Google Nest Wifi is now available in the Netherlands. We started testing this mesh system and talk about our experiences. Google Nest Wifi promises better performance and brings Google Wifi and Home together. In this review you can read about our experiences!
When we tested the first Google Wifi system in 2016, the idea of a mesh system was still very new. Meanwhile, there are plenty of options from brands such as Netgear and (Amazon) Eero. In the meantime, developments have progressed and it is time for something new: Nest Wifi. Google Nest Wifi promises 25 percent better coverage and twice the speed of its predecessor. You can also now use the Nest Wifi point as a speaker for music and the Google Assistant.
The Google Nest Wifi is (soon) available at BCC , Bol.com , Coolblue , MediaMarkt and the Google Store. We tested the router + point combination at the iCulture office, a large open space of about 80 square meters.
If you are looking for a way to improve your Wi-Fi signal or if you want better performance on your network for gaming, for example, a mesh system such as Nest Wifi may be just the solution you are looking for. However, don’t expect fine-meshed settings for your router – you have to go to the mesh systems from Netgear and Linksys for that. Google emphasizes simplicity and features that the majority of consumers require.
For example, there are parental control settings and you can prioritize certain internet traffic. It looks nice and it is easy to install.
Specifications Google Nest Wifi
These are the main specs of the Google Nest Wifi:
- WiFi: 802.11ac / dual band mesh (IEEE 802.11s / a / b / g / n / ac, AC2200 2 × 2 Wi-Fi, expandable mesh; dual band 2.4GHz and 5GHz, beamforming)
- Wi-Fi chip: Qualcomm QCS 400 family
- Bluetooth: Bluetooth LE
- Processor: 1.4 GHz ARM CPU (quad-core, 64-bit)
- Memory: 1GB RAM (router); 768MB RAM (point)
- Storage: 4GB flash (router); 512MB flash (point)
- Ports: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports (on router only)
- Router dimensions: 110mm diameter, 90.4mm height (router)
- Tip dimensions: 102.2mm diameter, 87.2mm height (tip)
- Weight: 380g (router); 350g (point)
- Number of antennas: 4
Design Google Nest Wifi
Google has also succeeded in creating a fun and at the same time unobtrusive design with these WiFi points. They have a round organic shape, are made of matte plastic and are small in size. You can easily hide them behind a plant, but you can also place them in plain sight on a bookshelf or even on your coffee table. The dots are slightly smaller than the router. Google includes two power cables and an Ethernet cable.
Because of the neutral colors and the round shapes, it always fits in your interior. The router is white, but you can optionally choose light brown or light blue for the points. The set we tested was completely white, as in the photos.
There are no visible physical buttons on it. The router has two Ethernet ports and a power cable. There are no USB ports to connect external storage, for example. Furthermore, there is only an LED lamp, which lights up when you are connected.
The WiFi point has touch-sensitive control buttons and is immediately recognizable by the hole pattern on the bottom, in front of the speaker that spreads 360-degree sound. This is a 40mm driver. There are also four microphones (at the top) and a round LED lamp, which lights up when you give voice commands. You can also switch off this LED lighting via the app. It also has a mute button.
You will not find Ethernet ports at the WiFi points, making them less flexible in use than their predecessors.
Installation Google Nest Wifi
The installation for creating your Nest Wifi network is quite simple. You go through a few steps, but it is important that you need a smartphone or tablet, because you cannot configure this router via a desktop browser. It will take you about 15 minutes.
You start by installing the Google Home app, if you don’t already have one. You create a house and give it a name. Then wait for the software to scan which Nest Wifi routers have been found in the area. You scan the QR code at the bottom to connect. Colored rings indicate that the connection has been made. You then have to give some approvals, for example for recording statistics.
When you’re done with the router, move on to the Wi-Fi point. You have to place this a maximum of two rooms away and plug it into the socket. After scanning and entering a name, you will hear a tune to confirm the link. You can ensure that the speaker recognizes your personal voice, but we immediately ran into a problem: Google Nest Wifi does not work well with business (G-Suite) accounts.
Before mesh systems emerged, setting up a wireless network throughout your home was not so easy. With systems such as the Google Nest Wifi, it is a lot easier. Thanks to the step-by-step explanation in the app, nothing can actually go wrong. For example, the Google Home app knows that you have a double pack and immediately asks for the WiFi point after installing the router. The app tests the network and lets you know if it is good.
Of course you are not quite done yet: you will also have to make sure that your smart home devices are connected to the network again. The great thing is that 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz are combined on one network, so it works seamlessly with smart home devices that require 2.4GHz.
Also useful is the possibility to group devices. This way you can put all computers in a separate group, so that you can switch off the Wi-Fi during dinner and screen-free time. All other devices that need to be turned on 24 hours a day are in a different group and remain connected to the Internet.
