Quick warning on top. This is not a review. TechCrunch reviews. This is not one. 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 limited output). Third, we very rarely review routers here for many reasons, including resources.

However, the Nest Wifi Pro is now available, so I’m sharing some of my initial impressions on the page after setting it up and using it for a few days. I hope this is helpful if you’ve been watching one since its launch a month ago. If you need something a little more substantial than what my scrawny brain can offer right now, I totally understand. We have many major reviews planned over the horizon.

Let’s start with what the Nest Wifi Pro is, what it isn’t. It’s a “Pro” in the sense of where it fits into the broader Google Wifi line. This is 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 Wi-Fi 6E router that works right out of the box, it’s hard to beat.

Image Credits: Brian Heather

This is an important thing to note with products like this. At $199, it’s a solid entry into Wi-Fi 6E territory. If you’re looking for a quick boost to your home internet and your current dusty old router is starting to lose its steam, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better system that “just works” out of the box. I say this with the authority of someone who has spent his own hours on the phone with terrible ISP customer support because of some phantom ghost in the company router machine. Amazing how often the solution is for someone to flip the switch on their side.

I’m long overdue for a wireless upgrade myself, as someone who hosts a lot of podcasts and live video shows. There are more embarrassing things that can happen to a person on a live broadcast, but we won’t dwell on them here. Suffice it to say that a strong and stable internet connection is an important part of my job.

Another caveat I should mention before we continue is one I often give when testing smart home technology: I live in New York City. This means, among other better things, that I have a relatively small living space. Specifically, I’m in a two-bedroom. Google defines the Nest Wifi Pro’s coverage area as 2,200 square feet (4,400 for two packs, 6,600 for three, etc.). One-bedrooms in New York City typically range from about 600-800 square feet.

Image Credits: Brian Heather

With that in mind, one device was enough. Speeds can vary throughout the day, but I’ve found mine to be pretty consistent no matter how close I am to the router. If you’re wondering if one unit is enough, it should be more than enough for anything under 1,000 square feet. When you get closer to 2,000 square feet, the package starts to make more sense. And the UX upshot is that it’s easy to add Google network routers down the road (although you won’t get those bundled savings).

The setup process will feel familiar if you’ve ever set up most smart home products – particularly the Google/Nest stuff, for obvious reasons. There isn’t much to the device from a user perspective (again, that’s intentional). The design is perhaps even more minimalistic than its predecessor. It is taller and thinner, the matte color replaced by a glossy, plain work. Your mileage with that last bit 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 a pair of Ethernet — one for the modem and the other for connecting a separate device. That last bit is a potential limiter, of course, as is the 1Gbps cap on the onboard Ethernet (to help keep the system under $200, one imagines). This may or may not be a problem, depending on your specific plan. If you have fiber, for example, you will get a bottleneck. Me, I’m stuck with Spectrum right now (I know, I know) so, um, no problem.

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

Image Credits: Brian Heather

Download the Google Home app to get started and you’ll be taken through a simple setup process, sped up if you can take a picture of the QR code on the bottom of the product. The paper startup guide included in the box consists of three basic steps (turn on the router, download the app, follow the on-screen instructions) and two images spread across two small pages. I won’t say it’s definitely all you need, but if you don’t run into hiccups (always something to consider with network devices) it should be enough.

The Nest Wifi was a good system, and honestly, if you bought one, you probably don’t need to rush to upgrade. Its combined speed for Wi-Fi 5 peaked at a claimed speed of 2.2 Gbps versus the Wifi Pro’s 5.4 Gbps. Note that both figures are combined in the three bars. Let’s say they are a lot optimistic figures.

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

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

Image Credits: Brian Heather

Another important note here: 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 some really good deals on these old standard Nest Wifi devices right now. The other small part to note here is that unlike their predecessor, there is no built-in smart speaker here. But as I write this, you can currently buy the Nest Mini directly from Google for $20, so go for it.

Google’s Nest devices offer some other niceties, 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 (including access to the 6GHz band), along with some family-friendly features, this is a package that’s hard to beat. The Pro costs $200 for one, $300 for two, and $400 for three.

Google’s Nest Wifi Pro is a dead simple way to bring Wi-Fi 6E home