Should you get Google or Nest Wi-Fi?
Mesh Wi-Fi systems give you multiple points of contact, unlike their traditional router counterparts. These systems are much better for consumers because of their improved coverage and reliability. When looking for a mesh Wi-Fi system for your home or office, you have numerous systems to choose from.
Google Wi-Fi and Nest Wi-Fi systems are two of those mesh systems worth considering in your whole-home Wi-Fi system search. Both sold by Google LLC, these systems share some stark similarities and differences.
Google Wi-Fi is the original mesh Wi-Fi system that was released by Google in 2016. The product sports a solid white cylindrical design with an LED stripe running around the center. It has several interchangeable points, one of which connects directly to the modem and the others that serve as mesh extensions. Each device is identical to the other, so they can be used interchangeably.
Google Wi-Fi devices feature an Ethernet WAN port along with a separate Ethernet LAN port, giving you the option of directly connecting to any device in your home. This feature is particularly helpful if the Wi-Fi stops working for wireless connections. Google Wi-Fi access points have a range of 1500 square feet, which is plenty of range to cover the average home.
In 2020, the original system was rereleased with the same hardware and specs as the original system at a new lower price. The newer systems come with the option to purchase a single access point or up to three.
To review, Google Wi-Fi features the following specs:
- AC1200 speed rating
- Wi-Fi 5
- 1500 square feet range per point
- WPA2 security standard
- 2 by 2 antennas
- 451 Mbps top wireless transfer speed, 5 feet (router only)
Google Wi-Fi pros
- Better coverage with modular design
- Powerful Wi-Fi coverage
- Devices are much cheaper than the competition
- Easy setup
- Self-updates, improving your Wi-Fi system seamlessly
- Comes with an accessible app
Google Wi-Fi cons
- Less advanced than other mesh systems
- Doesn’t have a USB port for backup storage
- Slower than other mesh systems
- User must have a Google account and mobile device to set up and manage the system
- Only available in white
Google released a new mesh Wi-Fi system under the Nest brand name in 2020 as an improvement upon the original Google Wi-Fi. The latest version included many smart features that consumers didn’t know they needed, like voice activation and pairing with smart home assistants like Google and Alexa. You can pair these with other smart home features in your home, stream music, or even control Wi-Fi capabilities.
The Nest Wi-Fi can stretch to cover a space of up to 2200 square ft, an increase of 700 square ft over the original Google Wi-Fi. It provides a clear connection across multiple rooms. The design is more sleek and modern than the former Google Wi-Fi, which means that it often pairs better with the decor and style of modern homes. Like Google Wi-Fi, Nest Wi-Fi’s router only comes in white, but the Nest Wi-Fi points are available in white, blue and coral.
Unlike Google Wi-Fi, Nest has only one dedicated router and smaller extenders called Nest Wi-Fi points, and these cannot be used interchangeably. Additionally, the router features Ethernet WAN and Ethernet LAN ports, while the access points do not, meaning you can only connect directly to the router.
With the Nest Wi-Fi, users can also add a guest network, so they don’t have to share their passwords every time a visitor comes over.
The Nest Wi-Fi system is available with three basic coverage options for your home: one router, one router with one access point, and one router with two access points. Prices range from $169-$349.
To review, Nest Wi-Fi features the following specs:
- AC2200 speed rating
- Wi-Fi 5
- 2200 square feet per router
- WPA3 security standard
- Built-in smart speakers
- Capacitive touch controls
- 4 by 4 antennas
- 612 Mbps top transfer speed
Nest Wi-Fi pros
- Has much faster performance than Google Wi-Fi
- Guest network capabilities
- Has Google Assistant smart speakers
- Compatible with Google Wi-Fi
- Very easy to set up and use
- Multiple color options: white, blue, coral
Nest Wi-Fi cons
- Only two Ethernet jacks on the router and none on the points
- Still no easy way to enable/disable individual devices on the network
- No Wi-Fi 6
Should you get Google or Nest Wi-Fi?
Nest Wi-Fi is the better option of the two systems overall, but the device you pick may depend on your specific needs.
If you’re looking for a quality Wi-Fi system with faster speeds and improved coverage, the Nest Wi-Fi system is a solid upgrade over Google Wi-Fi. You’ll get a smoother Wi-Fi experience, more extensive coverage, added capabilities and more color options with Nest Wi-Fi. Whether you’re brand-new to mesh Wi-Fi systems or you’re looking to upgrade, Nest Wi-Fi is a safe, reliable option.
Nest Wi-Fi is also going to offer you optimal security, smart features and an incredibly powerful Wi-Fi connection without losing a beat. It quickly improves on its predecessor in every way when it comes to its basic specs, which means that you cannot go wrong with this system.
Google Wi-Fi is still a rock-solid option for a mesh router system, however. For example, if you don’t use your network heavily for gaming, streaming videos or other tasks that could bog down your internet speeds, the Google Wi-Fi system might be all that you need. In that case, you’ll experience great benefits from the system like sufficient speeds, direct connectivity and, most importantly, the extra money you will save by investing in this budget-friendly option.
If you’re considering upgrading your system from Google Wi-Fi, you may consider using the devices together to extend your range.
Ultimately, deciding on which system to get will come down to your unique needs and the things most important to you. You should consider your home’s size, price, system features, design, security and speed.
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Sarah Harris writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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