Google’s wide selection of their smart home devices has been out in the market for a while now and the innovations have never stopped just yet. Before purchasing any of them, we provided a detailed guide to let you know the different features of each gadget to give you an idea which ones will work best for your home.
As Amazon’s Echo products boast of their Alexa-enabled features, Google, on the other hand, has not failed to step up its game and be as advanced in the competition. From Google Home to Google Nest devices, one won’t surely get enough of the wide variety of smart products available, which include the following:
- home displays
- security locks and alarm systems
- smoke detectors
These smart devices can literally be your assistant at home whether you want to play some music while you’re in the bathroom, set your kitchen timer while you cook, or even see how your kids are doing while you’re outside. Too good to be true? Well yeah, it’s like you’ve got a genie in a bottle who turns your every wish into his command. No wonder why they’re called “smart”.
Now let’s take a look on which gadget does what, and see how differently one is created from the other.
Originally released in 2016, Google Home is the pioneer of the Google Smart lineup. It is a smart speaker that has voice-activated features able to control the smart home, play music sounds and set timers. Since its launch, physical features haven’t changed much but the built-in A.I. called the Google Assistant has had some upgrades to date. It now can acknowledge several different voices, respond with particular details of your personal info (such as how you want your name to be pronounced), be compatible with more smart home devices, and act as a Bluetooth speaker in one.
Measuring approximately 15×10 cm, it comes in white colour with a grey bottom. Just connect to WiFi and pair with other smart home devices, and you can now ask Google to stream your favourite songs or movies on your TV or to simply dim the smart lights for a cozier ambience.
RRP: $149 AUD
Google Home Mini
For a more space-saving, compact and cheaper version of the Google Home, you may opt to avail its little sibling, the Google Home Mini. Both pretty have similar A.I. features except for sound quality the bass is more prominent in larger Google Home.
As the name suggests, Google Home Mini presents the miniature version of Google Home with a height of only about 4.06 cm and a diameter of 9.65 cm. You can choose among its three fabric cover designs of Chalk (white), Charcoal (black), or Coral (red).
RRP – discontinued
Google Home Max
Party people will definitely enjoy this bigger smart speaker because of the high audio quality it presents. It comes in 2 fabric designs of chalk and charcoal. It weighs around 4.9 kgs with dimensions of 19.05×33.78×15.49 cm.
RRP: $198 AUD
Google Nest Mini
As a Google Home Mini successor, Google Nest Mini was released in late 2019. Aesthetic-wise, there’s not much difference except for the added colour design of light blue fabric called Sky. The previous 4 tiny LED dots in the middle have been added with two more, one on each of the sides that light up when tapped as you control the volume. The audio is also said to be an improved version on this one, making the bass sound twice louder than the previous model. It also features a hole on the back that makes it easy to mount, which was not possible on the older Google Home Mini.
Google Nest Hub (previously known as Google Home Hub)
If you prefer a rather more striking experience with Google Assistant, this 17.78-cm home display can give you that. With this awesome addition to the Nest family, it allows you to play YouTube videos, browse on your Google photos, or even organize your calendar for a more personalized routine to name a few. I use one of these as my alarm clock, the light sensors allow for the screen to dull when the lights are off. It’s also compatible with the video streaming service Stan in Australia.
RRP: $99 AUD
Google Nest Hub Max
If the previous Google Nest Hub screen seems too small, then this Google Nest Hub Max is for you. It has a 25.4 cm screen that allows you to enjoy movie streamings accompanied by the more powerful audio quality for a better theatre-like experience.
Another crystal clear upgrade for this device is the presence of a camera, both rear and front-facing. With this, you can do video calls unlike with the Google Nest Hub where you won’t be visible on your caller’s end.
A cheaper alternative to expensive security companies for their home monitoring services. This sleek, DIY security system is very easy to install and can instantly connect along with your other smart home devices.
How secured can you get? Well, it boasts of its highly sensitive sensors that can detect even the slightest movements from someone or if you are coming close to the device. It also has a built-in siren that alerts trespassers and connects well to the security cameras for a more intensive guarding. If a door or window is either opened or closed, it tells you the activity real-time.
Components of Nest Secure
This is the brain of the entire security system. It is a small, white cylinder with a 9.4 cm diameter and a height of 5.33 cm and a numeric keypad on top for the passcodes. It can turn the security on & off, detect movements, sound the alarms, and assist other devices to communicate with each other.
