What if the Google Home Hub had a camera and larger, higher resolution display? Meet the Google Nest Hub Max — the first smart home product to come from the newly announced Google Nest co-brand.
The Google Nest Hub Max goes on sale in the U.S. and U.K. on July 15 for $229 and 219 pounds, respectively. Here’s everything you need to know about Google’s new smart display announced at Google I/O 2019.
Don’t miss: Google Pixel 3a XL review
Google Nest Hub Max: Home Hub, super-sized
Google says that, of the millions of Google Home devices sold across the last holiday season, one in every seven was a Google Home Hub. It’s no surprise then that the first marquee product from the Nest-Google hardware division merger is another smart display with an almost identical overall look.
The Nest Hub Max has the same slanted design as its smaller sibling, the same fabric speaker cover on the rear, and the same pastel color scheme (available in Chalk and Charcoal at launch).
The most immediate change is the display, which has jumped from the Home Hub’s 7-inches to a 10-inch panel. The display has also enjoyed a resolution bump up to 1,280 x 800 and has a 16:10 aspect ratio.
Like the Home Hub (which will be rebranded to the Nest Hub very soon), the Nest Hub Max is also outfitted with an ambient EQ sensor to help adjust the color temperature of the screen to the room it’s in and changing light conditions.
On the audio front, the Nest Hub Max offers 2.1 stereo through two 38mm tweeters and a 78mm subwoofer.
Edward Kenney, product lead for Google Assistant devices in U.K., told Android Authority that the Nest Hub Max was designed to fit in between the regular Google Home and Google Home Max in terms of overall audio quality. Having heard a brief music sample on YouTube Music (Spotify and Deezer are also supported) on the Nest Hub Max and having tested tested every other Google Home device, I’d say that’s a fair position — it sounds awesome.
As well as two far-field mics for picking up Google Assistant voice commands, the Nest Hub Max also features a volume rocker on the side and a mute slider on the back like the regular Home Hub. The only difference is the mute slider doesn’t just mute the mics; it mutes the Nest Hub Max’s headline new feature — the camera.
Google Nest Hub Max: Nest camera
The Nest Hub Max’s built-in Nest Cam finally brings a camera to Google’s smart Home Hub-style devices. The camera itself has a 127 degree field-of-view for super-wide video. Like Nest’s many other cameras, the Nest Cam also uses auto-framing technology to track movement. That means if you move around in front of the camera it will pan around and zoom in and out to keep you in the shot.
The most obvious benefit of the added camera is video calling via Google Duo, which lets users video call other smart displays, phones, tablets, and more. Duo on the Nest Hub Max takes full advantage of the auto-framing and wide FOV technology, which is essentially Nest’s AI-led intruder technology repurposed for video calling.
Face Match is another new feature enabled by the camera. Much like Voice Match on other Home devices and Android phones, Face Match personalizes the user experience by syncing with their unique Google account, only instead of voice recognition, Face Match knows who you are based on facial recognition.
The most obvious benefit of the added camera is video calling, but that's not all.
When the Nest Hub Max spots a user it knows, it pulls up that user’s Google account icon. Tapping the small icon then brings up notification cards and reminders based on their Google profile. Google says this is an important step towards making Assistant and the smart home experience proactive rather than reactive.
Other camera features include the ability to pause/unpause music by holding up your palm to the lens and Nest security functionality. The latter lets users check their home within either the Google or Nest app at any time, with further security features coming for Nest Aware premium subscribers.
The Nest Cam will inevitably spark privacy concerns. While there’s no physical shutter for the camera, muting the camera shuts off the camera and mic by electronically disabling them. A green notification dot will also always show when the camera is recording and data is sent to the cloud.
We’re excited to get more time with the Google Nest Hub Max to test the camera, screen, and audio in greater detail. In the meantime, let us know your thoughts on the new smart display in the comments!
More Google hardware news from Google I/O 2019: