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The market for smart assistants has undoubtedly come a long way since HAL and KITT. Not only can the tech do things we’d never imagined, but the competition is fierce. Between Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant, and some others, it’s tough to find your AI soul mate. I’m here to offer you some not-so-surprising guidance by telling you that as a lover of all smart assistance, I hands down have the best chemistry with Google Assistant. Google just gets me. It always knows what I want, whether it’s turning my lights on and off, or reading a ridiculous Wikipedia synopsis of The Big Bang Theory and broadcasting it through my home for everyone to enjoy (read: hate). It has my back.
In the Google Nest Hub Max, the Google Assistant is even smarter and more intuitive than before, using context clues to execute time-sensitive commands, with a remarkable UI and video monitor to accompany the verbal info. It works ridiculously well for your smart-assisted life. There are more features than I can get into, but here’s the rundown.
It is more helpful than you can imagine.
The software UI in the Nest Hub Max just gets better the smarter your home is. There’s stellar face and voice recognition, so Assistant can customize commands based on who asked them. For instance, everyone in the home can have individualized commute times, playlists, and podcasts play just by saying, “Good morning.” And Google is one of the more masterfully integrated softwares, working with a plethora of smart home accessories, from Philips Hue to Nanoleaf.
You can also do any one task thousands of ways. If I’m cooking chicken but don’t want to touch the screen to continue the recipe or need to hear the next step, I can simply ask Google to read it. If I want the music to pause, but for whatever reason can’t get there, I can hold one hand out to signal “stop” to the camera. A simple swipe-down motion controls lights. It can connect to your Chromecast, meaning if you’re trying to make dinner and watch whatever show everyone else is watching in the other room, you can. Those are just a couple examples, but rest assured this thing is chock-full of options, choices, and gestures.
The design is impeccable.
The design of the Nest Hub Max is subtle and intentional, which helps it blend into any atmosphere. The 10-inch screen is legible without feeling too obtrusive, and the mesh stand brilliantly doubles as the speaker. The Max also features a camera that is not only used for video calling and personalized facial recognition, but can be used as a Nest security camera as well. It also gives the device one of its best features, ambient light mode, which allows the Hub Max to mimic the light in your room so no needless light glows from its screen. It’s kind of amazing how seamlessly the Hub can become a picture frame or a clock or anything else when it’s not in use, depending on what you want for your home screen. You can even upload your own media to cycle in the background or connect it directly to Google Photo albums. Google knows how to give us all the customizable features we want while remaining accessible.
The speaker is really, really good.
The Google Hub Max may seem too good to be true. But how’s the speaker? Well, it’s legitimately great. Honestly, I couldn’t believe it. It emits a remarkably full sound that can get loud for its small package, all while still being able to take commands. Music sounds amazing, and whether you’re listening to sweet indy guitar or heavy electronic, it’s crisp. Podcasts, talk shows, TV, and YouTube videos all play with clear dialogue. The speaker can also easily fill multiple rooms with booming sound. Truth be told, the sound quality feels like that of a $ 250-plus speaker.
Google has an exciting upcoming season with a new Wifi mesh network, Pixel 4 phone and Pixelbook laptop, and Google Stadia—all promising some solid Assistant support. And through and through, the Google Nest Hub Max, which was released earlier this fall, remains the quintessential smart home hub.