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15 November 2019

REVIEW: Google Nest Hub Max

Review of the Google Nest Hub Max
The Big Screen

A few months back we reviewed the Google Home Hub, a smart speaker with a touch screen. We loved it, and it became one of those devices that we get in to test which then continues to be used everyday. Surely a good sign. Well, now Google are back with an undated version, and this mother is big. We review the Google Nest Hub Max.



In a nutshell, think the original Home Hub and increase the dimensions. That first device featured a seven inch screen, making it only a tad bigger than your phone. The Hub Max, however, pushed the screen real estate up to ten glorious inches, so it now resembles a tablet.

Review of the Google Nest Hub Max

Increasing the screen isn't the only improvement Google (or rather the Google-owned Nest) have made to the Hub. The most headline-grabbing addition has to be the camera, something that was sorely missed from the original, smaller Hub. That means you can now make video calls on the Hub Max... and more.

Review of the Google Nest Hub Max

The Nest Camera can be used, either via the Nest app or the standard Google Home app, as a security cam. You can view the live stream from the camera as you would any WiFi security set up, and being able to do so might influence where you place the Hub Max in your home. We decided to put it somewhere, and at just the right angle, to take advantage of this security feature, so think on about where yours will go.

Review of the Google Nest Hub Max

That cam can also be used to recognise your face. Look at the screen and the Nest Hub Max will recognise you and present you with a personal home screen, showing any reminders you have set, and details of your commute to work. And if you're concerned about privacy (as well you should be), there is a physical button on the rear of the screen that deactivates both the camera and the microphones.

The larger size means that Nest can up the oomph. The built-in speakers are far more powerful than the original Hub, with stereo speakers in the front, and a three inch woofer on the back. This means that the likes of YouTube Music, which is free on Google devices with a screen (which never made any sense to us - it's music, for God's sake), sounds great. Room-filling, definitely, and we found ourselves enjoying the sound from Hub Max more than the visuals. And yes, it's Bluetooth, so you can hook up your phone to it.

Review of the Google Nest Hub Max

Just as with the Hub, the Hub Max displays your Google Photos wonderfully. The digital photo frame feature might sound like a pretty dull use, but thanks to the Ambient EQ light sensor, it will automatically adjust the brightness of the image to match the room. This makes the photos really pop and means your screen is never too bright, no matter what time of day it is.

So, if you already have a Google Hub, should you upgrade to the Nest Hub Max? Well, yes and no. Yes, if you really missed a camera on the original device and long to use it for video calls. No, if you only ever use that screen to display images, search results, and YouTube videos.

Review of the Google Nest Hub Max

For us, the real selling point has been the quality of the sound. The Google Nest Hub Max is therefore the first decent smart speaker that also has a screen. We previously reviewed the Google-powered Lenovo Smart Display, which was our go-to 'speaker with a screen'. But the Hub Max blows it out of the water in all departments, from sound and picture quality, to the general appearance of the device. It's built well, and looks great on a counter top or coffee table.

So although the size increase and camera might have you massively excited, the Google Nest Hub Max has set a benchmark for other visual smart speakers to follow. It may be £100 more than it's smaller, older sibling, but we can actually see what that extra expense goes into. We approve.

£219

Available from www.amazon.co.uk




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