Google’s new Nest Hub features sleep tracking and Soli motion gestures
Google has introduced a new Nest Hub — the smart display that can control your entire home — and this time it features one notable improvement: sleep tracking. They say, “you snooze, you lose,” but with the Nest Hub (2021), you’re actually benefiting from Google’s Soli technology.
The new Nest Hub features a refined design, faster processor, and louder speaker. Google said it’s based on the same audio technology as Nest Audio and boasts 50 percent more bass than the original Hub launched in 2018. It can also measure your sleep — and you don’t have to wear an accessory or put anything under your mattress.
With a new Sleep Sensing feature powered by Google’s Soli radar technology, the Nest Hub can analyze how a person closest to the device is sleeping based on their movement and breathing. The device will also know when you experience disturbances like coughing and snoring, and it can also track how light and temperature changes affect your sleep. The Soli sensor can also detect gestures, so you can play or pause content at any time by tapping the air in front of the display. (And, yes, you can also do this to snooze alarms.)
Sleep Sensing will provide you with a daily summary of how you slept, and once it better understands your schedule, provides personalized suggestions Google said were developed by sleep scientists.
“Compiled after several nights of analysis, these suggestions point out notable aspects of your sleep, educate you on why they’re important and provide suggestions to improve,” Google said.
Like the last Nest Hub, the new model doesn’t come with a camera, and the Sleep Sensing feature is opt-in. Google said there’s also a visual indicator on the display every time Sleep Sensing is collecting information. Because there’s no camera, the technology that senses movement cannot detect specific bodies and faces. Google said audio data like coughing and snoring are processed on the device, so they’re never sent to the company.
The new Nest Hub has also received some visual upgrades, too. Google said it had refined the bezel around the screen so it sits flush with the frame, and the device is now offered in chalk, charcoal, sand, and mist. The LCD is still 7 inches with a resolution of 1024 x 600. Internally, Google said the smart display comes equipped with a third microphone and on-device machine learning for quicker voice commands responses.
Soli originally debuted in the Pixel 4 but was quickly abandoned in the Pixel 5. The technology was then cleverly implemented into the Nest Thermostat and is now a critical part of the new Nest Hub. Google clearly believes the motion-sensing technology makes the most sense in smart home devices.
The new Nest Hub retails for $99 and ships on March 30. You can preorder it now in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Germany, France, and Australia.