Google Nest Hub (2nd generation)
“The Google Nest Hub (2nd generation) offers accurate sleep tracking without the discomfort of a wearable thanks to its sleep detection function.”
Accurate sleep tracking
Tons of data about your sleep
$ 100 starting price
Only a few new functions compared to the previous model
The roots of the smart home go back a long way before the Google Assistant ever became a virtual assistant in the home, but it wasn’t until the arrival of the Nest Hub in 2018 that we got a real hub to control the smart home. Countless smart displays have been released since then, including a big brother in the Nest Hub Max, which had a front-facing camera whose functionality didn’t just act as a smart display.
The new Google Nest Hub (2nd generation) differs from all other smart displays through its sleep monitoring function. It’s an addition you wouldn’t necessarily expect, especially on a smart display, but is it enough to make it a proper successor?
Wearable-free sleep tracking
There was a time when I tracked my sleep at night using a fitness tracker or smartwatch. I found the information they gathered useful, but the reason I stopped was limited to two things – they needed to be charged (daily on most smartwatches) and having something on my wrist when I fell asleep was not comfortable . The thought of tracking sleep without physically wearing anything has an immense appeal for me.
John Velasco / Digital Trends
This is precisely the main selling point of Sleep Sensing with the Google Nest Hub (2nd generation). Thanks to the Soli technology, which detects my movement and breathing, I can fall asleep without a wearable thanks to the radar sensor, so I no longer have to worry about other conventional trackers. Best of all, the discreet way it achieves its sleep tracking abilities gets better knowing it works without any interaction on my part.
At first I was skeptical about how well the Google Nest Hub (2nd generation) could track and monitor my sleep. I found out how surprisingly accurate it is after the first night. After I’ve turned on sleep sensing and enabled my typical sleep and wake times, I don’t need anything else to make it work – except for sleeping, of course.
John Velasco / Digital Trends
When I wake up the next morning and ask the Google Assistant how I slept, a dashboard appears on the smart display listing all the important details. I’m even more amazed at some of the stats it got from my sleep, how long I went from falling asleep (it took me 1 hour and 25 minutes on a weekend) and the time it took to fall asleep for me to follow when I wake up from bed (46 minutes). It can even measure my breathing rate, which is considered average at 17 breaths per minute (rpm).
Sleep Sensing also monitors my sleep for snoring, coughing, and restlessness – all to determine my sleep efficiency. Based on the data, I am nowhere near able to get the 85% to 95% efficiency rating that I should be aiming for with my sleep. This makes sense when you consider that the Google Nest Hub (2nd generation) knows that I get out of bed and “wake up” around 5:00 am most days of the week. This is correct because the cats then start trampling me all over the place. This is how I know that the Nest Hub’s sleep detection is accurate, even when my fiancé is sleeping in bed next to me.
You can also use the Google Fit app on a smartphone to check all the details. Though I find it a little annoying to have to download another app to view the information. In my opinion, it would be more useful to integrate it with the Google Home app as it is the app that I use to control my smart home devices.
Sleep tracking is not for everyone
If you’re like me and have a specific sleep routine, e.g. For example, one where cats wake you up and force you to sleep on the couch, the Nest Hub’s sleep tracking feature isn’t particularly useful – mainly because the data didn’t paint an accurate representation of your sleep. Unless I take the Nest Hub to the couch or something, but who does it? For me, sleep tracking is not a main selling point that I would look for with a smart display.
I am even more amazed at some of the statistics it populates from my sleep.
Still, I can understand how knowledge is power. There is actually a sleep report that looks at sleep data and offers some tips on how to improve that data. In my case, I am told to stop checking my phone before bed and do it when I wake up instead. After all, sleep monitoring definitely paints an accurate picture of my sleep – something I can’t get enough of on weekdays thanks to the cats. Another obvious pattern confirmed by the Nest Hub (2nd Generation) is my weekend sleep.
Same age, same age
There’s an obvious reason I’ve spent a lot of time talking about sleep sensors. To be honest, this latest model hardly differs from its predecessor. Everything else about this smart display is no different. From its 7-inch LCD touchscreen, which I will once again admit, is a feast for the eyes because it makes photos realistically lifelike thanks to its Ambient EQ mode, to its compact design with a similar fabric cover for its base nothing terrible about it.
John Velasco / Digital Trends
Because it’s a smart home hub, you can still access and control many of your connected devices at home – both through voice actions using the Google Assistant and by interacting with the various on-screen dashboards. What’s missing here is a camera, something I honestly would rather have because of the extra utility it would offer.
Companion at the bed
This brings me to my final point that, due to the lack of a camera, I’m more of a bedside companion. Without one, people will likely still put them in their bedroom, which makes perfect sense since the marquee feature here is sleep tracking. There is a little point in putting it anywhere other than your bed.
While technically it can live on your desk, kitchen counter, or coffee table in the living room like any other smart display with similarly sized displays, you are effectively negating the most notable function.
It’s a tough job for the Google Nest Hub (2nd gen), largely because it’s basically the same smart display we’ve seen before when you take sleep detection out of the equation. Thankfully, the start-up cost for this model is $ 100, which is still better than the $ 149 initial cost of the original Google Nest Hub. Unless you sleep adamantly, it’s hard to justify choosing this over other current smart displays.
How long it will take?
Google’s sustainability efforts are presented here again with the Nest Hub (2nd generation). It’s made from 54% recycled plastic, which adds to its lightweight feel. Even so, it feels solid and I’m confident that it can withstand most falls from short heights. There is a one year limited warranty that covers defects.
Is there a better alternative?
Similarly in size and size, the Lenovo Smart Display 7 is the most logical alternative as it covers the basic functions while also including a camera that can be used for video calls. The Google Nest Hub Max remains the undisputed king of smart displays despite its more expensive $ 229 cost, as it can replace three products – a powerful smart speaker, a smart display, and a surveillance camera.
If the Google ecosystem isn’t your thing, the Amazon Echo Show 8 and Echo Show 10 (3rd Generation) are perfect solutions if you prefer Alexa.
Should you buy it?
Yes, if sleep is important to you and you don’t want to be bothered by annoying wearables, you will fall in love with it. If not, you’d better try to find the older model with a discount.