Google’s new smart display tracks your sleep using radar

Second-gen Nest Hub avoids the user needing to wear a bracelet or headband and acts as smart alarm

Google’s latest Nest Hub smart display tracks sleep with miniaturised radar without the user having to wear a bracelet or headband.

The revamped 7in Google Assistant smart display is being repositioned as a smart alarm clock and health-monitoring device for the bedroom.

The camera featured on the larger model has been left out, to protect privacy, and the device instead relies on Google’s Soli radar system to detect the presence of people and do all the things other smart displays can such as showing photos, the time, weather and other information. Users will be able to make hand gestures in the air in front of the display to control things such as playback and silencing alarms.

But the radar system can also track the movement and breathing during sleep of the person next to the display without requiring extra kit.

The Nest Hub combines the sleep tracking with data from the built-in temperature and light sensors, plus the microphones to optionally listen out for coughing or snoring using local AI, to monitor disturbances and analyse sleep patterns. Users can then view suggestions for better sleep on the display or through the Google Fit app for Android or iOS.

Google Nest Hub
The Nest Hub is still a capable smart display able to answer almost any question, control smart devices and show your photos, as well as being an alarm clock. Photograph: Google

The display can also act as a smart alarm clock, controlling smart devices at night through a special “your evening” display and waking you up gently with a sunrise alarm that gradually increases the brightness of the display along with the alarm sound.

Google has also improved the speaker for the second-generation Nest Hub, which produces 50% more bass, while the display supports music from YouTube Music, Spotify, Apple Music and TuneIn radio or video from Netflix, Disney+ and YouTube among others.

The updated device now includes 54% post-consumer recycled plastic in its enclosure and has a built-in Thread radio, which will work with the new smart home standard being developed by the Connected Home over IP open-sourced working group for simpler and easier control of smart devices such as lightbulbs, thermostats and cameras.

The second-generation Nest Hub will cost £89.99 in the UK and is available for pre-order shipping on 30 March.


Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor

The GuardianTramp

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