If you are already a fan of the incredibly popular Google Wifi, you are going to love Google’s new Nest Wifi system. We tested out the Nest Wifi router and point, and came away very impressed. To that effect, the new Nest Wifi offers a beautiful look, incredible ease of use, lots of customizable controls, extremely good home coverage, and a bunch of extra bonus features.
Unboxing and setup is a delight, coverage is incredible
Unlike most routers, everything about the Google Nest Wifi has a classy look to it that makes you want to display it, and not hide it away in a cabinet. This is especially important since a router and mesh point needs to be in plain sight to work at their peak functionality. In any case, the rounded look of the Nest Wifi router and point both have a soft elegance to them, a look that is carried over to even the power adapters that sport the same shape. Even the cords are a soft white, rather than a harsh black eyesore. The fact that even the power adapter is “cute” and matching, shows just how much Google worked to make this something you don’t mind leaving on your desk or a shelf. One minor gripe about the plug, however, is that it is SO round that it takes up the surrounding plug space on a power strip. This is a relatively minor gripe, but definitely notable.
After pulling out the router and point and plugging in the power cord and ethernet cable, setup was as simple as downloading the Google Home app, scanning the QR code on the back of the router and signing in by following prompts. It was by far the easiest router setup I have ever experienced. The point was just as easy. The trick with the point is figuring out where in your house you want the extended signal and finding the right spot for it. We have a three-story home with an exterior office about 50 feet away from the building. By placing the router on the middle top floor, and the point on the middle floor by the window facing the exterior office, we achieved a stellar signal throughout the whole house and a strong two bars in the exterior office 50 feet away. That’s quite impressive! One network and point is said to be sufficient for up to a 3800 sqft home.
Google Home app gives you all the control
The Nest Wifi router and point can handle up to around 200 connected devices and you can see every single one that is connected via the Google Home app. That’s great for security as well as diagnostics to see what might be gobbling up your bandwidth. And if your ISP can handle it, the router can handle streaming multiple 4k videos at a time. Having the device usage available via the app is beneficial for giving temporary priority (up to 4 hours) to certain devices such as for gaming. The Google Home app also lets you run speed tests at will, which is very comforting for when you aren’t quite sure why that webpage/YouTube video just won’t load.
The Nest Wifi automatically puts your network on the clearest channel and fastest band to avoid congestion automatically as well. In contrast, many routers offer two bands 2.5/5Ghz but the Nest Wifi does not offer that, instead it autoselects what is best for your devices. Despite initial concern over gaming issues regarding this, no problems arose and it always selected what I needed for my Oculus gaming needs. However, for super-advanced networking nerds, it is not Wifi 6 capable. This wasn’t a deal-breaker for me personally since most devices don’t support Wifi 6 yet.
Using the app, you can also set up a guest network for your guests to access Wifi but nothing else. As a parent, you can set limits for your kids’ devices such as not allowing them internet during sleep hours, or blocking access to explicit content. Matters pertaining to privacy are also manageable via the app.
The Point on the Google Nest Wifi doubles as a Nest Mini
The Point has a speaker and microphone that functions essentially as a Google Nest Mini, providing you with voice or app access to Google Assistant services. That means you can use your voice to do things like your WiFi network, find answers to things like “What’s the weather today?” or play music. Another fun feature is you can send a voice message directly to the speaker and spook your dogs (or family). For privacy, you can turn off the microphone and an orange light on the bottom of the point will glow to let you know that it is currently off. This turns to white when it is on and actively listening to you as you speak to it. It also can be turned to night mode or do not disturb mode to dim or turn off the light and limit notifications between quiet hours. When it comes to its sound quality as a Bluetooth speaker, the Point packs in a 40mm driver and we’d say that it’s on par with a Google Nest Mini.
The Nest Wifi router and point by Google is an all-around awesome solution for home networking. It is beautiful enough to put on your desk or counter, coverage is very good, and the easy-to-use Google Home app offers phenomenal control over who is using your Wifi and how. The Point also offers all the perks of a Nest Mini with Google Assistant.
Retailing for $269, the Nest Wifi router and point are competitively priced. The router alone can be purchased for $169. While the router is only available in white, the Point comes in three colors, Snow (white), Sand (Pink), and Stone (light blue).