Performance Google Nest Wifi
The Google Nest Wifi router is actually a computer. There is a 1.4GHz quad-core processor with 1GB RAM and 4GB flash memory, supplemented with a Qualcomm chip for the wireless connection. The Wi-Fi points are technically a bit less equipped, with 768MB RAM and 512MB storage. A special security chip ensures that only official firmware updates from Google can be installed. As security, WPA3 was chosen, a fairly new standard that is not yet supported everywhere. You can also use WPA2.
We installed the router near the wall in our office. We placed the point in the conference room, about 10 meters away. This worked fine and provided a fast and stable connection. At the WiFi point, the speed was about 75% of the maximum speed at the router.
In most homes you will need a router and one point. If your house is slightly larger, you can purchase an extra point. People with a small studio apartment may only need the router.
The nice thing is that it also has a speaker, so you can also listen to music and give commands. We found that the WiFi point is fine as an extra speaker. The sound sounded better than that of the Google Nest Mini, which we’ve been using for a while.
There is no speaker in the router and no support for Google Assistant.
However, there is also a major disadvantage with this Google system: there is no Wi-Fi 6 support, although this is strongly on the rise. Last year, the first Wi-Fi 6-capable devices became available and that is only going to increase. Yet the Nest Wifi only works with version 5 (formerly 802.11ac) and we find that a strange choice. You immediately have a router that does not have the latest technology on board. Incidentally, the advantages of Wi-Fi 6 will only come into play later and it is not that important for the average user. But oh well: you don’t replace a router that often.
Of course, you buy the Nest Wifi mainly because you want good coverage for your wireless network. The fact that it has a Google Assistant function is a bonus. But there is even more in it, namely Family Wi-Fi and Guest Network. We already found them on the Google Wifi and both are very useful if you have a lot of people over the floor.
Family Wi-Fi is useful for families with children: you can specify when Wi-Fi is switched off, for example during bedtime. You can also ask the Google Assistant to turn off Wi-Fi. You can also indicate via the Google Home app that adult content will be blocked.
The Guest Network is useful if you often have people visiting. You can create a separate guest network so you can freely share its password. You can also give guests targeted access to certain devices, such as a Google Chromecast. You can also ensure that the password is visible on the Nest Hub, so that guests can easily type it in. As an Apple user, there is of course a simpler solution: you can share your Wi-Fi without revealing the password .
Easily give friends access to your Wi-Fi network, without having to know the password. In this tip, we explain how to give guests access to your network, without revealing your password immediately.
There’s more to it:
you can prioritize a particular device, you can run a speed test, check if the connection is good and how many devices are connected. You can connect up to 100 devices. You can arrange this via the Google Home app.
It is a pity that you also run into restrictions here if you have a business Google account. You cannot add personal Google accounts to the family, so services such as YouTube Music Premium (linked to the personal account) cannot be used.
- Stylish appearance, unobtrusive
- Better performance than Google Wifi
- Wifi points are also speakers
- Google Assistant
- Easy to install
- Easily set up guest network
- Fast and stable network
- No Ethernet connection at points
- Restrictions for corporate Google accounts (especially for assistant)
- Few configuration options
- No support for Wi-Fi 6
If you already use Google products and services a lot, then Google Nest Wifi fits in perfectly. It provides a fast and reliable internet connection and you increase the range of your network, especially if you suffer from blind spots. You can always add an extra point, although this is quite pricey (€ 139 each).
It’s a great mesh system, but keep in mind that the configuration options are limited and it doesn’t have Wi-Fi 6 support. The latter makes the solution less future-proof. If more and more Wi-Fi 6 devices are released, it makes more sense to choose a suitable Wi-Fi 6 router .
Buy Google Nest Wifi or not?
There are more and more Wi-Fi devices in your home and it may therefore make sense to look for a better solution for your wireless network. A mesh network is still a fairly pricey solution, but if you can save a lot of frustration with it, it is also worth something. If you have a Google household, you can still opt for the Google Wifi from 2017, which still performs well. But if you want something better, we recommend the Nest Wifi.
The older system does have a slightly different installation. For example, you use the Google Wifi app for certain tasks. The advantage of the Nest Wifi is that you get a Google Home speaker included. That saves space.
These are the prices:
- Router + point: € 259
- Router only: € 159
- Extra point: € 139
A set with router and point from Google costs € 259, about the same as a package with 3 pieces of Eero of € 279 (you have to import these yourself from Germany or another country). However, Google offers better coverage and faster speeds than Eero. If you choose the Eero Pro or the systems from Linksys or Netgear, you usually lose more money. In itself you have a great deal with the Google Nest Wifi, as far as we are concerned. We do think the price for extra points is quite high.