Google Nest Audio - medium sized box, big sound punch

I love my Google Home minis... I have almost too many in my home.

Almost too many, some might say.  But not me.  They're great and all for controlling our lights, answering our questions, casting something to the TV, listening to the radio.  I say radio as it's okay for music, but not great.

I have my Nest mini in my office set up as my speaker for my Pixelbook, but if I really want to jam out, I put on some headphones, or use a bigger speaker.

Well, not anymore.  Welcome to the Nest Audio - you can see how big it is when I unboxed it.  

I like it, it's a little larger, and takes a little bit of thinking on where it will go specifically as I'd set up the house with minis to fit tucked away with those little holders, or I 3D printed a mini R2D2 for it to sit on my son's desk.

But it's worth it.  Being able to make the little bit of extra space makes a huge diffrence in sound for you.

Plus, the bonus if you can get 2... you now have some really good bookshelf speakers.  Smart bookshelf speakers.

Setting up this big boys is a cinch.

Take them out of the package, plug them in (it is a different barrel connector than the plugs for the minis) and then load up your phone.

If you're me, I got a notice immediately from my phone that asked me to set up this speaker.

If you don't see it you can just go to the Home app and tap to add a new device.

From then you go through the main set up and you learn how this speaker works.  The 'buttons' are on top for you to tap, and in similar Home style, it's middle for play/pause, then left and right sides are vol- and vol+ respectively.

Then I put it through its paces.

I started to play some music from my phone's services (and it really... and I mean REALLY got my blood boiling about YouTube Music and what a POS that service is... breathe, Ryan, breathe... not the time 'nor place for that).

They recommended that we really play around with the styles of music - and I have a wide ecclectic taste for music.

One of the words they used, really kept echoing back to me as I played around with it, was clear.

No matter what I threw at it, pipebands, pop, classic rock, funk, metal... it all came out clear.

It wasn't as LOUD as I had hoped, but not everything can be a Home Max - but it was clean.

Every instrument was heard, whether I was standing next to it at a lower volume, or across the room at a louder volume, nothing out muffled the others.

You could go in and play with the EQ settings on it, however I didn't want to do that and then have to change it for every style of music, so the natural settings seemed best.

I really liked it.

And then it only got better as I had a second speaker then to add in to the mix.

Sure, these are not as cheap as the minis... being able to nab those for just $40 or so really helps with the ability to want one in every room... these are $130CDN each.  A little pricier, and if you want 2, then that's $260.

But, I think about what a decent set of bookshelf speakers go for and that's about appropriate (plus you get a smart speaker), let alone the Home Max is $250 (on sale from $400).  So for just $10 more you can separate the sound for a real discrete stereo separation.  Now there probably is something to say about the Home Max which has more mics to really fine tune the room - their Room EQ options, and they habitually do not push out the tech specs of the Wattage of either to know if we're comparing apples to apples, but I think you'd be as close as to not split hairs.

Anyways, you can now have 2 of these, and pair them up.  It's too bad I can't pair up my minis in the same way, this is a feature that's only available with the Nest Audios.

Setup for the pair is fairly simple. 

You'll need to have set up the second model as well, and hopefully you set them up in the same 'room' in your home and then go into one of them and choose to set up speaker pair.

Choose the other Nest Audio on your network, then one will blink and you tell the system if it's the Left or Right speaker, and then you give them a room.

You can see that I made the mistake of pairing them up as one was upstairs and one was downstairs... once I started to play music, I was only getting the Left audio, and then the unsuspecting family members upstairs were subjected to Right audio.

I've set them both up now in my office on my tables behind my desk so that I can then set up my Pixelbook to Bluetooth connect to one of them, and then by virtue it splits L/R amongst the 2.  

It's pretty slick.  With BT it's a little bit of a lag to play some PUBG on Stadia (took me a game or 2 to realize that if it's behind me, that I should swap the L/R).

Oh, and all this throws in your Google Assistant; can't forget that.  But, I think by this point most everybody who's anybody knows all about the Assistant and what it can do.  They did start to roll out (I don't recall this feature on others before this speaker) the feature to move audio from one set of speakers to another room, or another device.  Now, I had some issues with it saying sometimes I needed a "Premium Account", and almost made me flip tables, and other times it worked just fine.  I'm chalking that up to a YTM eff-up.  Sigh.

Overall, if you want one... it's a little pricey - but the sound is WAY better than your mini.  If you want sound, you're going to want 2.  At $250 that's pricey but it 's definitely worth it for the sound quality, the true stereo separation.  You'll enjoy the sound (now if Google can only fix it's music issues).