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Google Nest WiFi Review

A top-performing WiFi mesh system that works great in smart homes and won't break the bank
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Google Nest WiFi Review
Credit: Amazon
Price:  $338 List
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Manufacturer:   Google
By Matt Spencer and Becca Glades  ⋅  Jan 12, 2023
62
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 10
  • 2.4 GHz Throughput - 35% 4.4
  • 5 GHz Throughput - 35% 8.4
  • Range - 20% 5.5
  • Ease of Use - 10% 6.5

Our Verdict

The Google Nest WiFi is a budget-friendly mesh router that includes great features like parental controls and device prioritization. The system is easily controlled through the Google Home app, which is the same app that controls all other Google household smart devices. This product is great for anyone who already has a smart home or is looking to start one. The mesh system can easily be expanded with additional routers or Google Nest Points. The system performed about average in our 2.4 GHz throughput and range tests but did exceptionally well in our 5 GHz throughput test. See it rated versus top competitors in our WiFi mesh systems review.
REASONS TO BUY
Great QoS and parental controls
Inexpensive
REASONS TO AVOID
Not WiFi 6 compatible
Editor's Note: The Google Nest WiFi review was retested, and its review was updated on January 12, 2023.

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Bottom Line A budget-friendly mesh router that performs well and has great featuresA top-performing WiFi mesh system with MU-MIMO, WiFi 6, and OFDMAA top-performing mesh router that looks great and comes with exceptional featuresThis middling router has good 2.4 GHz throughput for a low price pointA cheap option that doesn't do the job well
Rating Categories Google Nest WiFi TP-Link Deco X20 Linksys Atlas Pro 6... TP-Link Deco M5 TP-Link Deco S4
2.4 GHz Throughput (35%)
4.4
8.8
5.6
8.2
5.0
5 GHz Throughput (35%)
8.4
8.4
9.2
4.8
3.2
Range (20%)
5.5
6.5
8.5
3.5
4.0
Ease of Use (10%)
6.5
6.2
7.1
6.2
6.2
Specs Google Nest WiFi TP-Link Deco X20 Linksys Atlas Pro 6... TP-Link Deco M5 TP-Link Deco S4
Wi-Fi Version WiFi 5 WiFi 6 WiFi 6 WiFi 5 WiFi 5
Wireless Specification Dual Band Dual Band Dual Band Dual Band Dual Band
Frequency 5 GHz
2.4 GHz
5 GHz
2.4 GHz
5 GHz
2.4 GHz
5 GHz
2.4 GHz
5 GHz
2.4 GHz
Processor 1.4 GHz Quad-core 64-bit ARM 1.0 GHz Dual-Core 1.0 GHz dual-Core Qualcomm 717 MHz Quad-core Qualcomm CPU
Memory 4 GB Flash
1 GB RAM
N/A 256 MB Flash
512MB RAM
N/A N/A
MU-MIMO Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
OFDMA No Yes Yes No No
Beamforming Explicit only Explicit only Explicit only Explicit only Explicit only
Security WPA/WPA2/WPA3 - Personal
WPA/WPA2 - Enterprise
WPA/WPA2/WPA3 - Personal
WPA/WPA2 - Enterprise
WPA/WPA2/WPA3 - Personal
WPA/WPA2 - Enterprise
WPA/WPA2 - Personal
WPA/WPA2 - Enterprise
WPA/WPA2 - Personal
WPA/WPA2 - Enterprise
LAN Ports Available 1 1 3 1 1
USB Ports None None None None None
Antenna N/A 2 - Internal 5 - Internal 4 - Internal 2 - Internal
Wall Mountable No No No No No
Wireless On/off button No No No No No
Led on/off Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
2.4 GHz 9 ft Unobstructed 81 Mbps 144 Mbps 105 Mbps 129 Mbps 72 Mbps
2.4 GHz 9 ft Obstructed 78 Mbps 137 Mbps 77 Mbps 112 Mbps 79 Mbps
2.4 GHz 35 ft Unobstructed 66 Mbps 121 Mbps 74 Mbps 106 Mbps 81 Mbps
2.4 GHz 35 ft Obstructed 68 Mbps 100 Mbps 80 Mbps 109 Mbps 94 Mbps
2.4 GHz 70 ft Obstructed 17 Mbps 20 Mbps 21 Mbps 7 Mbps 12 Mbps
5.0 GHz 9 ft Unobstructed 316 Mbps 365 Mbps 398 Mbps 332 Mbps 322 Mbps
5.0 GHz 9 ft Obstructed 314 Mbps 360 Mbps 309 Mbps 320 Mbps 297 Mbps
5.0 GHz 35 ft Unobstructed 315 Mbps 271 Mbps 348 Mbps 249 Mbps 236 Mbps
5.0 GHz 35 ft Obstructed 313 Mbps 303 Mbps 331 Mbps 262 Mbps 237 Mbps
5.0 GHz 70 ft Obstructed 89 Mbps 52 Mbps 119 Mbps 4 Mbps 28 Mbps

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Google Nest WiFi is a great option for those looking to expand their Google smart home or start one. The WiFi system is conveniently controlled through the Google Home app, which also controls smart items like lights, fans, thermostats, and more. The system has some of the best features, like parental controls and device prioritization. Unfortunately, the Nest does not have WiFi 6, which is worth considering if future-proofing your home is your objective.

