A quick warning up This is not a review. TechCrunch does reviews. It is not alone. There are several reasons for this. First, last week was Disrupt—I’ve been busy on the other side of the country. Second, this week is my COVID week (round three, otherwise self-explanatory with no limited output). Third, we rarely cover routers here for many reasons, including resources.

​​​​​​​However, the Nest Wifi Pro is already available, so I’m putting some of my first impressions on the page after setting it up and using it for a few days. I hope this is helpful if you’ve been looking at it since it was introduced last month. If you need something more substantial than what my heavy brain can offer at the moment, I totally understand. We have many big reviews planned on the horizon.

Let’s start with what Nest Wifi Pro appears and does not appear. It’s a “Pro” in the sense that it fits into the larger Google Wifi lineup. It’s a home router that looks good and is easy to set up. There are faster and more powerful routers. There are routers that are more customizable and flexible. However, if you’re looking for a router with Wi-Fi 6E that works right out of the box, it’s hard to beat.

Image Credits: Brian Heeter

This is an important thing to look out for with products like this. At $199, it’s a good entry into Wi-Fi 6E territory. If you’re looking for a quick upgrade to your home internet and your current old, dusty router is starting to look like ghosts, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better system that “just works”. I say this with the authority of someone who has spent hours on the phone with an ISP’s terrible customer service because of some phantom ghost in the company’s router machine. It’s surprising how often the fix is ​​someone flicking a switch on their end.

As someone who hosts a lot of podcasts and live video streams, I myself have long needed a wireless upgrade. There are more embarrassing things that can happen to a person live, but we won’t go into them here. Suffice it to say that a strong and stable internet connection is an important part of doing my job.

Another caveat I should mention before I go any further is one I often give when testing smart home technology: I live in New York City. This means, among other things, that I have a relatively small living space. In particular, I am in a one-room apartment. According to Google, the Nest Wifi Pro’s coverage area is 2,200 square feet (4,400 for two packs, 6,600 for three, etc.). One bedroom apartments in New York City are typically around 600-800 square feet.

Image Credits: Brian Heeter

Considering this, one device was enough. Speeds can fluctuate throughout the day, but I found mine to be pretty consistent no matter how close I was to the router. If you’re in doubt about whether one unit is enough, it should be more than enough for anything under 1,000 square feet. As you approach 2,000 square feet, the package starts to make more sense. And the UX upshot is that it’s easy to add Google mesh routers down the line (although you won’t get that bundle savings).

The setup process will feel familiar if you’ve ever setup most smart home products—particularly Google/Nest, for obvious reasons. From the user’s point of view, the device doesn’t do much (again, this is intentional). The design is perhaps even more minimal than its predecessor. It is taller and slimmer, the matte color has been replaced by a shiny, solid color. Your mileage on the latter will vary, but as with other Nest products, this one is designed — first and foremost — to blend in with its surroundings.

There are three ports: power and an Ethernet pair — one for a modem, the other for connecting a single device. That last bit is of course a potential limiter, as is the 1Gbps upper limit for the built-in Ethernet (to help keep the system under $200, one imagines). This may or may not be a problem, depending on your plan. For example, if you have fiber, you will get a bottleneck. Me, I’m stuck with Spectrum for now (I know, I know) so, um, no problem there.

But obviously you don’t want a device sitting between you and the wall slowing down your internet speed. Either way, the service you use will determine your final speed.

Image Credits: Brian Heeter

Download the Google Home app to get started and you’ll be taken through a simple setup process that’s sped up when you can take a picture of the QR code on the underside of the product. The included paper startup guide consists of three basic steps (connect the router, download the software, follow the on-screen instructions) and two images spread over two small pages. I’m not going to claim that this is all you need, but unless you run into any obstacles (always something to consider with network devices), it should be enough.

The Nest Wifi was a great system, and honestly, if you bought it, you probably don’t need to rush to upgrade. Its combined speed for Wi-Fi 5 reached a claimed speed of 2.2 Gbps, compared to 5.4 Gbps in Wifi Pro. Keep in mind that they are both combined into three lanes. Let’s just say they are very optimistic numbers.

Here’s Wi-Fi Alliance CEO Edgar Figueroa from 2020 on the Wi-Fi 5 upgrade:

6GHz will help meet the growing need for Wi-Fi spectrum bandwidth to ensure that Wi-Fi users continue to enjoy the same great user experience with their devices. The Wi-Fi Alliance is introducing Wi-Fi 6E now to ensure that the industry aligns common terminology, allowing Wi-Fi users to identify devices that support operation in the 6 GHz band as the spectrum becomes available.

Image Credits: Brian Heeter

Another important note: the Pro is not backwards compatible with the standard Nest Wifi. This means you can’t mix and match. That’s a shame, because you can find really good deals on older standard Nest Wifi devices right now. Another little thing worth noting is that, unlike their predecessor, there is no built-in smart speaker. But as I write this, you can now buy the Nest Mini directly from Google for $20, so go for it.

Google Nest devices have some other nice touches, like dedicated guest networks, parental controls, and over-the-air security updates. For a quick and easy way to get your home Wi-Fi up and running at high speeds (including access to the 6GHz band), combined with some family-friendly features, it’s a solid package. The Pro costs $200 for one, $300 for two, and $400 for three.