The Google Nest Hub Max, the bigger brother to the Google Nest Hub (the original Google smart display formerly known as the Google Home Hub), finally made its way into stores this week. The first connected home product debuted since birthing of the new Google Nest brand in May 2019, the more expensive Nest Hub Max boasts a larger 10-in. display and a built-in Nest Cam to differentiate itself from the Nest Hub’s 7-in display and absence of a camera.
A New Day at Google Nest Dawns
What’s the significance of the Nest Hub Max, given the recent move of Nest.com to the Google Store and the sidelining of the Works with Nest program? As the first new “Google Nest” product, it is the harbinger of what is to come from the company, a connected home world where they see Google Assistant voice commands and bigger touch-screen smart displays as de rigueur. And where Works with Google Assistant rules.
This de facto posture comes at the expense of the deep, seamless integrations many Nest customers have enjoyed for years with third-party accessories such as smart fans, lighting, shades, and much more. These devices would automatically respond to Nest Home/Away modes and other Nest product events. For example, Philips Hue smart lighting could automatically come on as a homeowner with a Nest x Yale smart lock entered the home, enabled by Nest detecting a home arrival event. Those days are all but gone as of August 31, 2019.
Google Home Hub + Nest Cam Indoor = Google Nest Hub Max
Nest Hub Max is also the first Google Nest product to integrate large chunks of technology that were heretofore only available singularly in products from Google or Nest. It’s easy to imagine what went on in the halls of Google Nest design. They took the successful 7-in. Google Home Hub smart display and upsized it to 10 inches, then integrated the camera technology proven in the Nest Cam line—with resolution coming in a 6.5 megapixels (squarely between the 3-megapixel Nest Cam Indoor and 8-megapixel Nest Cam IQ Indoor).
The 7-in. Nest Hub has been one of our favorite connected home devices in the Digitized House Connected Home Integration Labs. In general, we prefer Google Assistant to Amazon Alexa for controlling smart devices, and the smaller Nest Hub has a pair of far-field microphones for adeptly picking up Assistant voice commands. While it’s just OK for outputting audio through a smallish 40mm speaker driver, the screen delivers high-resolution, expertly-illuminated images when in Ambient EQ mode that rival those of the best photographic prints.
The Home View on the smaller Nest Hub brings all of your compatible connected home devices to life through a touchscreen dashboard, where you can use screen gestures or Assistant commands to control them. YouTube cooking videos are just a voice command away—a snap to bring up while your hands are covered in flour or olive oil—while Google Duo calls can be taken on-screen from friends and family running Apple iOS or Android devices. And the live stream from a Nest Hello video doorbell can appear onscreen as a visitor taps the doorbell button, with two-way talk instantly available.
Improving on a Good Thing with Nest Hub Max
The Google Nest Hub Max does all of those things, and then adds more features. On the audio front, its larger size enables room for a pair of 18mm tweeters plus a 75mm subwoofer. The Nest Cam features a wide field of view, and Face Match technology and auto-framing during Duo calls enable you to move around while chatting. The camera can also be set up to record live video 7×24 like any other standalone Nest Cam, though you will need a paid Nest Aware plan to make use of this feature.
Look for our in-depth review on the Google Nest Hub Max soon: we are expecting our unit to arrive imminently.
Tom Kolnowski is the Chief Content Officer & Founder of Digitized House Media, LLC, the publisher of Digitized House | Guide to the Connected Home. When he isn’t writing about smart home technology, sustainability, and high-performance architecture, you’ll find him exploring faraway destinations with his family.