Google has officially announced the new Nest Audio smart speaker, the latest in its line of smart speakers powered by the Google Assistant. The Nest Audio replaces the original Google Home from 2016 as Google’s midrange smart speaker, slotting above the Nest Mini and below the Nest Max in the lineup. It costs $99.99 and will be available starting October 5th in 21 countries. You can preorder it right now.
Unlike the Google Home’s air freshener aesthetic, the Nest Audio’s soft rounded corners and vaguely rectangular shape make it more reminiscent of a loaf of bread standing on its end. Like the Nest Mini, it’s completely wrapped in fabric, which you can get in a few different colors. Also like the other Nest speakers, there are four colored LEDs embedded in the fabric that light up when the speaker hears or responds to a voice command. You can choose between dark gray, light gray, green, pink, or blue color options.
Aside from the new design and upgraded audio, the Nest Audio does everything other Google Assistant speakers do: play music, control smart home devices, tell you the weather, and so on. You can pair multiple units in stereo or other configurations for multiroom audio setups.
Google claims the Nest Audio is 75 percent louder than the Google Home it replaces, and has 50 percent stronger bass response. Its enclosure is made from 70 percent recycled plastic. It’s equipped with a 19mm tweet and a 75mm mid-woofer.
Google’s main competitor here is Amazon, which just revamped its popular Echo smart speakers. The Nest Audio goes head-to-head with the standard Echo, which also sells for $99. The main differences between them are design — the Echo is now a sphere compared to Google’s loafy rectangle — and the voice assistant that powers them, Google Assistant for the Nest and Alexa for the Echo. We’ll have to wait until we’re able to compare them side by side to determine which one is the better-sounding speaker.