The Google Nest Hub Max has officially replaced my Sonos speaker in my kitchen. And the reason why is simple: it’s WAY more useful…
Google Nest Hub Max Review (Verdict)
The Awesome Google Nest Hub Max, A Useful, Brilliantly Designed Smart Display – Best Deal: $229.00 (Target)
- Design: ★★★★★
- Features: ★★★★★
- Sound Quality: ★★★★★
- Ease of Use: ★★★★★
- Value For Money: ★★★★
- Overall: ★★★★★
TL; DR Verdict – The Google Nest Hub Max is easily the best smart display on the market right now. From the design and look of the device to its powerful, crisp sounding speakers, nothing else quite compares right now – even Amazon’s similar offering. It’s replaced my Sonos speaker in my kitchen, as my go-to device for all my music and media needs. And the reason? It sounds just as good but it packs in tons of useful features.
You can make video calls on it, view YouTube videos on it, listen to music and podcasts on it, send messages and emails on it, and you can even use it as a security camera to monitor what’s going on in your home when you’re away. Put curtly: it is one of the most useful products I have ever tested. Google really hit the ball out of the park with this one…
I use it mostly for music and recipes. But my family uses it for video-calling and for asking questions – it has built-in Google Assistant. Mostly, though, I love that it doubles a digital photo frame that, once hooked up to your Google Photos account, will display a selection of pictures. I honestly cannot imagine my kitchen without a Google Nest Hub Max now. It’s really that good/useful/handy – and people always ask about it as soon as they see it.
Full Google Nest Hub Max Review
The Google Nest Hub Max is basically all display. The 10in 1280 x 800 panel is great for viewing YouTube videos, watching recipes, and making video calls. It also doubles as one of the best digital photo frames on the market, pulling in shots and images from your Google Photos account.
Available in charcoal or white, the Google Nest Hub Max is pretty much all display, as noted above, but peer around the side and you’ll see that it is housed on a large, powerful speaker system that is comprised of 2x 18 mm, 10 W tweeters and 1x 75 mm, 30 W woofer.
It’s an impressive speaker system. Play some music through it and you’ll know exactly what you’re dealing with. Sound quality is deep and rich. Even at 50% volume, it’s enough to fill my relatively large kitchen. On the right side of the screen, you’ll find the volume rocker. Or, you can use Google Assistant to set the volume. I use both methods interchangeably.
Up top, sat centrally above the top lip of the display, is a 6.5MP camera for recording video, video-calling, and for viewing what’s going on in your home. It’s a wide-angle camera too, so you can really see the entirety of the room and what’s going on inside it, even large rooms. I’ve tested it in all the biggest rooms of my house and it delivered floor-to-ceiling-wall-to-wall coverage.
The Google Nest Hub Max connects directly to the mains; set up is simple and, once it’s paired to your WiFi network, you can simply forget all about it. You have built-in Bluetooth, as well as ambient EQ light sensors, whereby the display is dimmed according to the lighting of the room, so as not to strain or dazzle your eyes. The microphones on it are great and it even has ultrasound sensing, so it knows when you’re nearby.
For me, this is what a smart display should be. Unassuming, clever, powerful, and packed full of useful features like a wide-angle front-facing camera and things like a light-sensitive display. I use mine every day, mostly for music, but also for YouTube, podcasts, and keeping tabs on my dog whenever I’m out for extended periods of time. I didn’t know what to expect prior to testing the Google Nest Hub Max; I didn’t see myself as someone that would use this type of device. But it converted me inside a couple of hours with its useful features, great-sounding audio, and its ability to double as a digital picture frame.
Features – What Can Google Nest Hub Max Do?
From a design perspective, Google has really nailed the Google Nest Hub Max. But the way it looks isn’t even the coolest thing about this device. Nope. It’s just how useful it is – especially in rooms like the kitchen. At its core is Google Assistant, Google’s super-smart, ultra-useful voice assistant. If you’ve used it on your phone, you’ll know how it works. If you haven’t, well… the Google Nest Hub Max might just blow your mind.
Google Assistant is constantly getting smarter. It can answer any questions you have about anything; it can send and read messages, compose emails, dim the lights in your house, cast videos to your HDTV, and a whole load more. But here, inside the Google Nest Hub Max, it really feels at home. Whether helping you work through a recipe or delivering updates about things going on around your home, the Google Nest Hub Max feels like Assistant’s natural home.
