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Google’s Nest Wifi mashes up a mesh router with a smart speaker

Google launched a completely redesigned router called Nest Wifi at its annual Pixel hardware event on Tuesday. This was alongside news of Google Stadia’s launch date, the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4XL, the Pixelbook Go, and more. We even got our hands on the Nest Home Mini to review it’s improved design and capabilities.

Contrary to many of the leaks, the Nest Wifi doesn’t look quite as similar to Google smart speakers as we thought it would. It’s a simple, little round with a range of different color options that’s meant to be displayed out in the open.

It does, however, still represent a significant departure from the design of the Google Wifi mesh router. Google says that router was the top-selling mesh Wi-Fi system in the market and the bestselling router of any kind in 2019.

Google says the point of this new design is to not have your router hidden away, which often reduces the speed of your connection. Google wasn’t afraid to call most modern routers ” pretty ugly.”

Underneath the design, all the same smart router functionality that made the original so great is still there. The big addition is the inclusion of all the Google Assistant features that come with a Nest Mini. Sure, you can play music, control smart devices, or ask it questions, but the Wi-Fi-specific features are the most interesting. You can control your network entirely with your voice, pausing internet on specific devices or in certain rooms.

The Nest Wifi is also meant to be a hub for smart home connectivity. Google says it’s working with a “growing list of partners” to enable easier setup in the Home app, so you don’t have to go out and buy a separate hub device.

The one big change from a connectivity standpoint is that unlike the multipack Google Wifi routers that could be connected together wirelessly to spread coverage across your home, the Nest Wifi works more like an Eero mesh router. There’s one actual router, and a “point” that you can buy to extend your coverage. These smaller “points” do work as Google Assistants, they just aren’t actual routers.

It goes on sale on November 4. A two-pack sells for $269, while the three-pack sells for $349.


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