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The best Google Assistant devices to spend your money on
Google Assistant launched in 2016, and since then, the digital helper has expanded its reach from smartphones and watches to a huge plethora of devices for the home. The Google Nest brand has emerged as part of this expansion, offering an assortment of speakers, thermostats, sensors, routers, and cameras.
Here are what we consider the best Google Assistant-oriented devices you can get for your home and in general. Some have Assistant built-in, while others can only be controlled when paired with a phone, smart speaker, or smart display.
The best Google Assistant devices
Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this list regularly with new Google Assistant devices as they land, so stay tuned!
1. Google Nest Hub Max
You’ll typically want a smart speaker or display to anchor any Assistant-based smart home. With the Nest Hub Max, Google provides its own excellent big-screen offering, enabling both visual and voice-based controls. You can play music, make video calls, stream security cameras, and watch video services like YouTube and Netflix. Controlling connected accessories is as simple as a voice command or a few taps.
If you’re looking for something more affordable, and don’t mind giving up a camera, audio quality, and display area, you might also consider the second-generation Nest Hub. It even has Sleep Sensing, which might make it preferable as a bedside companion.
Related: The best smart displays
2. Google Nest Audio
A smart display can be overkill, whether it’s because you’re only looking for audio or the Nest Hub Max seems pretty expensive. Enter the Nest Audio, which has an elegant, fabric-covered design that fits desks, nightstands, bookshelves, and many other locations. It’s equipped with a 19mm tweeter and a 75mm woofer, which may not make it the absolute best Assistant speaker out there, but at $100 or less it delivers a lot of punch per dollar.
Two features that boost sound quality are Media EQ and Ambient IQ. The former automatically tunes the speaker based on the type of content you’re listening to (music, podcasts, audiobooks, etc.), while the latter auto-adjusts volume based on how noisy your home is at the moment.
Those wanting something cheaper might look at the Nest Mini. It retails for half the price, and can often be found for even less. It’s really meant for smart home control and Google Search, however, since it’s lacking in the volume and bass departments.
3. Nvidia Shield TV
Android TV is Google’s media set-top platform, and it’s actually one of the best you can use. If you don’t have a smart TV, or have one and aren’t happy with its apps and features, you should check out the Nvidia Shield TV. It can add Android TV to just about anything, and by extension, Google Assistant.
You can use your voice (if you also have the Shield controller) to command the Shield TV to launch apps like Netflix, YouTube, and more. You can play, pause, or skip through videos, and control other Google-compatible hardware.
Nvidia continues to update the Shield TV with features like Dolby Vision and GeForce Now streaming, which lets you play hundreds of PC games.
4. Chromecast with Google TV
Unlike previous iterations of the Chromecast, the Chromecast with Google TV comes with a standalone remote and interface. That means you’re no longer required to cast media to your TV from a secondary device. You can use arrows to navigate Google TV, or else trigger Google Assistant by holding down a dedicated button.
Of course, if you like, you can continue to use it like older Chromecast models. It has a permanently-attached HDMI dongle that you plug into the back of a TV, and if an app supports Google Cast, it’ll work here. If you have any Assistant-compatible smart speakers, you can control media without a phone or remote.
5. Sony X800H
Android TV is built into various TV sets, and Sony is one of the platform’s biggest backers. The TV we’ve gone with is the X800H. It may not be Sony’s latest or most advanced model, but it still comes with 4K and HDR support, including Dolby Vision, and is sold in sizes from 43 to 85 inches.
We’ve found the X800H to offer the most value in terms of features and pricing. Better TVs can be significantly more expensive, without necessarily delivering the speed and image quality to match.
6. Google Pixelbook Go
Historically, Google’s in-house Chromebook offerings have been superpowered monsters with frighteningly high price tags. The Pixelbook Go is Google’s attempt to appeal to more people thanks to a lower starting price of $649, though if you max it out, you’re looking at $1,399.