You can use the Google Nest Hub Max’s camera to recognize different members of your household as well, so whenever it spots someone new, it only ever displays information relevant to them. This feature doesn’t even require an always-on-always-recording setting either. It just does it. And it works great. For instance, say I ask for news updates, it will give me MY news updates, not my partners.
And if you’re using the smart home appliances, say a Nest thermostat, or Philips Hue lightbulbs, you can adjust and monitor them via the Google Nest Hub Max. On top of this, you can also adjust the temperature of your home simply by asking – so long as you have a Nest or compatible thermostat. Everything and anything can be controlled by the Google Nest Hub Max. And best of all, it’s easy to do – just open the drop-down menu and start managing and organizing your smart home appliances and fixtures.
Another example: if you have a Nest Hello doorbell (or something similar), you can immediately see who’s at your door from the Google Nest Hub Max display. And if that wasn’t enough, you can even relay a message to them, telling them to go away or that you’re not available. This messaging also works with other Google Assistant products, so if you have a Google Home upstairs, you can chat talk to people in different rooms of your house. This is a super-useful feature, especially if you’re in bed and really want your better half to bring you a cup of coffee.
How good is the sound quality on the Google Nest Hub Max? Put it this way: I used to have a Sonos PLAY: One in my kitchen. But within hours, that speaker, which is very expensive and very impressive, had been relegated to my office. Why? Because the Google Nest Hub Max sounds just as good and is 100 TIMES more useful.
Sound quality, thanks to its large speaker array, is crisp and detailed. And if you’re having a party, well, it can handle that easily. Even at 70% volume, it is enough to fill a cavernous kitchen or living space. Since I’ve owned one, we’ve had a few parties, and the Google Nest Hub Max has handled all the music with aplomb. A couple of my good friends were so impressed, they went out and bought one the next day!
Security Camera System + Awesome Speaker System
The Google Nest Hub Max is a smart speaker, a smart display, a smart home regulator, and a security system all in one. But it is the latter aspect that might convince most people to buy one of these, as the Google Nest Hub Max doubles as a very competent security camera that is ideal for keeping tabs on your home or even as a monitor for your children’s room.
You can pair and view other, supported cameras through it too, so if you have a camera outside your home, you can pull the feed direct to your Google Nest Hub Max’s display. As a standalone feature, the surveillance aspect of the Google Nest Hub Max isn’t market-leading. There are better options on the market that have things like night-vision and whatnot, but as an added bonus feature it only serves to increase the value proposition of this already very impressive device.
In fact, it’s not REALLY a security camera, even though it can do it. Rather, it is a central hub that will manage and make viewable all the feeds from all the security cameras in your home. And on top of this, it has its own camera for keeping tabs on what’s going on in front of it, and you can view the feed from your mobile phone wherever you are in the world – in real-time. Put in this context, it’s almost impossible not to love the Google Nest Hub Max. For a device of this ilk, it is easily the best in its class. Bar none.
Should You Buy The Google Nest Hub Max?
Prior to testing the Google Nest Hub Max, I already owned both the Google Home and the Google Home Mini, so I knew pretty much all about Google Assistant, what it could do, and why it was useful. I never thought adding a display into the mix would have such a large effect, however, four weeks after installing the Google Nest Hub Max in my home, I am 100% a convert to this type of device.
The Google Nest Hub Max is supremely useful; it is a smart display, a digital picture frame, a security system, a central hub for controlling your smart home, an interactive internet device, a means of viewing content online, and a communication device, as well as a bangin’ speaker that can fill even the largest of rooms with BIG sound. With all that in mind, it’s easy to see why pretty much everyone that has reviewed this product absolutely loves it.
If you’re after a smart speaker for your kitchen, but you want something that can do more than just music, the Google Nest Hub Max is exactly what you should go for – it’s priced well, it sounds amazing, and it can do loads of useful things like help you cook, monitor your house while you’re away, send and receive messages, do video calls, provide updates on your calendar and news subscriptions, and even double as a beautiful digital photo frame…
And for just $229 via Target, which is excellent value for money for a device that can do so much. I mean, it’s cheaper than most ultra-cheap Android tablets (and it’s way more useful, in my opinion).
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.