When Google relaunched its mesh Wi-Fi solution under the Nest brand name, some were wary. But the Nest Wi-Fi mesh kit is not only a superb whole-house solution for Wi-Fi connectivity, it's also a Google Home smart speaker. And that's why it wins our first-ever Tom's Guide Award for the best router you can buy.
Every extension to the Nest Wi-Fi system has microphones to listen and speakers to respond and play music, making every extension a full-fledged Google Home speaker with Google Assistant voice interaction. In addition to connecting all of your devices, it also boasts all of the smart home compatibility Google offers, so you can speak to your router to control everything from your smart TV to your security cameras and smart lights. Putting all of that smart capability into the same device that ties all those devices together is one of the smartest things we've seen.
Couple this functionality with an attractive design, and suddenly the question of where to hide the ugly router extension disappears, with an elegant looking and highly functional device you'll use everyday, now placed throughout the home.
It's also one of the best mesh Wi-Fi systems we've ever seen. With the basic 2-pack of a router and one extension, you can cover 3,800 square feet, or get the 3-pack for up to 5,400 square feet. No need to stop there, since the system can handle up to 32 extensions, with a smart speaker enabled unit in every room to provide category-leading performance across large homes and up and down multiple floors.
Setting it up takes only minutes, and uses the Nest Wi-Fi app, which also gives you plenty of control over guest network access, parental controls and smart home connections, all through the app or via spoken commands to the smart speaker.
That combining of the intelligent networking of mesh Wi-Fi, the dead-simple setup and management offered through Google's Nest Wi-Fi app, and the intuitive spoken conversation interaction of one of the best smart assistants out there makes for a compelling product. It all adds up to make the Nest Wi-Fi one of the best products of the year.
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Brian Westover is currently Lead Analyst, PCs and Hardware at PCMag. Until recently, however, he was Senior Editor at Tom's Guide, where he led the site's TV coverage for several years, reviewing scores of sets and writing about everything from 8K to HDR to HDMI 2.1. He also put his computing knowledge to good use by reviewing many PCs and Mac devices, and also led our router and home networking coverage. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he wrote for TopTenReviews and PCMag.