This is a small keychain-like gadget that allows you to turn on & off the security system without the need to enter the passcode by simply placing it on top of the Nest Guard. It is 3.81 cm in diameter and 0.76 cm in thickness, and you can easily attach it to your car keys as it has a fob that holds it.
These sensors are two white tube-like (8.13×2.03 cm) devices with corresponding magnets (3.30×1.02 cm) that can detect when a door opens or closes and if there’s motion in a room at up to 4.57 meters.
This downloadable application lets you monitor how your other Nest products are doing. As an integral component of Nest Secure, it lets you arm or disarm the security system from afar with just a click on your mobile. And if you happen to forget to set the alarm, it can give you notifications as a reminder.
*Not yet available in Australia
Nest X Yale Lock
Nest has partnered with the popular lock brand Yale and produced this smart lock for added security right at your doorstep. It can automatically lock or unlock the door as you enter and leave, and remotely you can arm or disarm it as well.
RRP: $279 AUD
Nest Hello Doorbell*
What makes this device special is the built-in camera on top that allows you to check from your phone or the smart displays you have whoever is at your door before actually opening it. But first make sure to subscribe to this video recording app called Nest Aware for a more worthy feature like face recognition.
Similar to most doorbells, this is a small, oval-shaped tool with the button positioned at the bottom. It measures 11.68×4.32 cm, with a 2.54 cm depth aesthetic design.
*Not yet available in Australia
Nest Learning Thermostat
This is designed to set the temperature in your home depending on the weather for a more relaxed ambience inside, this canister-like device measures 8.13×8.13×4.06 cm and has a full-colour display.
- Heat-Cool (when it’s hot in daytime and cold in nighttime or vice versa)
It also automatically turns off once you leave the house.
*Not yet available in Australia due to not being compatible with most of our heating or cooling units.
Nest Thermostat E
This is the smaller and less expensive version. It practically functions the same as its big bro, only that it does have lesser wire terminals, making it compatible with limited smart home devices only. It measures 8.10 cm in diameter and has a frosted display.
*Not yet available in Australia due to compatibility as well.
This is the smart smoke detector that can alert your phone not just if smoke or carbon monoxide is present but also from where it is coming from. Furthermore, you can turn the alarm off with just a tap and it can also tell you if the battery is running low.
It measures 13.46×13.46 cm (HxW) with a thickness of 3.81 cm. It has a ring light in the middle that can light up at night once it detects that you’re walking around the room.
RRP: $189 AUD
Nest Cam Indoor
You can keep an eye on your home with this smart camera and can even let you talk to the person in the other room remotely. Also, if you subscribe to Nest Aware, it can provide you with up to one month recorded footage.
Nest Cam IQ Indoor
This has similar features as the Nest Cam Indoor, but with a higher 4K sensor, and the ability to distinguish animate from inanimate objects and even recognize specific people.
Nest Cam Outdoor & Nest Cam IQ Outdoor
These two are basically the exterior counterparts of the above-mentioned security cameras respectively that you can avail for a much cheaper price than other outdoor security cameras. They are all designed to withstand all weathers so you won’t have to worry about its resistance.
Google Nest Tips
Did you know that your smart home speakers can actually let you play interactive games? Simply say, “Hey Google! Let’s play a game.” (or you can specify the game you like).
Here’s a list of the games to choose from:
- Memory and Trivia Games
(Ding Dong Coconut, Star Wars Trivia Challenge, Animal Trivia, Lucky Trivia, Math Logic, Riddle Room, Who Invented)
- Guessing Games and Quizzes
(Song Pop, Akinator, Mystery Sounds, Wait Wait Quiz, Movie Quiz, Fortnite Quiz)
- Adventure Games
(Sub War, The Vortex, The Darkness at Innsmouth
- Party Games
(Freeze Dance, Never Have I Ever, Truth or Dare)
The list goes on and on as Google keeps more. These will keep you entertained for years to come.
Now isn’t that a great reason to stay at home during COVID lockdown? While there are many smart devices to choose from, still don’t forget to always take into account what your living space really needs plus the budget you allot is definitely a major matter to consider. I find it best to try and keep within a few different smart home ecosystems so you can control everything with the same apps and voice devices.