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Which small Nest smart speaker should grace your home: Nest Hub or Mini?

Smart speaker or smart screen, which is the better item for your home? We have some feelings about this that may help you decide.

Nest Mini (2nd Gen)

Mightiest mini speaker

nest-mini-official-render.png?itok=2rr3v

$49 at Best Buy

Pros

  • Improved speaker with twice the bass
  • Better processing power and on-device smarts
  • Now wall-mountable
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Fidgety touch controls
  • No information display or camera

Now under the Nest umbrella, this second-generation Mini is a thoughtful iteration by Google. It keeps the same look and footprint of the original but improves where it counts — on the inside. A better bass and smarter processing make for a much improved smart speaker.

Nest Hub

Happy home hub

nest-hub-max-official-render_0.jpeg?itok

$100 at Best Buy

Pros

  • Pretty great screen
  • The perfect Google Photos display
  • Easy-to-use hub to control your smart home

Cons

  • No camera means no video chatting
  • Its been over a year since hardware released
  • More expensive

After Amazon released the enormous Echo Show, Google/Nest brought a more reasonably-sized device to the market as the Google Home Hub. Now called the Nest Hub, this device offers smart screen functionality in a convenient package.

These two devices are geared toward the average user who just wants a well-made, good looking portal to Google Assistant, their smart home automation, and streaming services. The purchase decision mostly comes down to these three questions. Where do you want to put the device? Do you need a screen? Finally, how much are you willing to spend?

Nest comparison

Okay, so we’ve established that these two Nest smart speakers look different and have different use cases. Let’s see how their features stack up against each other before we give you our recommendation.

Weight 6.1 oz 16.9 oz
Size 3.9″ x 3.9″ x 1.6″ 7.02″ x 4.65″ x 2.65″
Microphones 3 2
Mute button Yes Yes
Speakers 1 x 1.58″ 1 x 1.57″
Video chat camera No No
Touchscreen No 7″ touch screen at 1024 x 600p resolution
Streaming BluetoothChromecast BluetoothChromecast
Smart home controls Yes Yes
Virtual asssistant Google Assistant Google Assistant
Pair multiple for stereo sound Yes Yes
Audio calls Yes Yes
Finishes Fabric — 4 colorsCoralSkyCharcoalChalk Fabric — 4 colorsSandAquaChalkCharcoal

Nest notes — Mini edition

nest-mini-3_0.jpg?itok=0Kk2jXAGPictured: Nest Mini.

The Nest Mini (2nd Gen) is a perfect example of how to iterate on an already beloved product. Keep the features that were popular (the physical size and shape, and of course, the price), and bolster the areas where it was a bit lacking (the speaker and smarts).

The Mini now has three microphones instead of two so the Google Assistant can better hear and understand your requests. I can’t tell you how welcome this is, as I’m a bit of a mumbler and it frustrates me to no end when my smart assistant doesn’t understand me. Speaking of smart assistants, Google/Nest improved that experience as well by adding a better processor and machine learning to the device. More of your requests can now be processed quickly and directly on the device, saving time and protecting your data by not sending it to Google’s servers.

The speaker in the Nest Mini (2nd Gen) was beefed up and now pushes out twice the bass than before. That was definitely a criticism of the first generation, and it’s good to see the company took this feedback to heart. It also seems that the speaker in the diminutive Mini is roughly the same (or even slightly better) than the driver in the Nest Hub. With that improved speaker, you’re going to want to place your Nest Mini in a more prominent location. Nest has you covered there, as the Nest Mini now includes a nook on the backplate that allows you to mount your Mini to any wall or surface, so you can project that Spotify playlist across the room!

Perhaps the most important feature of all is the price. The Nest Mini (2nd Gen) is priced at $49, which is half the price of the Nest Hub. Might as well get two to put them around your home!

Of course for all that is good, the Mini is not perfect. The Mini does not have a camera, so no video chatting with your family on this device (though you may consider that a feature!). Mini fans may also wish that it had some sort of display like the Hub, or at least a clock, like the new Echo Dot with Clock. Alas, not in this version. Perhaps that will come in the next generation.

