Google offers two smart displays for those who want a visual touch to their smart home experience. These are the Nest Hub Max and the Nest Hub (2nd gen). Which is the best option in the Google Nest Hub Max vs Google Nest Hub choice?
The Google Nest Hub Max looks a lot like the 2nd-gen Nest Hub — at first glance. The Nest Hub Max has the same general design as its smaller sibling, the same fabric speaker cover on the rear, and the same color scheme. The Nest Hub Max’s hardware differs in the addition of a camera, a larger 10-inch panel, and beefier speakers. These improvements open up several new doors for Google’s smart display series. On the other hand, the Nest Hub is much more affordable and keeps most of the smart features Google’s smart displays are known for.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the features found in the Google Nest Hub Max vs Google Nest Hub.
Google Nest Hub Max supports Google Duo video calling
While Google’s smart speakers and displays support video calling via Google Duo, the 127-degree field-of-view front camera opened up the Nest Hub Max to video calling. It also added a few special additions like auto-framing, letting it automatically zoom in and pan around during a call. This means you can wander around a bit and still stay in frame, making it perfect for use in places like the kitchen.
The 2nd-gen Nest Hub has no camera, just like its direct predecessor. This means calls are limited to voice only.
More: The best smart displays
Google Nest Hub Max doubles as a security camera
Perfect for a small room (or even an office?), the Google Nest Hub Max allows you to monitor what’s going on from the Nest app remotely. Just like the Nest Cam, you can see event history, enable Home/Away Assist, and even get notifications if motion is detected. The Hub Max is also compatible with the Nest Aware subscription service, letting you get continuous video recording and more. For obvious reasons, the Nest Hub can’t act as a security camera. This is another advantage to paying the extra money for the larger screen.
Get a more personalized experience with Face Match
Personalization isn’t new to Google’s smart displays and speakers, but the camera takes things a bit further. The new Face Match feature recognizes you and provides a more personalized experience that shows just the information that matters to you, such as your messages, reminders, schedule, music/video recommendations, and so forth.
Look ma, no hands!
Here’s something else the camera helps with. The Google Nest Hub Max adds a new Quick Gestures feature, letting you pause and resume media just by looking at it and raising your hand. This is perfect for those situations where the noise in the room is so loud that Google Assistant can’t hear you (this happens to me a TON with my Google Home).
A bigger, better display makes for a better entertainment experience
Our Google Nest Hub (2nd gen) review noted that the 7-inch display isn’t great. This wasn’t just because it’s small; it also has a less-than-great resolution of 1,024 x 600. The 10-inch 1,280 x 800 display is a welcome improvement. Although the bigger display doesn’t directly add any new features, it should allow for a better experience when watching YouTube and other general content. It also makes using the touchscreen more comfortable.
What to watch: The best free movies on YouTube
A sound experience that’s a bit closer to the Google Home Max
While the Google Nest Hub doesn’t sound bad and has been improved since the first generation, audio quality is far from a standout feature. The Google Nest Hub Max upgrades the speaker experience packing in dual 38mm speakers and a 78mm subwoofer. The music experience seems to be at a level closer to the Nest Audio, meaning it works well for music and other audio-based experiences.
A couple of things the Google Nest Hub (2nd gen) is better at
The Google Nest Hub (2nd gen) is newer, so there must be something it excels at, right? Actually, it beats the larger Nest Hub Max at a couple of things!
For starters, the smaller smart display comes with three microphones, as opposed to two. This means it should provide a better audio experience for those listening to you on the other side of a call.
The Nest Hub also comes with the new Sleep Sensing feature. It uses a new Soli sensor, a built-in temperature sensor, and the room’s ambient sound/light to track certain metrics. These include total time asleep, total time in bed, sleep efficiency (%), and respiratory rate. It will also keep an eye on any sleep disturbances you may have (snoring, coughing, etc.). The data collected was pretty accurate during our testing. It might be a cool feature to have if you don’t want to go to sleep with an annoying wearable on your body.
Oh, and the Google Nest Hub is also available in a couple of extra colors. That could be a benefit if you’re looking to get a more fun hue to go with your home decor.
Which is better, then?
In addition to the features and improvements above, the Google Nest Hub Max is also capable of all the same features as the smaller Google Nest Hub, including easy ways to control your smart home, recipe assistance, weather viewing, news, and much more.
It all depends on what you’re looking for when it comes down to the Google Nest Hub Max vs Google Nest Hub. If you want a cheap kitchen helper, the Google Nest Hub still makes a lot of sense. After all, it currently goes for just $99.99 (and you can often find it cheaper), making it more accessible than the $229 Nest Hub Max. After all, you might not even care about the improved sound or all the camera features.
If you want a device with better entertainment features, camera-based security features, and a bunch of new bells and whistles, then the Hub Max might be worth the premium.