A new 10 inch HD screen, Nest camera and improved stereo speakers just for starters.
- 10-inch display, 16:10 aspect ratio, 1280 x 800 HD resolution
- Dimensions: 250.1 x 182.6 x 101.23mm / Weight: 1.32kg
- Stereo Speakers (dual 18mm tweeters and a single 75mm woofer)
- Built in Nest camera
- Physical buttons for volume control and microphone/camera activation
- Colour options: Chalk / Charcoal
- Price: $349 RRP
The design of the Nest Hub Max takes a lot of cues from the original with the same white bezzelled screen atop a fabric covered base, just this time with everything scaled up. The 10in screen even though only just HD at 1280×800 has vibrant punchy colours and is easily readable from a distance, which is great for keeping track of that recipe as you zoom around the kitchen. The bigger screen also makes watching those tutorial videos that bit easier so definitely points there.
As with the Nest Hub the Hub Max comes with an Ambient EQ light sensor to adapt the brightness to the room. So whether you are using the display as digital photo frame, watching YouTube clips or connecting to a security camera or baby monitor it all looks great.
Front and centre at the top of the screen you will notice the addition of a Nest Camera which has a myriad of used from video calling to a security camera to Google’s new Face Match. Face Match which is like Voice Match, allows the display to show personalised information when it detects a known face. For the security conscious all the Face Match data is processed on the device nothing is stored or processed in the cloud.
As the new name implies the device is integrated with the Nest ecosystem and to get the most of Nest as a home security system you will need a Nest Aware subscription. There are a couple of different packages available ranging from 5 day video history for $7 a month (or $70 a year) up to 30-day video storage for $30 a month (or $300 a year) all the packages provide the same level of features including 24/7 recording, intelligent alerts which will notify you if it notices movement or sounds, and activity zones which allow you to specify areas in the camera field of view to pay special attention to like doors and windows (or that fresh plate of choc chip cookies on the kitchen bench).
For video calls you have to use Google’s Duo application (it is isn’t integrated with any other video calling applications) the good thing is the application works not only over Android but also iOS and Chrome and if you can’t get hold of the person you can leave a video message for them. The camera also has a neat little pan/zoom feature while video calling so it can detect where people are in the room and keep everyone in frame even if there are people moving around.
There is also a built in Chromecast which allows you to cast video from almost any app (there is currently no support for Netflix) but I found it great to cast the news or an NBA game while I was doing some work in the kitchen not having to run out to the living room to not miss anything.
Another thing you notice right off the bat that is a big improvement from the previous version is the quality of the speakers. On the original Nest Hub, I chose to pair it with a set of bluetooth speakers when listening to music, however on the Nest Hub Max this is something I did not have to worry about. The stereo speakers and increased base response with the larger stand was really very impressive.
Being a Google Assistant device, you still get all the bells and whistles that you would with any of the other smart speakers from streaming Spotify or YouTube Music, listening to your favourite radio station or asking some random question to settle a sibling dispute the Nest Hub Max handles it all without a blip.
One thing Google did add that I did find rather useful was gesture control, with the addition of the camera you are now able to pause music or video simply by raising your hand in a stop motion towards the device. This was super handy when I had to stop it quickly or I didn’t want to yell “Hey Google Pause” loud enough to get over the music. To start it all again just repeat the gesture and off you go.
So, should you buy the Nest Hub Max? If you are looking for an upgrade from a standard Google Home or Home mini, then I would say 100% go and grab one. Just the improvement in the sound quality alone is reason enough to do that. If you already have a Nest Hub (previously Home Hub) and are looking for a bit more functionality like the built-in camera, the ability to do video calling and hands free gesture control then yes I think that the Nest Hub Max is a great way to go.