Nest notes — Hub edition

nest-hub-counter-shot.jpg?itok=DCOby1Q2Pictured: Nest Hub.

Even though this product hasn’t been updated since its release in 2017, it is still considered one of the best smart screens on the market. It sits in that “just right” zone of not being too big to sit on your kitchen counter or bedside table but being big enough to easily view your calendar, the weather, or the latest cooking video on YouTube.

Between these two devices, this is the one to get if you’re really into managing your smart home and monitoring your security through the Nest Cams or Nest video doorbells, and Google has made it really easy to set up routines and automations. It’s also a great gadget to showcase all of your family photos like you might do with a smart picture frame.

On the flip side, this device hasn’t seen an update since its launch and is starting to look a little long in the tooth. It doesn’t have a camera for Duo video chatting (initially Google touted this as a safety feature, but then later introduced a camera and physical shutter on the Nest Hub Max). It’s also worth pointing out that the Nest Hub is nearly three times as expensive as the Nest Mini (2nd Gen), so that is something you’ll want to consider before buying one.

Decision time

You know what you want and what is best for your home, but if you let me decide, I’d tell you to get the Nest Mini (2nd Gen). Pound for pound it beats the Nest Hub in just about every important area for me: better speaker, better smarts, easier to place around the house, and cheaper too.

I know what you’re going to say: “but it doesn’t have a screen!” You’re right. If that is important to you, then your decision is an easy one. I like the screen in the Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max too, it’s just not worth nearly three or more times as much for all I get with the Nest Mini (2nd Gen). Perhaps Nest will come out with an amazing, lower-cost smart speaker with some kind of display next, and if so, I’ll eat my words. But for now, go with the little guy. Get the Nest Mini (2nd Gen).

Nest Mini

The nicest Nest

nest-mini-official-render.png?itok=2rr3v

$49 at Best Buy

Improved assistant and better bass

There isn’t much room in such a small device for large improvements, but somehow Nest pulled it off. Twice the bass and more on-device smarts make this a smart buy.

Nest Hub

Stunning smart screen

nest-hub-max-official-render_0.jpeg?itok

$100 at Best Buy

Look at the best of Nest and Google

The Nest Hub takes the best of Google’s app ecosystem and Assistant and combines it with Nest smart home powers to create a powerful home hub.

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Sennheiser GSP 670 headset review: premium price, subpar performance

