If you’re reading this, you may agree with me that wifi, in general, kind of sucks. Either that or the homes many of us live in suck. No matter where you choose to aim your ire, the point remains that reliable wireless internet isn’t always attainable in the places we’d like it to be, which is where Google Nest Wifi comes in.
A rebrand and refresh of the older Google Wifi mesh system, Nest Wifi is a Google-branded router with the option of expanding its signal range through smaller Nest wifi nodes. The router and nodes work in tandem to, ideally, create a powerful and seamless wifi network through a space that couldn’t accommodate that otherwise.
Oh, and every device involved is also a Google Assistant-powered smart speaker. That part is important.
I had the chance to test out Google’s newest mesh setup in my apartment, which is a long and narrow Brooklyn domicile that’s traditionally been absolute hell for wireless signals. With just a router and a single wifi node, I got impressive results, but the experience ultimately left me wanting more.
The price of logging on
The mesh wifi market has gotten pretty crowded in recent years, and Google’s new entrant is in the upper half in terms of price, depending on your needs. The router on its own is $169.99, but assuming you need at least one point (you probably do if you’re reading this), those are $149.99 separately.
The saving grace here is that Google sells router-plus-point bundles that are a little more reasonably priced. A router and one point is $269.99, while a router and two points is $349.99. That’s not nothing, but the router on its own can cover up to 2,200 square feet and each individual point can reach 1,600 square feet, so I imagine most people won’t need more than two points.
Still, there are cheaper options out there. It isn’t the greatest look for Google from a pure coverage standpoint that something like TP-Link’s Deco setup comes with more mesh points for $159.99. I can’t directly compare performance between Nest Wifi and its cheaper competitors, but their existence is worth noting, at least.
Simple setup and powerful performance
If you’re wary about Nest Wifi’s somewhat high price not being worth it, let me allay those fears a little bit. Internet signal has been a constant headache in my apartment for more than a year, and Nest Wifi more or less fixed it in about 10 minutes. From a pure performance perspective, it’s tough not to be impressed.
Setting up Nest Wifi is comically easy, with the caveat that you need to do it through Google’s ecosystem, of course. To start, I had to download the Google Home mobile app, log into my Google account, and unplug the router I normally use. After plugging in the Nest router, all I had to do was follow the instructions in the Home app, most of which involved waiting for the router and the wifi point to turn on and connect with each other.