The two-year period between a unit launch and the proposed follow-up often entails a number of changes and improvements. The original Nest Hub – formerly Home Hub – has now been replaced by Nest Hub 2nd generation, and it raises questions about what’s right for you.
The small Smart Display has proven to be one of the most useful smart home products from Google in recent years. It is a great companion in many rooms in your home, no matter where you want the little speaker to live.
It probably does not help that Nest Hub and Nest Hub (2nd generation) look almost identical at first glance. There̵
Video – Nest Hub vs. Nest Hub (2nd generation): What’s new?
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Design and hardware
Google Nest Hub is basically a (low resolution) monitor that is attached at an angle to a fabric-covered speaker – which acts as a base. This design formula is exactly the same for the original Nest Hub and 2nd generation. However, there are a few improvements in the quality of life that make sense if you have ever used the original.
You can get Nest Hub 2nd generation in exactly the same colors as before, including chalk, charcoal, fog and sand. This means that if you want to add a new model or replace the original in a room, you can just replace it without affecting the style of your home. It is important to note that the full color spectrum is available outside the United States for the first time on a 2nd generation device.
Round back, the damper switch has changed a bit, it is more rounded and protrudes a little longer. This makes it easier to turn on or off without having to switch Nest Hub 2nd generation around. The volume rocker stays in the same position, allowing you to control only the volume levels on the left side.
Google claims almost 50% good bass response on the latest Nest Hub compared to the original, while there is a third microphone for voice control detection and wire radio. However, this is not live at launch. The largest new hardware addition is from the Soli radar chip, which is located in the upper right corner of the display frame. This enables some new control methods and sleep tracking, which will probably be the biggest selling points of the new Smart Display.
Unfortunately, the new Nest Hub 2nd generation does not improve the 7-inch screen resolution. The LCD panel is practically the same with some notable additional adjustments that enhance usability. It’s still below 720p at 1024 x 600 pixels, but unlike a tablet or smartphone, the distances you see from it mean it’s sharp enough to see most things.
The fixed screen angle remains the same, which is perfect for visibility and placement on many surfaces in and around the home or office. Maximum brightness has not changed either, with the Ambient EQ working wonders on both screens.
One of the most notable changes is the removal of the lip or protruding outer frame on the Nest Hub 2nd generation. This is a two-part bonus, as it makes sweeping from the edges a little easier, plus it has the added bonus of not collecting dust, dirt and grime in the small gap. These are minor changes, but major long-term improvements in the quality of life of a piece of technology that seamlessly blends into your home without a second thought.
Tracking and controls
Tracking and control methods are where the biggest differences can be found between the original Nest Hub and the 2nd generation model. While the Soli radar chip may never return on a Pixel phone, Google has incorporated radar technology into the new Nest Thermostat and now the new Nest Hub.
Voice controls are still a key component of these assistant-powered smart screens, but the newer model includes some hand-waving capabilities. You can tap to stop and play music, but unfortunately you cannot wave your hand to control music or the interface. We hope this comes in a future update, but for now you are limited to stopping and playing music. It works well and is pretty darn accurate.
A major new inclusion that uses the Soli chip is sleep tracking. When placed in your bedroom, you can analyze your sleep patterns and routines without having to use Fitbit or a similar exercise tracker. Using radar technology, Nest Hub 2nd generation can detect specific sleep disorders such as coughing and snoring, it can also detect light and temperature changes in your bedroom and analyze what affects your sleep patterns.
You can get daily updates on the Nest Hub Home screen, but all your sleep data is tracked and visible in the Google Fit app for easy access. It assesses your sleep and is even able to determine the quality of each cycle as well. The original Nest Hub only offers touch and voice controls, but saves air movement and sleep tracking, the overall experience is almost identical.
All the usual home controls and voice-driven commands remain the same on both devices. It is worth noting that performance is still not what we would call “fantastic”, but it is worth noting that Nest Hub and Nest Hub 2nd generation are meant to be passive devices. That means occasional controls and low-powered home buttons for your smart home technology.
Nest Hub Vs. Nest Hub (2nd generation): Should I upgrade or what should I choose?
If you already have the original Nest Hub, unless you really want non-contact controls and sleep tracking, stick to what you have. The upgrades are quite minimal, but if you want to add sleep tracking to the arsenal of your favorite name house, Nest Hub 2nd generation is a first candidate.
Factor in the rather small $ 10 price increase compared to the original and the aforementioned quality of life improvements, and that’s pretty much a steal. If you do not care about hands-free controls or sleep tracking, you can get a solid deal on the older model.
You can get Nest Hub 2nd generation at several retailers, including Google Store, Walmart, Best Buy, Target and more.
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