When I first pulled the lid off of the Nest Wifi field, the entire thing slipped out of my palms and the {hardware} inside toppled proper out. I might solely watch in horror as Google’s marshmallowy mesh router thunked to the bottom and rolled throughout my lounge’s hardwood flooring.  Fortunately, this method is idiot-proof — and never simply relating to sudden, spontaneous drop checks. You plug it in, you do what the app says and 10 minutes later your new mesh community is up and working and spreading a Wi-Fi sign all through your own home that is about as speedy as you could possibly moderately count on. It’s as simple as establishing a wise speaker, as a result of along with extending the Nest Wifi Router’s vary, every Nest Wifi Point is, itself, a wise speaker. You get considered one of every — the Nest Wifi Router and a Nest Wifi Point with built-in microphones and surprisingly sufficient bass — for $269 (£239, AU$399). The Nest Wifi Router, left, and a range-extending Nest Wifi Point. The holes on the highest of the Point are for the far-field microphones it makes use of to hear on your Google Assistant voice instructions.
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Between the presence of the Google Assistant and the truth that you may run the whole lot via the Google Home app, Nest Wifi asks you to plant a foot in Google’s good residence backyard if you have not finished so already. And it is not low cost. For comparability, the third-gen, three-piece mesh system from Amazon-owned Eero prices $249, or twenty bucks lower than a two-piece Nest Wifi setup. Meanwhile, a brand-new, two-piece Netgear Orbi mesh system prices $129 at Walmart. That’s lower than half of what Google’s asking. Still, Nest Wifi proved quick, dependable and straightforward to make use of, and it edged out Eero and Orbi in my pace checks (sure, even after I dropped it). It would not help the newest, quickest model of Wi-Fi, referred to as Wi-Fi 6, however that solely actually issues should you count on to have an web connection that is sooner than 1,000 megabits per second or so throughout the subsequent few years (do not maintain your breath). It’s an ideal improve for anybody who’s already invested in Google’s web ecosystem of companies and gadgets, significantly those that would welcome the prospect to broaden the Google Assistant’s footprint of their residence. But those that aren’t dedicated to Google at this level could be sensible to buy round, as a result of higher mesh values with comparable protection are already accessible right this moment. View full gallery The Nest Wifi Router solely is available in white, however the Nest Wifi Points are available your selection of three colours.
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A brand new design Google is presently working to heart all of its good residence choices behind a unified Nest model. Hence, what was Google Wifi is now Nest Wifi. Google marked the event with a model new design, sooner prime speeds, and the addition of Google Assistant voice controls in every every Nest Wifi Point. And, in a welcome contact for present customers, all the new {hardware} is backwards-compatible with the previous-gen Google Wifi gear. Nest branding apart, you may management the whole lot by way of the Google Home app, which requires you to have a Google account. The app is clear and pretty easy, and it does an ideal job of strolling you thru a setup course of that is simple to start with. You simply plug the whole lot in, inform the app to attach with the router, after which scan a QR code on the underside of every Point together with your telephone’s digicam. A couple of minutes later, your mesh community will likely be up and working. The Google Home app permits you to create teams of gadgets in your community after which pause their web entry everytime you like. Be afraid, unruly kids.
Screenshots by Ry Crist/CNET
The app would not supply fairly as many options as one thing like a devoted gaming router, however you continue to get some helpful controls over your community. You can view the gadgets related to it and group them collectively, then pause the connection to these gadgets at any time you want, together with with a fast voice command. That’s principally a parental superpower, but it surely’s not unique to Google — most respectable routers some type of device-blocking performance at this level. Nest Wifi may also prioritize site visitors to any of the gadgets in your community, which turns out to be useful should you’re streaming 4K video or gaming on-line. Speaking of gaming, the system will robotically prioritize site visitors for Google Stadia, the search large’s upcoming cloud gaming platform. You solely get one spare gigabit Ethernet port on the underside of Nest’s router — and the Nest Wifi Point would not embrace any Ethernet jacks in any respect.
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As for the {hardware} itself, the Nest Wifi Router and Nest Wifi Point every characteristic a simplistic, inoffensive design that is constructed to mix into your private home without having to be hidden out of sight, the place they will not carry out as nicely. To that finish, the Points are available your selection of three colours, however the Router solely is available in white.  One different quibble: The Router solely features a single spare Ethernet jack, and there are no Ethernet jacks on the Points in any respect. That means you solely get a single wired connection for one thing like a gaming console or a wise residence bridge earlier than you may want to purchase a separate Ethernet hub. It additionally means you possibly can’t run a cable to the Nest Wifi Point to daisy-chain a wired connection for sooner mesh efficiency. You can faucet the highest of the Nest Wifi Point to pause or resume playback, or to regulate the amount. Like with the Nest Mini, indicator lights will present you the place these quantity controls are situated.
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Speaking of the Points, they’re functionally an identical to Google’s Nest Mini good audio system. They embrace entry to all the identical, voice-activated Google Assistant options, in addition to a microphone mute swap within the again and contact controls on prime. Sound high quality is extra of much less on par with the Nest Mini and with different small good audio system such because the Amazon Echo Dot — which is to say that it is excellent for informal listening, however more likely to underwhelm at a home social gathering. Like the Google Wifi earlier than (and like most different mesh networks), the Nest Wifi would not separate the two.4GHz band from the sooner 5GHz band. Instead, it robotically “steers” you between the 2 of them on a single community as you progress all through your private home. This labored nice in my checks, the place I moved from room to room working pace take a look at after pace take a look at — I by no means observed any hiccups within the connection in any respect. The mesh class is getting crowded — and more and more inexpensive.
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Is Nest’s mesh finest? At launch, the Nest Wifi’s prime two opponents are the Eero and Netgear Orbi. Each of these high-profile rivals has a brand new mesh system up on the market this fall, too, and every of them is inexpensive than Nest. With the Eero, you get a three-piece mesh setup for $249, which is $20 lower than Nest’s two-piece setup. With the latest Netgear Orbi system, a two-piece setup prices $129, which is lower than half the worth of Nest’s two-piece setup.

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