Unveiled: Google Nest Hub 2 Has Built-In Radar for Sleep Sensing

Smart displays are all the rage these days and Google has just unveiled the 2nd iteration of their “Nest Hub” product line, aptly named the Google Nest Hub 2. It launches on March 30th for $99 and the biggest new addition is built-in radar used for sleep tracking.

The Nest Hub 2 does not have a camera, but the built-in radar – Google’s “Soli Sensor” first announced in 2015 – is able to detect objects in front of the screen. This radar detection is used for quick gestures- for example, waving your hand will allow you to pause or play music or snooze your alarm.

The radar also walks you through a setup process for Sleep Sensing that helps it understand where you’re sleeping in the bed in comparison with the location of the device. It’s pretty amazing to see how Google uses radar and sound to get results (the Nest Hub 2 doesn’t have a camera):

  • The radar can sense your respiratory patterns based on the movement of your chest as you inhale and exhale, or identify that you’re tossing and turning.
  • The microphones determine when you’re coughing or snoring, possibly signaling sleep disturbances.
  • The temperature sensor can correlate the room conditions with restlessness, helping to pinpoint specific suggestions to improve your sleep

Some benefits of Sleep Sensing on the Nest Hub include:

  • Sunrise Alarms: screen gradually brightens and alarm gradually increases volume, gently waking you up.
  • Sleep Sounds: fall asleep to relaxing sounds.
  • Track your sleeping habits without having to wear a device
  • Sleep summary every morning to show you slept
  • Sleep coaching: personalized insights about snoring, coughing, and your surroundings, giving you specific suggestions to get better sleep.

Nest Hub 2 for Couples

In a bed sleeping 2, the Nest Hub 2 will only perform sleep detection on the person closest to the device. If you want to track the sleeping habits of two people you’ll need two Nest Hub 2 devices: one on each side of the bed.

We’re curious to see real-world reviews: it’s feasible that overlapping snoring (or the further person snoring extremely loud) could hinder accuracy of the results. That being said, Google’s Soli Sensor and noise cancelling mics have been fine-tuned with these cases in mind, so we’re hopeful.

Let’s dive into the details to see what separates the Nest Hub 2 from the alternatives.

Nest Hub vs. Nest Hub 2

The biggest differences between the Nest Hub 2 and the original Nest Hub are an improved speaker with physical “Mic off switch”, the addition of Soli Sensor for Sleep Sensing, and a new Temperature Sensor.

Nest HubNest Hub 2
Screen Size7-inch7-inch
Resolution1024 x 600 pixels1024 x 600 pixels
Dimensions
(inches)
7.02 Width
4.65 Height
2.65 Depth
7.0 Width
4.7 Height
2.7 Depth
Weight16.9 ounces19.7 ounces
ConnectivityWiFi
Bluetooth 5.0
Chromecast
WiFi
Bluetooth 5.0
Chromecast
SoundFull range speaker
2 far-field microphones
Full range speaker
3 far-field microphones
Mic off switch
Sensors
Ultrasound sensing
Ambient light sensor


Ultrasound sensing
Ambient light sensor
Soli Sensor
Temperature Sensor
Specs from Google

Google claims the improved speaker of the Hub 2 delivers 50% more bass in the new model.

The Nest Hub 2 is also slightly heavier than the original Nest Hub, but since it will typically sit on a countertop and never be moved, weight is of little concern. The listed dimensions of the Nest Hub 2 are slightly larger, but this is likely due to Google rounding to even numbers with the latest model- they likely use the exact same encasing.

If you’ve already got a Nest Hub and wondering if you should upgrade to the the Nest Hub 2, the answer is no. Unless you’re extremely interested in sleep tracking, will be using the Nest Hub as a bedside alarm clock, and want seamlessly integration with other fitness trackers to monitor your health, there is no need to upgrade from the Nest Hub to Nest Hub 2.

Nest Hub Max vs Nest Hub 2

If you’re in the market for a new smart display, your options from Google will be the Nest Hub 2 or the Nest Hub Max. Which one is better for you?

Nest Hub MaxNest Hub 2
Screen Size10-inch7-inch
Resolution1280 x 800 pixels1024 x 600 pixels
Dimensions
(inches)
9.85Width
7.19 Height
3.99 Depth
7.0 Width
4.7 Height
2.7 Depth
Weight2.91 pounds1.23 pounds
Camera6.5MPNone
ConnectivityWiFi
Bluetooth 5.0
Chromecast
WiFi
Bluetooth 5.0
Chromecast
Sound2 speakers, 1 subwoofer
2 far-field microphones
Full range speaker
3 far-field microphones
Mic off switch
Sensors
Ultrasound sensing
Ambient light sensor


Ultrasound sensing
Ambient light sensor
Soli Sensor
Temperature Sensor
Specs from Google

The biggest difference between the Nest Hub Max and the Nest Hub 2 is that the Nest Hub Max has a camera, better speakers, bigger screen, and costs a lot more. But let’s be honest: not everybody wants or needs a camera and probably not in private places like the bedroom or bathroom!

It’s worth noting that the Nest Hub Max does have a physical “Camera on/off” switch so that you can block the device from using the camera at any time.

If you’re putting the Nest Hub on a bedside table and using it as an alarm clock, you’ll want the Nest Hub 2: the Soli and Temperature sensors make it the best option as a sleep companion. If you’ll be putting the Nest Hub in a living room, kitchen, or common area, you’ll want the Nest Hub Max: the increased screen size will make it much more usable at a variety of distances and the improved speakers and onboard camera extend its usability.

In very small space you may be fine with the Nest Hub 2 anywhere, and if you’re primarily interested in sound/music you may opt for the Nest Hub Max even in the bedroom. But generally speaking, you should use the Nest Hub 2 for the bedroom and the Nest Hub Max for common rooms.

Nest Hub 2 Specs

Dimensions & Weight
The Nest Hub 2 is 4.7 inches tall, 7 inches wide, 2.7 inches deep, and weighs 19.7 ounces. The power cable is 59 inches long.

Display & Resolution
The Nest Hub 2 has a 7-inch touchscreen with 1024 by 600 pixel resolution.

Speaker & Mics
The Nest Hub 2 is equipped with a speaker that has a 1.7 inch driver and delivers 50% more bass than the original Nest Hub. It also has 3 far-field microphones with Google Assistant Built-in, but a physical “Mic off switch” allows you to disable the microphone at any time.

Sensors
The Nest Hub 2 has 3 sensors:

  • Soli sensor for Motion Sense
  • Ambient light sensor
  • Temperature sensor

The Soli sensor is the built-in radar used for sleep sensing, while the new temperature sensor can be used for integration with Nest Thermostat.

Connectivity
The Nest Hub 2 has WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0, Chromecast, and 802.15.4 Thread support.

Processor
The Nest Hub is powered by a Quad-cord 64-bit 1.9 GHz ARM CPU with High -performance ML hardware engine.

Colors & Availability
The color options of the Nest Hub 2 are Chalk, Charcoal, Sand, and Mist.

Nest Hub 2 Alternatives

Many people are locked into ecosystems and people that use Google Nest products are likely to prefer the Nest Hubs over alternate smart displays. However, it’s worth noting that there some worthy competitors.

The most notable Nest Hub links and alternatives:

If you’re looking for an all-around device, the best Smart Display you can currently buy is the Nest Hub Max. If you’re already part of Amazon’s ecosystem you may prefer the Echo Show devices, but the Echo Show 5 is too small to make sense, and Facebook’s Portal devices generally suffer from privacy concerns in the court of public opinion (warranted or not).

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