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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 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 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 a 10-inch display, 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.
If you’re looking for something more affordable, and don’t mind giving up a camera, some audio quality, and some display area, you might also consider the 7-inch 2nd gen 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
As nice as they are, smart displays can be sometimes be overkill or offer subpar sound. 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
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. Since Assistant is onboard, your voice can control any other Google-compatible smart home accessory.
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
Google TV, to explain, is an evolution of Android TV that’s finding its way onto more and more devices. In fact unlike previous Chromecast iterations, the Chromecast with Google TV is the first with a standalone remote and interface. That means you’re no longer required to cast media to your TV from a phone, tablet, or PC. A button on the remote triggers Assistant, which is often faster than scrolling and enables control of all your other Google-linked accessories.
It’s less powerful than the Shield, but Google Cast is still present of course, and its permanently-attached HDMI dongle makes it easy to switch from room to room or take on trips. If you have any Assistant-compatible speakers, you can control media without a phone or remote.
5. Sony Bravia A80K
Sony is one of the biggest backers of Google TV on dedicated TV sets, and the model we’ve gone with is the A80K. It may not be Sony’s most advanced tech, but that keeps its cost down, and it’s still an OLED TV with Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, and even some PlayStation 5-oriented features like Auto HDR Tone Mapping and Auto Genre Picture Switch.
6. Acer Chromebook Spin 713
Chromebooks run Google’s lightweight Chrome OS, and require web access for many tasks. The advantage however is that Chromebooks cost substantially less than most laptops, since they don’t need gobs of storage or processing power.
While the Spin 713 isn’t the most powerful Chromebook, you can get configurations with up to 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, and its display runs at a sharp 2256 x 1504. It also meets the MIL-STD 810G durability standard, and can covert into a touchscreen tablet.
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 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.
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 further. Just be aware that the basic 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 annoying chirps. 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 Nest Doorbell models, both which let you see who’s at the door, communicate with them, and receive alerts about people and general movement. 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 still wire it to your home if you want to.
If there’s a downside to Nest Doorbells, it’s that some features are walled behind a Nest Aware subscription. That includes recognizing friends and family, and recording more than three hours of event history in the cloud. You do get at least 30 days of history with Aware however, and you can add as many Nest products to your plan 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.
Be warned that the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro are due to launch sometime this fall. If you can afford to wait, you probably should.
11. Philips Hue 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 A19/E26 bulbs to lightstrips and outdoor lights. The Hue Smart Hub, meanwhile, removes a lot of the burden on your Wi-Fi network, connecting up to 50 lights per unit. The Hub additionally links with Alexa and Apple HomeKit, so you’re not stuck with Assistant if you decide to switch (or combine) platforms.
12. Google Nest Wifi
The Nest Wifi is one of the best mesh routers, and naturally, it’s deeply integrated with Google Assistant. In fact its “point” extenders function as their own smart speakers, even if they don’t sound as good as a Nest Audio.
Note that Google has yet to update the router with Wi-Fi 6, which is increasingly necessary to handle the number of accessories in smart homes. If you can put with Wi-Fi 5, the Nest Wifi’s simple setup and low cost continue to make it a worthwhile buy in many homes.