Google’s Nest Hub 2nd Gen monitors sleep habits without wearables or camera

Google has launched the second generation of its Nest Hub, three years after the release of the original.

(Image: Google)

The predecessor was launched in 2018 followed by the larger Nest Hub Max in 2019 which offered a bigger screen and the addition of the Nest Cam. The second iteration of the Nest Hub is not hugely different in design but adds several new features, including a sleep tracking feature and gesture controls.

Keeping the same design as the original, the new Nest Hub has a 7” floating display that sits on a fabric-covered speaker base. Again, there is no camera (this is only available on the Nest Hub Max) and features the same volume controls as well as a manual microphone mute switch. The only difference is that Google have taken away the lip at the edge of the display to give it a cleaner, more seamless finish.

Unlike the original, the new Nest Hub is available in four colours – Chalk, Charcoal, Sand and Mist – whereas the original only had three colour options.

Google has made audio improvements to the new Nest Hub, with the speaker delivering 50% more bass than its predecessor. The second generation also offers three far field microphones as opposed to the two offered on the original.

Working in a similar way to Zigbee, the addition of Thread radio in the new Nest Hub enables communication between various smart home devices, so the user can control compatible smart home devices via their Nest Hub.

Perhaps the biggest update on the new Nest Hub from the original is the addition of Google’s Soli radar chip, which enables sleep tracking and gesture controls. The Nest Hub Max offers Quick Gesture controls using the in-built camera. However, the new Nest Hub offers the feature without a camera using Motion Sense to detect hand movements to play or pause a song or video, snooze an alarm or stop a timer.

The Sleep Sensing feature is the biggest new feature to the second generation Nest Hub. Enabled by the Soli chip, users can place the Nest Hub on their bedside table and it will track their sleep without the need for any wearables or camera.

Designed to monitor only one person, it will analyse the person closest to the display using a low-energy motion sensor that will detect movement and breathing. Other sensors in the Nest Hub will detect sounds like snoring and coughing, as well as environmental factors like light and temperature in the room. This is designed to then help the user to understand what could be impacting their rest by analysing the way they slept and any disturbances. It can also help the user better understand the perfect conditions for their bedroom to help them sleep better.

Once it gets to know the person’s sleeping patterns and habits, it will give them weekly suggestions for more consistent sleep via insights and tips.

Sunrise Alarm is designed to ease the user out of sleep in the morning by gradually brightening the display and increasing the alarm volume which will play gentle sounds. At night, the ‘Your Evening’ page can play calming sounds to help the user unwind and fall asleep.

Users can access their sleep data via the Nest Hub or on the Google Fit app when they are on the go.

The Google Nest Hub second generation is available now to pre-order in the UK, Germany, France, US, Canada, and Australia. It is priced at £89.99 in the UK.