When we looked at NETGEAR's Orbi Voice, it made complete sense to have a voice-activation speaker integrated into a mesh WiFi satellite. Instead of having two devices on your shelf, you can have one. We couldn't understand why neither Google nor Amazon had integrated the two themselves. Well, now Google has with the Nest Wifi, which brings Google Home voice and Google Wifi into a single package.
The Google Nest Wifi devices have the same diminutive squat profile as their non-voice predecessor, but with a comelier rounded appearance. The basic setup consists of two different, non-interchangeable devices, with quite contrasting specifications.
The router has an AC2200 rating, with 4×4 antennas for 5GHz and 2×2 antennas for 2.4GHz, providing up to 1,733Mbits/sec of 802.11ac and up to 450Mbits/sec of 802.11n. It also sports a pair of Gigabit Ethernet LAN connections – one for the broadband, and one for a wired device.
The mesh WiFi satellite only has an AC1200 rating, with 2×2 antennas for both 5GHz and 2.4GHz. So the performance is just up to 867Mbits/sec of 802.11ac and 300Mbits/sec of 802.11n. It has no physical LAN ports but has a trick up its sleeve – there's a Google Home speaker built in. This consists of a 40mm driver and far-field microphones that hook into Google Assistant, so you can say “OK Google” or “Hey Google” and search or activate various functions.
There's no way the Google Nest Wifi will deliver the same audio performance as NETGEAR's Orbi Voice – the speaker is much smaller and there's no subwoofer. With a dual-band configuration and lower AC rating, the WiFi performance is likely to be lower too. However, the two-device bundle we reviewed is only £239, which is £200 less than the Orbi Voice when it came out, although you could buy it for £280 at the time of writing.
Either way, if you prefer Google Home to Amazon Alexa, and fancy a smaller, less obtrusive device, the Google Nest Wifi could be just what you're after. Let's find out if Google's option is worth a punt.
Wireless protocols: MU-MIMO with 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz, 802.11a/n/ac 5GHz
Performance: Router: AC2200 (1,733 + 450 Mbits/sec); Satellite: AC1200 (867 + 300 Mbits/sec)
Antenna Configuration: Router: 4×4 internal antennas for 5GHz, 2×2 internal antennas for 2.4GHz; Speaker Satellite: 2×2 internal antennas for 2.4GHz and 5GHz
Ports: Router: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet WAN; Speaker Satellite: None
Speaker: 40mm driver; Far-field microphones
Modem Support: VDSL/ADSL 2+ or cable
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