailable and we can only hope that it gets activated via a patch down the line. Apple’s Apple TV 4K, HomePod and HomePod mini remain the only Thread enabled hubs out there from the three major brands. Both Google and Amazon have yet to enable Thread functionality.
The Google Nest Hub (Gen 2) is currently available at SGD 139, which is a cheaper price point than when the Gen 1 was launched, and packs in a ton of features that definitely justifies the price point. However, if you already have the previous generation, you might want to consider holding off until Thread is enabled, or if Sleep Tracking is important to you.
If you don’t have the Nest Hub, Gen 2 is definitely worth considering, especially if HomePod and Echo aren’t available in your region.