Great for entertainment
Easy to use
The Nest Hub (second-gen) is a pint-sized powerhouse for your Google smart home.
While Google’s optional Sleep Sensing feature is the headline here, there’s a lot to love about this display from a performance standpoint. Google Assistant is quick to respond and execute commands—this being a Google product, there’s no support for Amazon Alexa or Apple’s Siri—bolstered by accurate response to gesture commands. The Hub’s machine learning chip (the same chip you’ll find in the Nest Mini and Nest Audio), offers 1.2 TeraOPS of processing power to help Google learn your most common commands and respond to them faster than ever before.
About the Nest Hub (second-gen)
- Price: $99.99
- Colors: Sand, Charcoal, Mist, Chalk
- Connectivity 2.4 GHz W/5 GHz Wi-iFi
- Smart assistant: Google Assistant
- Resolution: 1024 x 600 pixels
- Dimensions: 4.7″ H x 7″ W x 2.7″ D
Setup is quick and simple: Just plug in the display using the included 15W power adapter and follow the on-screen prompts. The device also supports Chromecast, Bluetooth, and dual-band Wi-Fi.
Google claims the new Nest’s plastic parts are made with 54% post-consumer recycled plastic and the base of the display is wrapped with the same eco-friendly fabric you’ll find on the Nest Mini. Google offers a one year manufacturer’s warranty on parts and labor for the Nest Hub (second-gen).
What we like
Sleek, compact, and attractive design
The new Nest Hub ticks just about every box when it comes to great design. The second-gen model features a slick, glass frame around the 7-inch touchscreen, unlike previous Nest Hubs which have an outline around the frame’s edge. It’s a small but noticeable detail that adds to the Hub’s good looks. Smart displays and speakers are the home base of many smart homes, often featured in prominent areas of the home, so a pleasing design is always a plus.
The Nest Hub is compact, similar to Amazon’s Echo Show 5, and will fit in just about anywhere in your home. While I prefer to use the larger Nest Hub Max when I’m cooking in the kitchen (a bigger screen is always better for videos), the new Nest Hub’s smaller size is ideal for galley kitchens and other small spaces.
No camera? No problem
Like the first-gen Nest Hub, there’s no camera on the new Nest Hub—and that’s a good thing since one of the device’s primary functions is to sit on your nightstand to help track your sleep. Most smart displays, like Facebook’s Portal and Amazon’s Echo Show 10, have a built-in camera, including the Nest Hub’s older sibling, the Nest Hub Max.
If you want a Google Assistant-enabled smart display to video chat with friends and family, the Nest Hub Max is a fantastic option that supports popular video chat services like Zoom and Google Duo.
Impressive entertainment options (for a smart hub)
When it comes to movies, music, and more, Google smart displays lead the pack. Currently, the Nest Hub (second-gen) supports popular video streamers like Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Sling, YouTube TV, and more. As for music, you can stream songs from popular music services like Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, and others. For a quick comparison, at the time of publication, Amazon’s new Echo Show 10 doesn’t support Netflix or YouTube TV, but does add Amazon Prime Video. It’s also worth noting that the new Nest display comes with a free, three-month trial of YouTube Premium and YouTube Music for first-time users.
Convenient gesture control
The Nest Hub (second-gen) supports Quick Gestures that can be used to play/pause videos and turn off/snooze alarms. To stop and start videos, stand in front of the speaker and tap the air like you’re about to give it a high five (but don’t touch the screen). To snooze alarms, wave your hand across the screen. The motion-sensing tech works just as efficiently here as it did on the Nest Hub Max, which is impressive given the fact that the Nest Hub uses its sensors in place of cameras. Gestures are a handy way to use your display when you’re getting messy in the kitchen or when you need a quiet, hands-free way to communicate with your display.
What we don’t like
Sleep tracking is useful, but only if you snooze alone
One of the main selling points of the new Nest Hub is its optional Sleep Sensing technology that tracks your sleep habits using three built-in sensors (no cameras or wearable component required). The sensors measure important factors that impact your sleep like motion, temperature, and ambient lighting. The display, which must be pointed toward your torso to properly track your sleep habits, also records how many times you cough and how many minutes you spend snoring at night. However, the sleep tracking tech works best if you sleep alone, as having other people and pets in the bed with you may confuse the device.
That’s exactly what happened to me. I sleep with my husband and my 45-pound English Bulldog, the latter of whom is a very heavy (and loud) snorer. The Nest Hub clocked me at 144 minutes of snoring even after I was awake but still lying in bed. I can only imagine it was picking up my bulldog’s human-like snoring. As such, it’s tough to know how accurate any of my sleep data was. Sleep Sensing can be used without enabling cough/snore detection, but you won’t get the full sleep-tracking experience.
Eventually, you’ll have to pay to use Sleep Sensing (no pricing was available at the time of publication), but you can access a free preview until next year.
Privacy is always a concern with smart devices, but the Nest Hub (second-gen) does give you some options for more peace of mind. On the back of the Nest Hub (second-gen) you’ll find a mic mute switch. To disable the mic, slide the switch to the left. When the mic is muted, the small indicator light on the front of the device will turn orange. To turn the mic off, slide the switch back over.
Your entire Google Assistant history is visible in the My Activity tab of the Google Home app (or you can view it online). Google says it does not retain audio recordings, however, you can also ask the Nest Hub (second-gen) to delete the recordings.
Additionally, the new Nest Hub supports Guest Mode, a user privacy feature that, when enabled, won’t save your activity history or display personal results. This feature is best used when you have company over or kids in the house and don’t want your calendar or other private information popping up. Since enabling Guest Mode limits personalized results, we don’t recommend enabling this feature for day-to-day use, but it’s a good way to prevent other users from accessing your data.
Finally, there are also a few things to know about your privacy when using Sleep Sensing. When sleep tracking is enabled, it will always be visible on the home screen of your device. To pause/unpause Sleep Sensing, swipe up from the bottom of the screen and tap the bed icon. The feature can be deactivated completely in the Google Home app.
Should you buy it?
Yes, it’s a spiffy smart display for any Google-enabled smart home.
The latest Nest Hub is a well-designed smart display for Google Assistant users. The state-of-the-art device’s Sleep Sensing technology offers a detailed look at how you’re sleeping and provides tips for how to sleep better (though it works best for solo sleepers). The display is also a solid entertainment hub, offering a good selection of music and video streaming services that can be stopped and started using Quick Gestures. And while its lack of a built-in camera means you can’t use the Nest Hub (second-gen) for video calls, it makes for a great smart alarm clock, digital photo frame, smart home controller, and more.
If you’re on the hunt for a compact, Alexa-enabled smart display, the Echo Show 5 is a solid alternative. It doesn’t offer Sleep Sensing or Quick Gestures, but it supports video calls and makes for the perfect desk accessory. For a larger display, Google’s Nest Hub Max is a fantastic (but more expensive) alternative. It can’t track your sleep, but the 10-inch display has a built-in Nest camera that’s great for video calls and home security. It also supports gesture controls, and can stream all of the same great entertainment content as the Nest Hub (second-gen).
The Nest Hub (second-gen) packs in a lot of awesome features for a 7-inch touchscreen display. It’s quick to respond, can keep you (or your kids) entertained for hours, and can maybe even help you catch some more restful Zs.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Meet the tester
Senior Staff Writer
Rachel Murphy covers smart home for Reviewed. She holds a journalism degree from the University of Central Florida. Previously, she worked as a freelance writer for several major outlets and as an associate editorial producer for ABC News’ Good Morning America.
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