As expected, the two Pixel smartphones were the highlights of Google's latest presentation. But apart from new mobile phones, Google also showed two devices aimed at entertainment fans.
Even those who are not looking for a new smartphone may find something else interesting after Google's "Launch Night In" presentation a few hours ago. The California-based company presented the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5 alongside the Nest Audio, a new smart speaker. The presentation additionally included a new TV dongle, the "Chromecast with Google TV".
The new Chromecast looks a lot like the previously known dongles. The small puck still plugs directly into the HDMI port of a TV. It is therefore still an inconspicuous device that usually disappears completely behind the TV set. This means that you need no space for another set-top box under or next to the TV.
What is new, however, is that the updated model comes with a remote control that can be used to control the device. The small remote, like the Chromecast itself, is available in three colors – snow, sunrise, and light blue. Besides the usual controls for controlling playback, volume, and of course Google Assistant, YouTube, and Netflix can also be accessed directly.
A separate button for activating the appropriate input on TV, soundbar, or receiver should make the daily use of the Chromecast easier. These devices can also be controlled via infrared directly with the remote control.
Also new, as the name suggests, is that the Chromecast now has its own user interface. The Google TV skin should also make it easier to use the dongle. It is reminiscent of already known user interfaces, such as those used in Amazon's Fire TV or Apple TV.
Game players who expected support of Google Stadia however will currently be disappointed. According to The Verge, the new dongle does not yet support the game streaming service. Google says they will not offer the feature until the first half of 2021.
The small dongle supports a resolution of up to 4K HDR with 60 fps. Power is provided by an included USB-C power supply. The well-known cast functions of a smartphone or tablet are also still supported. The Chromecast with Google TV costs £59.99 in the United Kingdom, or £89.99 with six months of Netflix included. You can pre-order now on the Google Store.
Nest Audio: The smart speaker that succeeds Google Home
The second new device for entertainment fans is the successor of Google Home. The new smart speaker rounds off Google's offer between the Nest and Home Mini and the Google Home Max at the top end. In terms of price, the new speaker with integrated Google Assistant lies between the three well-known devices. Three far-field microphones help to understand the user's commands.
Like the Nest Mini, Nest Audio is completely wrapped in a soft fabric cover, which is also available in five different colors in some countries. In Europe however, only a white or black Nest Audio can be pre-ordered at the moment. The green, pink, or blue versions are not available so far.
The connection to the outside world occurs via Wi-Fi. Bluetooth connections or an AUX input are not listed in the specifications. Nest Audio supports YouTube Music as well as the streaming services of Spotify and Deezer.
In its presentation, Google emphasized the sound quality, which at the same time is supposed to be more room-filling than the cheaper versions. To achieve this, a 75 mm woofer and 19 mm tweeter was used. Furthermore, two Nest Audios can be combined to a stereo pair. Google also says that the music currently playing is able to follow you through your own house using the Google Home App and several Nest Audios in different rooms.
Nest Audio can be pre-ordered now. In The UK, the new smart speaker costs £89.99. The current delivery date is listed as October 19th to 20th.