Google’s Nest Hub (2nd gen) is here: Ready, set… sleep!
The second gen Nest Hub brings improved sound, with 50% more bass, compared to the first Nest Hub. The rest of the headlining features include a 7’ touchscreen where you can watch shows and YouTube videos; control smart devices such as lights and appliances, and the new sleep-tracking feature, which is possible thanks to the Soli radar system.
The SRS was first introduced on the Pixel 4, but Google retired it on the Pixel 5. They have clearly decided there is a place for it on the Hub smart devices. Soli is intended to watch for your movement and breathing. The official website mentions the feature is subscription-based. We doubt this means you have to purchase it separately, but perhaps you need to sign-up for it.
All of this is rather unique, because you usually need to wear a wrist tracker to collect identical data. Indeed, Google uses similar sensors (a whole bunch of them) like on mainstream fitness bands. There is a Soli sensor for Motion Sense, Ambient EQ light sensor, and a Temperature sensor. The combination of all is meant to help you use the Hub with air gestures and monitor your sleep. The microphones on the device will listen for coughing and snoring (finally, someone will actually be happy to hear you roar)!
Google warns that the Sleep Sensing feature is not intended to diagnose, cure, mitigate, prevent, or treat any disease or condition. However, it can help you find out whether you need to seek help. Still, fitness trackers, which include sleep monitoring have proved to be hit-or-miss, so we would wait for the reviews before jumping to conclusions.
There are other small features such as Sunrise Alarm, which can use the display to mimic a sunrise - increase the brightness gradually; and Quick Gestures, which lets you snooze alarms by waving your hand in front of the screen.
You get four colours options to match your interior: Chalk, Charcoal, Mist, Sand. The borders around the screen are still very thick, but since this isn’t meant to be your main media consumption device, we won’t be too demanding!
The price is $99.99 / £89 / AU$ 149, and as you have probably guessed, it’s available for pre-order in the US, UK and Australia. It will start shipping on 30 March (you get free delivery).