Google launched several new gadgets at its virtual event called “Launch Night In.” Among them, a new streaming TV device, speedy 5G Pixel phones and a new and improved smart speaker. Let’s take a look at their best features.
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Google’s top of the line Chromecast is getting a serious upgrade and a price cut! Chromecast with Google TV is the company’s latest attempt to take over the TV screen. The tiny 4K device plugs into the back of your TV set, but for the first time, Chromecast has a remote control! There are also dedicated buttons for power, volume, mute, YouTube and Netflix.
The remote also has Google Assistant built-in, so you can use your voice to find and play shows! Additionally, Google wants to clear up the confusion about what’s playing where with a universal Watchlist that works across all of your streaming services.
The best part: when you’re not watching TV, the Chromecast shows your Google photos as a screensaver.
Chromecast with Google TV is $50 and on sale now.
Nest Audio is Google’s latest smart speaker and it replaces a speaker the company originally released in 2016 called Google Home. Google says this model is louder and has more bass than the original. It works with popular music services like Spotify, SiriusXM and radio stations.
You can pair two speakers for stereo sound or link up various Google smart speakers throughout your house for whole-home audio. You can even use your voice to move the music you’re listening to to another room.
Nest Audio speaker is $99 and ships next week.
Google’s flagship Pixel smartphone is getting a 5G upgrade! Pixel phones are known for their software smarts and the ability to take amazing pictures. The new Pixel 5 now has an ultra-wide lens like nearly every other smartphone on the market. You can now take portrait mode pictures at night and there are new lighting effects. Google said they also worked to make video capture higher quality on the phone. They added a Hollywood style cinematic pan video mode for super-smooth movements.
The new Pixels also have a cool AI feature where they will wait on hold for you. The feature is called Hold for me and once the Google Assistant hears hold music it will offer to hold the line for you and alert you when a customer service rep picks up.
Pixel 5 is $699 and it will be available in the United States on October 29th. Less expensive models start at $350.
One thing to note: Google isn’t speccing these phones out with the absolute best processors and screen technology so they’re technically no longer competing with the top-of-the-line devices like the Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra. However, it probably won’t matter for many day to day users. Out of all of the phones I test, Pixels consistently delivers some of the best pictures you can take on a smartphone with zero fuss! I’m looking forward to testing this one.