The search for a new headset can really get frustrating. Sure, there are a million options on Amazon for under $50, but when you want something premium, where do you start? If you’re looking for the best possible audio quality, you start with the Sennheiser GSP 670 and hope you can find it on sale because these things don’t come cheap.The GSP 670 is a premium headset with sound quality and a price tag to match. Launching at $350, you’re paying for the Sennheiser name and quality. We’ve tested multiple Sennheiser headsets throughout the years and have almost always come away impressed. That’s the same story here.The first thing you may notice about this headset is just how big it is. It looks big before you pick it up and it feels big once you put it on. Coming in at just shy of 400g, it has the weight to make those extremely long gaming sessions taxing, but luckily Sennheiser included one of the best headbands I’ve seen in a headset yet. It’s big and comfortable without looking too ridiculous.The earcups are equally nice with large plus fabric cups that will keep your ears away from the driver covers. If you prefer leatherette cups you’ll want to find another option, but I did find these to be one of the most comfortable headsets to just sit and listen to music on. The clamping force is just right (although uneven; more on that later) and the earcups provide a wonderful seal to keep the noise of the world away from your ears.One the outside of the headset, there’s a small tactile wheel to adjust chat volume if you’re using a gaming console, a large volume knob, and a multifunction button that will provide audio prompts for battery level and put you into pairing mode when you hold it down. The only thing we’re missing here is a physical switch to move between Bluetooth and 2.4ghz connection standards, and we’ll tell you why that matters in a bit.The microphone is on the left side of the headset and provides a nice tactile click when you flip it all the way up. This is how you mute your microphone and comes in handy when you need to have a quick conversation and get back to whatever you were doing before.I wish I could report that the microphone provided better audio quality but I was pretty disappointed. It’s been a struggle to find a wireless headset that really gives great performance in this area (I’m guessing there’s a bandwidth issue) and the Sennheisers fall disappointingly short. I think they sound much the same as every other headset released in the last decade, which isn’t saying a lot.Both Bluetooth and 2.4ghz connection standards are here. Plugging the USB dongle into my computer, the headset paired almost instantly and opened up a world of opportunity to tune through the Sennheiser app. There are options to tune your EQ, how the microphone sounds, and even provide a noise gate in case you have a noisy background. I didn’t find much difference in how the microphone sounded using these options so hopefully, they continue to be tuned in future updates.The sound that comes through these headphones is a completely different story. This has been one of the best audio experiences I’ve had in my time reviewing tech. I’d put it up there with the Sony WH-1000xm3 in terms of enjoyment. Where Sony offers amazing noise cancelation, the Sennheiser GSP 670 takes the crown in terms of audio quality.I found music pleasingly bass-y without feeling like I’m slogging through the mud just to listen. Mids are very clear while highs are crisp without being piercing.I just wish I enjoyed wearing these more. I can’t overstate how heavy these things are. At just under 400g, they’re one of the heavier headsets I’ve tested and it can be exhausting during long sessions. With 16 hours of battery life, those sessions can last all night, but you’ll need breaks.Additionally, I don’t like wearing these because of how the cups sit on my head. While the cups themselves are large enough that my ear doesn’t touch anything, the clamping is uneven and annoying. You can use the sliders in the headband to adjust your clamp, but I always end up with more pressure on the bottom of the cups than at the top.Frankly, these don’t look great and certainly don’t look like something I’d pay over $300 for. They’re big and bulky with muted colors and an … aggressive? design. I’m not entirely sure what to call this design language but there are definitely better-looking options on the market. This won’t matter to some, but for those who do care, it’s a bit of a killer and makes the cost harder to justify.ConclusionThere are always trade-offs when you’re using a wireless headset. Sennheiser smartly did not skimp on the audio quality and if you’re looking for a wireless headset that sounds great, this is definitely where you want to start. I put it at the top of the list in that respect.But, where it falls apart is pretty much everywhere else. Tradeoffs become pretty obvious when you use these for more than a few hours.Yep, they’re built solidly and the plastic design means they’ll hold up to some abuse. But, these look cheaper than competing options like the Astro A50s and Arctis Pro Wireless. Plus, as I’ve said a few times, they’re heavy.It’s awesome that they have both 2.4ghz and Bluetooth standards. But there’s no way to manually switch between them and the second that your computer plays audio via the USB dongle, the Bluetooth cuts out completely. If you’re using these to take a phone call or listen to music on your phone and you accidentally click on a YouTube link on your computer, say goodbye to your audio. This would be an easy fix with a manual switch and we hope to see that in a future revision.Best over-ear headphones (spring 2020)I can’t state enough how crappy the audio from the mic is. Maybe I’m spoiled by streamers who invest hundreds and hundreds of dollars into their audio equipment, but this sounds like every headset I’ve heard the last decade of gaming and that’s pretty disappointing.If your voice quality matters to you at all, I’d suggest getting a standalone mic. But you have to ask yourself if you’re grabbing something like a Blue Yeti, is there a justification for the GSP 670 when you can buy a wireless headset for far cheaper?I know it probably looks like I hate the Sennheiser GSP 670 but I don’t. In true dad fashion, I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed. While they’re best in class in terms of audio quality, the things they miss on are a killer and make them harder to recommend over other competitors.After a bit of searching, I’ve found the Sennheiser GSP 670 around $300 and sometimes cheaper on sale. I think if you can find these cheaper than that, go for it. Your ears will thank you. At full price, they’re a tough sell.Buy the Sennheiser GSP 670 at Amazon

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