It’s been a few years but the smart speaker race is in full swing with both Amazon and Google fighting for your hard-earned dollars. Google has recently expanded into smart displays with the now newly rebranded Nest Hub and the all-new Nest Hub Max.
Design & Hardware
The Google Nest Hub Max, in all honesty, a bigger Nest Hub with its 10-inch touchscreen display compared to the original 7-inch display.
The device comes with far-field microphones and an Ambient EQ light sensor which will match the screen’s brightness to your room.
The base of the Nest Hub Max has stereo speakers and a woofer. Unlike the Nest Hub, the bigger Nest Hub Max has a 6.5MP camera that can be used for Duo video calls and Face Match and Quick Gestures.
Video quality from the device’s camera isn’t the best but it does offer a wide field of view.
The back of the device a mic mute and camera off switch and the stand has a fabric design that is reminiscent of the Nest Mini’s design. The right side of the device has the volume buttons. There’s also the Google Assistant and Chromecast built-in to the Google Nest Hub Max along with Bluetooth 5.
The speakers on the Nest Hub Max can get fairly loud with a lot of deep bass but not as loud as last year’s Google Home Max.
If you’ve used any of the Google Assistant smart displays like the Nest Hub or Lenovo Smart Display, then you’ll feel right at home on the Nest Hub Max.
You can ask the Google Assistant just about any question you can think of from the weather, your commute or control your smart home devices.
When you ask the Google Assistant a question, you’ll get a visual response on the device’s screen. So if you ask the weather, it’ll show you the forecast for the next few days.
The Nest Hub Max screen’s homescreen will show you recommendations based on your previous searches. From top stories to recommended Spotify playlists.
The Nest Hub Max also offers a number of clock faces to choose from. You also have the option to use the device as a digital picture frame. I wish Google would add more clock faces to choose from, there’s only about six to select from.
If you have a Nest Hello video doorbell, you can actually see who’s at your door. Since the Nest Hub Max has a video camera, the device can be used as a Nest security camera. One thing to note is that you’ll need a Nest Aware subscription for continuous video recording on the device.
Nest Aware costs $5 CAD a month ($50 CAD a year) for 5-day video history, $10 CAD per month ($100 CAD a year) for 10-day video history or $30 CAD a month ($300 CAD per year) for 30-day video history.
If you already have a Nest Aware subscription, you’ll get 50% when you add additional Nest Cams.
It’s worth noting that Google is updating Nest Aware in 2020 where there will be two tiers. Nest Aware (2020) will get you 30-days of event video history for $8 CAD per month or $60 CAD per year.
Nest Aware Plus (new for 2020) gets you a 60-day event video history, 10 days of 24/7 video history for $16 CAD per month or $160 CAD per year.
To view your Nest Hub Max’s camera feed, you’ll need the Nest app which will let you see a live view and see clips of what the camera has recorded.
The camera on the Nest Hub Max can also be used for Duo video calls and it can also be used for Quick Gestures. Basically, if you’re playing music, podcast or a video on your device and put up your hand in front of the camera, it’ll pause it. Just raise your hand again in front of it to resume.
The camera on the device can be used for Face Match. It works similar to voice match and when it recognizes your face, it’ll pull up information relevant to you.
Setting up the Nest Hub Max is fairly easy, all you need is the Google Home app on your Android or iOS device. Follow the steps and your Nest Hub Max is ready to go.
The nice thing about the Nest Hub Max and other Google Home speakers is that they all support multi-user support so you can link your own Google account that is linked to your voice.
Overall, the Nest Hub Max is a great device that is a good compliment to Google’s smart home lineup with a bigger screen, camera and a visual way to interact with the Google Assistant.
- Easy to setup
- Great design and display
- Quick Gestures work for the most part
- Fairly loud speakers
- Can be used as a Nest Cam
- Smart home controls are good
- Slightly expensive compared to other Google Home devices
- No Netflix support
- Wi-Fi disconnection issues