Google took to the stage today to launch several new products, one of which is a follow-up to the most successful product they've ever launched in a single category. Google Wifi has been a runaway success on all counts, and the follow-up, Nest Wifi, is an improvement in many key areas.
But the most impressive component in this new mesh Wi-Fi system is undoubtedly The Point, a mesh "satellite" that carries the Router's Wi-Fi signal to the far reaches of space in your home. This design is nothing new, but what's included in its design surely is enticing. Along the lower half of the unit, you'll find what is essentially a Nest Mini; Google's new and improved small Google Assistant speaker with better bass.
The inclusion of that speaker makes all the difference in the world, especially since it works perfectly with the existing Google Wifi system. Those that already have a Google Wifi and need an extra extension to their network can opt for a Nest Wifi Point, which will set them back $150. That's $100 more than the Nest Mini itself and it offers a significant functionality increase when compared to "just" a speaker.
The inclusion of a speaker on The Point is, of course, a brilliant Trojan Horse on Google's behalf, especially for those that might not already have Google/Nest Home speakers in their dwelling. Even for folks that have Google's speakers littered throughout their home, the inclusion of an additional one on a Wi-Fi mesh point means that an additional speaker will likely be placed somewhere in the house where one currently doesn't reside.
That's good news for Google, as it makes Googling things that much easier no matter what room you're in. It also means faster and simpler controls for busy folks who don't want to muck about in app settings or configuration, furthering the idea that Google Nest's home products are the simplest solutions on the market.
As a busy parent, being able to tell Google to shut off WiFi to the kids' devices at dinner or bedtime is an important feature, and I can see this being regularly used in more than just a few households.
It's also important to note that this new speaker isn't any crappy old speaker, it's the new and improved design. That's particularly good because, if you've ever used one of the original Google Home Mini speakers, you'll know the sound quality from the first generation product was rather lacking. Especially in the bass department.
The Point isn't the only highlight though, as The Router has also seen a complete redesign to make it far more design-centric in a modern setting. Both units come in more than just a single white color, too; a bonus for those of us who enjoy a little color in our decor. Inside The Router is a new 4x4 antenna setup for the 5GHz band, enhancing throughput by up to 25% and adding capabilities for more devices to be connected at the same time.
Part of the enhanced speed comes from the processor, which has doubled from 700MHz to 1.4GHz. Google is also including WPA3 wireless security out of the box, providing the best wireless security to date. Surprisingly, Google didn't opt for Wi-Fi 6 support, which would have brought even greater speeds and faster response times to devices that support the new standard. The argument could be made that most devices won't support Wi-Fi 6 for a long time to come, but then the same argument could be made for WPA3 and that doesn't seem to have been a problem for Google's team.
There's also the oddity of not including a speaker on The Router as well as on each Point in the system, which makes for a strange uneven mix of speakers. Other than a design decision there's little reason Google shouldn't have also included a speaker in the main router, especially since many of the marketing videos for Nest Wifi have included audibly asking Google Assistant to perform many WiFi-related functions.
Nest Wifi is an excellent upgrade, no doubt, but there's no reason for existing Google Wifi customers to upgrade their setup for the new hotness unless you just really love those Snow or Sand colors, and that's where Google's biggest opportunity has surely been wasted.
Whole-home Wi-Fi in a snap
Nest Wifi offers a simple way to get Wi-Fi to every corner of your house without all the tinkering and configuration that some mesh Wi-Fi systems require. It's also got powerful security and parental controls, as well as a powerful and high-quality Google Assistant speaker on The Point range extenders.
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