It’s been three years since Google launched its original WiFi router. Back then, it was one of a few mesh WiFi systems available for home use, promising to blanket your house with internet coverage—Today, though, there are many other mesh routers. Now, the devices themselves look more classy ornaments than robotic spiders with tentacular antennae.
Although it never looked as monstrous as typical routers did, the Google WiFi system was starting to feel dated. Good news, then, that the company announced a new version today called Nest WiFi. Instead of having interchangeable routers and repeaters like before, this new mesh system has a base router and companion extenders called Points.
What is the Google Nest Wifi?
This is the second-generation of Google’s mesh network solution, a handy tool that aids internet access throughout your home. It also has some other benefits too, like a fairly easy set-up through the Google Home app. With its switch to a new name, Nest Wifi now has a new design. It’s a lot more rounded than before, and smoother, one can say it has a generally more pleasing look. While these kinds of devices are often ugly and garish, and longing to be hidden away, the Nest Wifi wouldn’t look out of place sitting on a tabletop in your lounge.
The product consists of two major features: the router and the point. Firstly, the router plugs into your modem, picks up a 4×4 antenna and a Bluetooth radio for connecting up smart home kit. There are dual ethernet ports on the back too. One notable omission is support for Wi-Fi 6, which is the latest standard. Instead, Google has stuck with Wi-Fi 5, saying that, the added cost doesn’t warrant the addition yet. This is something of a shame, especially when phones like the Samsung Galaxy S10 and iPhone 11 support it and it helps when more devices are connected to the network.
The second most attractive feature is known as the Points—its slightly smaller, equally as rounded device plugs directly into a plug socket in a different room and features a 2×2 radio along with many of the features of the Nest Mini. The feature can not only boost your Wi-Fi signal, but can serve as a Google Assistant speaker too—It can play music, answer commands and even work as a Bluetooth speaker, so basically, anything the Nest Mini can do this point can do too.
There’s a nice glowing light on the bottom that lets you know when the speaker is on and in terms of sound quality, it’s comparable to the Nest Mini. That means it’s ok for the size but not a full-on speaker replacement.
Price and availability
The Google Nest Wifi is more expensive than its predecessor, coming in at $169 / £149 / AU$269 for just the router. Now, Google does claim that this router will be enough for people whose homes are under 2,200 square feet, but for a comparable Google Wifi, you would have paid $99 (£129, AU$199). That’s a pretty big jump in price.
If your home is larger than 2,200 square feet, you’ll have to shell out for one of the multi-packs. This will essentially be a router plus one or two “Points” which doubles as both a smart speaker and a Wi-Fi repeater. If you want the Nest Wifi router with a single point, you’re looking at $269 / £239 / AU$399, or $349 / AU$549 for the router and two points. And if you want to expand your Wi-Fi network then you will need an additional Nest Wifi Points, for $149 / £129 / AU$229 each.
Pre orders for the Google Nest Wifi are available now, and will be on sale from November 4 in the US. For people in the UK, Australia and any other part of the world, the Google Nest Wifi will be available a bit later, but we’ll be sure to update this hands-on review when we get that information.