You do get what you pay for. The entry-level system is equipped with an Intel Core M3 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage, which is just enough to get the job done. The top-end configuration by contrast features a Core i7 chip, 16GB of RAM, and 256GB of space, making it faster and more practical. And while most versions sport a 13-inch 1080p display, the most expensive variant upgrades to a 4K panel.
So who is the Pixelbook Go for? This is a great option if you’re looking for a Chromebook with plenty of power. That said, there are cheaper alternatives with similar performance from brands like Acer and HP.
7. Google Nest Learning Thermostat
An easy pick among Google Assistant devices is the third-generation Nest Learning Thermostat. Nest created the famous original Learning Thermostat as an independent company, but was bought out by Google in 2014 and later fully integrated into Google’s hardware unit as Google Nest.
The third-gen model can be controlled via Google Assistant, mobile apps, or even Amazon Alexa. Its signature feature is learning household habits to generate an automatic schedule, though you can also create a manual schedule if you prefer. Either way, the accessory can potentially pay for itself with more efficient heating and cooling.
Related: Google Nest Thermostat review
The Learning Thermostat has a little brother, simply called the Nest Thermostat, which drops learning functions but offers many of the same features at a lower price point. Plus, utility companies sometimes offer rebates on the equipment, bringing costs down even further. Just be aware that the Thermostat doesn’t work with every wiring setup.
8. Google Nest Protect
The Nest Protect is a self-testing smoke and CO (carbon monoxide) alarm. Apart from Google Assistant integration, its features include verbal alerts, and app integration that includes early battery warnings — no more scrambling for a ladder to shut off an annoying chirp. It even distinguishes between smoke and steam, and lights up automatically when you walk underneath at night.
If you have a Nest thermostat, the Protect can automatically cut off your heating equipment in the event of a fire or CO leak. You can also choose between wired and battery-operated versions, although the former still uses a few batteries as backup.
9. Google Nest Doorbell (Battery)
There are two Google Nest Doorbell models, both which let you see who’s at the door, communicate with them, and receive alerts about movement and people. We strongly suggest going with the Nest Doorbell Battery, since it can continue recording event footage for an hour after a power or Wi-Fi cut, and its alerts go a step further with animal, package, and vehicle detection. You can also wire it to your home if you want to.
If there’s a downside to Nest Doorbells, it’s that some key features are walled behind a Nest Aware subscription. That includes recognizing friends and family, and recording more than three hours of event history. You do get at least 30 days of history with Aware, however, and you can add as many Nest products as you like without it jacking up fees.
10. Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro
Most Android devices come with Assistant, but if you want the most Google-optimized smartphones in existence, the obvious leaders are the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. Both are powered by Google’s custom Tensor processor, and share other hardware features like a 50-megapixel main camera with laser autofocus and optical image stabilization. The Pro upgrades from a 6.4-inch 90Hz display to a 6.7-inch 120Hz panel, gaining a bigger battery, more RAM, and a 48-megapixel telephoto shooter.
What makes the Pixel line superior in terms of Assistant is that it’s always first to get the latest version of Android, and in its purest form to boot. That translates into the full Assistant experience, checked only by how powerful your specs are.
11. Philips Hue Lighting Starter Kit
Philips is one of the biggest names in smart lighting, and its Hue lineup is both well-rated and available in many different form factors, from regular E26 bulbs to lightstrips and outdoor lights. The Hue hub meanwhile removes a lot of the burden on your Wi-Fi network, connecting up to 50 lights per unit. It can additionally link with Alexa and Apple HomeKit, so you’re not locked into Assistant if you decide to switch (or combine) platforms.
12. Google Nest Wifi
The Nest Wifi is one of the best mesh routers, and as you might expect, it’s deeply integrated with Google Assistant. Not only can it be controlled through Assistant, but its add-on “point” extenders function as smart speakers. You can use them as you would any other Assistant speaker, even if they don’t sound as good as a Nest Audio.
If there’s a bigger catch, it’s that Google has yet to update the router with Wi-Fi 6, which would improve both speeds and the number of simultaneous connections it can handle. That said, its integration, simple setup, and low cost continue to make it a worthwhile buy in homes that aren’t loaded with smart home accessories.