So it's been a week of using the new Nest Hub (you can see my unboxing here) and as much as I love having another smart display unit in the house, the big feature you'll be wanting to hear about with this new device is the ability of its Soli Radar chip to read the room and provide you some insight into your sleep patterns.
Sure, the new model has enhanced speakers for some better bass - and I can definitely hear it with this. The morning wake up sound definitely clear and not jarring.
It's perfect for the side of the bed where it's not a large display (only 7") but enough to watch some Youtube or Netflix (so happy when I found how to connect those) while I fold laundry or put away socks.
Sound is just right and the picture is good enough to watch what I need (albeit a tad smaller than I would like).
But, let's get to the Soli features. You can still find some of the original Nest Hub inventory out there for $99CDN - so to buy this for $129CDN the $30 extra isn't going to just be for better audio.
Let's check it out.
We'll take it as read, you know how all the smart display works. It's a great, fairly intuitive interface. Swipe down from the top and you're met with all the tabs for the options of the unit. Options for your smart home items, options for timers and news etc... but what we want to look through when we set this up is the Wellness.
Right right, the Soli chip isn't solely (heh, get it?) for just the room sensing, it's also for very accurate gesture control.
The idea here is that you can use your hands to wave in the air and control either the playback (palm up to pause or play) or you can just give your hand a wave to get your device to snooze. It's almost too easy.
But let's go through the set up of using it to measure our sleep.
So the way the Soli chip works is that it has a specialized light sensor - it's not a camera, it reminds you a lot of this (think of it like the motion sensor you may have by your back porch it's not taking any camera shots, just movement).
Now, you also have the option to share it with Google Fit (and why wouldn't you) or just keep it on the device. I like to have all my health things in one basket, so I'm sharing.
Now, once you enter it in you now have to set up the device physically to best get the effects.
To do that you have to place it near where you're going to sleep, preferably within an arms reach but should also be at the same level of your bed.
Okay, and then it's set up.
Now, it's just a matter of going to bed and seeing what happens.
And then with the holidays it was a weird week of sleep for us. First night we had this loud cat meowling all night and when it stopped my son was throwing up.
Had a couple of 'normal' nights but then some time off meaning I could stay up late and sleep in (I've always been a bit of a night owl).
Then we had some nights where we did some backyard camping - so it would be interesting to see what it makes when I wasn't in the bed.
It was neat to wake up and want to check the data right away, but it would take some time to process - not long, but within a couple minutes I could see the full details on the screen or on my Google Fit app.
Interesting to say the least.
It gives you that typical read out of what time it assumed you went to bed, when did you fall asleep, and then it measures what it heard for snores (curious if it knows it was me or my wife, that's a long standing debate).
I did notice that when I wasn't there for a night it didn't measure any snoring (and she always snores) - so if it doesn't register a presence in the spot, it doesn't capture data.
From that it determines an 'efficiency' as well (assuming it's some sort of how rested you should be).
After a few days it starts to give you a bit of a 'sense' of how things are doing.
Yeah it's been an inconsistent week for sure.
It's neat having this extra piece of data into my health - and really helps seeing it in stark numbers that I go to bed too late. And if I want to sleep better, I can't lie to the machine.
They say, knowing is half the battle - an having another piece of information is better to help with your overall picture. Feed that in to Google Fit and you can see your exercise and sleep, heart rate ... data that will help inform you.
How will you use the information?