Performance Comparison


google nest wifi - the google nest wifi has a simple and minimalist design, with google...
The Google Nest WiFi has a simple and minimalist design, with Google Assistant incorporated.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

2.4 GHz Throughput


Most homes will have barriers of some sort, whether that be walls or furniture. These barriers can often create dead spots. Mesh systems work to eliminate these spots by veiling WiFi throughout the home. To determine how well these systems did, we measured the throughput of the 2.4 GHz band through a series of tests. We started nine feet away from the router and measured the Megabits per second (Mbps). We then blocked the path with a wall and remeasured the speeds. We did the same test at 35 feet. At 70 feet, we measured the obstructed speeds only. We didn't bother to measure an unobstructed path as most buildings don't have an open 70-foot room without some sort of barrier.


The Google Nest WiFi landed in a group of average-performing routers. The highest speed was measured at the nine-foot mark, with 81 Mbps. The speed dropped slightly to 78 Mbps when this nine-foot path was obstructed, though this is to be expected. The 35-foot mark showed average results of roughly 66 Mbps. At 70 feet, the measured speed was 17 Mbps, which is slightly higher than others in the lineup.

google nest wifi - each google nest wifi device comes with a charge cord.
Each Google Nest WiFi device comes with a charge cord.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

5 GHz Throughput


Next, we switched to the 5 GHz band and measured the speeds in Mbps. This test was essentially the same as the 2.4 GHz test. We started up close at nine feet from the router. We took measurements with both obstructed and unobstructed paths. We then repeated this test at 35 feet. At 70 feet, we measured the speeds with obstructions in its path.


The Nest was a top performer in our 5 GHz throughput test. The throughput started out average at the nine-foot unobstructed point with speeds of 316 Mbps. However, it consistently kept this speed, outperforming most of the other mesh systems in our lineup. At the 70-foot point, the throughput speed was measured at 89 Mbps. That's double the average speed at this distance.

google nest wifi - the google nest wifi was a top performer in our 5 ghz throughput test.
The Google Nest WiFi was a top performer in our 5 GHz throughput test.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Range


To test the range of each system, we pulled up the same YouTube video and played it on 1080p. Without refreshing the page, we simply walked away from the router in 10-step increments, noting the point at which buffering started. We did this test for both the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands.


The Google Nest did an average job with the 2.4 GHz band and slightly better with the 5 GHz band. With the 2.4 GHz band, buffering began 80 feet away from the router. Likewise, buffering began 100 feet from the router for 5 GHz. If WiFi range is what you're searching for, this mesh system is easily expandable with additional routers or Google Nest Points.

google nest wifi - a small led light indicates the google nest wifi is on.
A small LED light indicates the Google Nest WiFi is on.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Use


Finally, we assessed the ease of installation and user-friendliness of each product. Specifically, we looked into the accompanying mobile app, parental controls, QoS, and other WiFi settings. To get started with the Google Nest WiFi, one must first download the Google Home app. The setup is fairly straightforward. Simply scan the QR code, and the app will walk you through the rest. Unfortunately, there is no computer setup option available. So, you'll need a smartphone to get this going.


The Nest has many great features for those who already have Google smart homes. The Google Home app is the same app that controls devices like the Google Nest Thermostat, the Google Nest Cam, lighting, fans, appliances, and more. We appreciate that everything is bundled up in one app, making it more convenient to take care of your smart home. Within the WiFi tab, you'll find the controls for this mesh system. Among these are parental controls, prioritization of devices, and network controls.

The parental controls, or Family WiFi, allow you to set schedules for when the WiFi will be shut off for specific devices or groups. The grouping feature allows you to add devices to specific family members. With one tap, you can pause access to all devices within the group. Additional parental controls are available, with options to block specific sites, apps, and content. The app also has a great prioritization function. Through this, you are able to choose which phone, tablet, computer, or TV receives more bandwidth.

Google also made it fairly simple to prioritize devices using the Google Home app. You can easily allow more bandwidth to specific devices, including phones, TVs, and computers. Additionally, the app includes easy-to-use network controls, giving you the power to share your WiFi with friends and run speed tests on routers. All these features are available at any point, regardless of if you are home or not. Additionally, Google Assistant is incorporated into this mesh system. You are able to control almost anything that is part of your Google smart home, including lighting, music, WiFi settings, and more.

The Google Home app is where the Google Nest WiFi is controlled...
The Google Home app is where the Google Nest WiFi is controlled. Here, you'll find WiFi settings.
The Google Nest WiFi has advanced options for family WiFi, guest...
The Google Nest WiFi has advanced options for family WiFi, guest connection, device prioritization, and more.

Should you buy the Google Nest WiFi?


The Google Nest WiFi is a great option for those who have a Google smart home or are looking to build one. This system is easily integrated into the Google Home app. However, you don't need a smart home to enjoy this mesh system. The system is easy to use and includes great features like parental controls and QoS. Additional Google Nest Points can be purchased to expand the network. These have built-in smart speakers with Google Assistant. This product is on the cheaper side, which is great. However, it wasn't a top performer in our throughput and range tests. If you have a larger home, you might need to purchase additional routers or points, which could quickly get expensive. In addition, this system does not have WiFi 6.

google nest wifi - the google nest wifi is a top-performer that has no trouble blending...
The Google Nest WiFi is a top-performer that has no trouble blending into its surroundings.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

What other WiFi Mesh System should you consider?


Our top-performing system was the TP-Link Deco X20. This system performed exceptionally in all of our tests. The Deco also has great features like parental controls, and this product won't break the bank. For the best of the best when it comes to range, take a look at the Linksys Atlas Pro 6. This system is on the pricier side but performs well and includes WiFi 6.

Matt Spencer and Becca Glades
 

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