Google looks set to launch a new version of its Home Hub smart display very soon. The Google Home Hub, which was first announced in October 2018, marked the company’s first foray into smart displays, combining a 7-inch screen with a smart speaker. The tech giant very quickly followed up with the Google Nest Hub Max in October 2019, which features a 10-inch screen.
Now, we’ve had the biggest indicator yet that Google is set to launch the Nest Hub 2, as sources have revealed to tech website 9to5Google some of the features the new smart display may come with. As well as providing some information about what we can expect from the Google Nest Hub 2, it’s left us keenly awaiting its launch, to see if there are even more inevitable enhancements than we expect.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? A new version of Google’s first smart display
- How much will it cost? Expected to be $149.99 / £139 / AU$219
- When will it be out? Hopefully soon
Expected Google Nest Hub 2 price
The original Google Home Hub cost $149.99 / £139 / AU$219 at launch, although pricing has since dropped to $89.99 / £79.99 / AU$129.99. According to the sources cited by 9to5Google, the Google Nest Hub 2 will have “similar pricing to the current model”.
When Google launched the Google Nest Mini 2, which was a direct replacement for the Google Home Mini, the brand’s smallest and cheapest smart speaker cost the same as the Google Home Mini at launch. With this in mind, we expect the Google Nest Hub 2 to be priced at $149.99 / £139 / AU$219.
Google Nest Hub 2 release date
The Google Home Hub was first unveiled in October 2018, alongside the Google Pixel 4 smartphone. The Google Nest Hub Max made its first appearance a year later, at the same time as the Google Pixel 5. However, while the company unveiled the new Google Nest smart speaker at the Google hardware event in 2020, there was no mention of an update to the Nest Hub. The 9to5Google article claims sources stated that the Google Nest Hub 2 would be announced “sooner than later”. As such, we’d like to see the new smart display announced on sale by early May at the latest.
Google Nest Hub 2 name
The new Google smart display hasn’t been officially named yet, but we expect that it will be called the Google Nest Hub 2. In May 2019, Google announced it’s smart home gadgets would be known as Google Nest devices. The original Home Hub is no exception; it was quietly rebranded to the Google Nest Hub at that time. The second generation of Google’s smallest smart speaker was given the Google Nest Mini 2 moniker when it launched in October 2019, so it follows that the new smart display will adopt the same naming convention.
Google Nest Hub 2 Design
9to5Google’s sources claim that Google will retain “the same design language of an angled screen attached to an oblong, fabric-covered base”. From this we can expect the Google Nest Hub 2 to look very similar to Google’s original smart display.
The current Google Nest Hub features a “floating display” design, with the 7-inch screen attached to a rounded speaker – which looks similar to Amazon’s recently launched Echo Show 10. It measures 7.02 x 4.65 x 2.56 inches (17.85 x 11.8 x 6.73cm), meaning it has a surprisingly small footprint. In fact, the base is so petite that it can easily fit in the palm of your hand. The sources cited in the article didn’t comment on the screen size, but we’d expect the Google Nest Hub 2 to come with a 7-inch screen again, since the Google Nest Hub Max with its 10-inch display will cater to those looking for a bigger screen.
The Google Nest Hub, whose base is covered in fabric, is available in a choice of colors including grey, pink and turquoise. However, 9to5Google’s article claims that with the Nest Hub 2, Google will be replacing the turquoise option with ‘Sky’ – a light-blue shade that’s similar to the option in which the Google Nest Audio smart speaker is offered.
Google Nest Hub 2 specs
According to the sources cited in the 9to5Google article, the biggest change to the Google Nest Hub will be the inclusion of Soli radar. This technology was first seen in the Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL smartphones and allowed users to make hand movements in front of the phone to play, pause and skip through music tracks as well as adjust volume.
However, when it comes to the Google Nest Hub 2, it looks like Google has a new use for technology: sleep tracking. The radar will monitor your movements while you sleep, and combined with the sounds you make overnight, will generate a sleep rating that you can analyze in Google Fit.
Soli has also been added to the new Google Nest smart thermostat, which is currently only available in the US and Canada. It acts as a motion sensor, illuminating the thermostat’s display if it senses someone has walked up to it; it powers down the screen once that person leaves, conserving energy, too. We hope it will offer the same feature in the Google Nest Hub 2 as well.
Other improvements we can expect to see in the Google Nest Hub 2 include better audio, and three rather than two far-field microphones, making it better at picking up your voice when you ask Google to do something on your behalf.
What we want to see
While the Google Nest Hub is a great smart display, it isn’t perfect. There’s always room for improvement, so here’s what we want to see…
1. Camera for video calls
The original Google Nest Hub has one glaring omission – a camera for video calls; something all Amazon’s rival Echo Show smart displays offer. At the time of its launch Google said it was protecting users’ privacy by not including a camera; however, the company very quickly backtracked by adding a camera to the Nest Hub Max. With video calling having increased in popularity so much over the past year, we think it’s something Google needs to rectify. We’d also like the ability to use the camera as a home-security device – something the Google Nest Hub Max and Amazon’s recently launched Echo Show 10 offer, along with a privacy cover for the camera that will cut the power to it and the microphone for those who are concerned about Google watching their every move.
2. Facial recognition
The Google Nest Hub Max offers facial recognition and can identify which member of the household is looking at the screen. As a result, it can display reminders and messages for that person. We’d expect this feature to be added to the Google Nest Hub 2, since it certainly gives Google an edge over Amazon’s rival smart displays.
3. Improved screen resolution
The current Google Nest Hub has a 7-inch screen with a 1,024 x 600 resolution. While this is sufficient for using the smart display as a digital photo frame to show off your best snaps, it doesn’t quite do them justice. We’d like to see the resolution boosted to 1,280 x 800 – the same as on the Google Nest Hub Max – so images look a little bit sharper.
4. Better audio
It’s been suggested that the Google Nest Hub 2 will have improved audio, but to be able to compete with Amazon’s rival smart displays, Google really does need to take the sound quality up several notches. The current Google Nest Hub can cope with playing a couple of songs while you’re doing the dishes, but it doesn’t have the clarity or range to do justice to your music collection. We’d like to see the Nest Hub 2 offer a more powerful, rounded sound, with some oomph in the bass.
5. Web browser
Currently, there are no web browsers built-in to the Google Nest Hub or Google Nest Hub Max; Amazon’s Echo Show smart displays do offer the ability to surf the web. We believe this would be a handy addition to the Google Nest Hub 2: if you want to quickly find search for something on the web, and you don’t have a smartphone or tablet to hand, it means you won’t have to stop what you’re doing to locate your device.