Google is hot on Echo’s heels, no doubt. Can it level the playing field with the bigger and more technically advanced Home Max? At the moment, Amazon Echo is enjoying a comfortable lead in the race for the best smart speaker today. Keeping the race tight for the search engine is its expanding line of Google Home devices, including the Home Max. Should you or anyone bother paying attention to this supersized smart home speaker?
Inevitable Response to Amazon
Amazon’s recent refresh of the Echo line saw a response from Google with its introduction of the all-new Google Home Mini and Google Home Max smart speakers. The search engine leader isn’t just introducing new devices here. It’s also beating Amazon at its own game by offering its line of smart speakers at various price points.
Introducing Home Max
With a price tag just a dollar shy of $400, the Google Home Max is clearly in the same boat as other high-end speakers from the likes of Bose, Sonos, and Apple. To compete against such stiff competition, the stereo speaker combines a balanced combination of pleasing aesthetics and capable hardware.
The Home Max features two 4.5-inch woofers and a couple of tweeters. It also uses far-field microphones that always listen to you even when it’s playing music loud. All of these are behind a replaceable fabric speaker grille that comes in either white or black color.
At first glance, it looks a bit like Apple’s vintage iPod Hi-Fi speakers from a few years back.
Despite its size, the Max stands out from most smart home speakers of its price range with sheer versatility. You can set it up vertically or horizontally with a clever rubber “foot” that attaches to surfaces through a magnet. The touch control for the volume is placed across the top. That doesn’t count for much since it’s a smart speaker and you ought to give it commands. If you buy two, you may also set them both up wirelessly as a left and right speaker.
In terms of connectivity, Google Home Max supports Bluetooth. You’re more likely to use Google Cast to get audio on it, though. There’s also a 3.5mm aux jack right next to a USB-C port that’s meant for an Ethernet adapter. You can have a wired Internet connection run with the Max, too.
The Home Max intrigues with all the innovation packed into its sizeable frame. The device can be moved with an auto-adjusting sound profile. Google Home Max achieves a degree of spatial awareness due to its machine learning capability. It automatically adjusts itself in real-time to create optimum sound regardless of the room.
Even more impressive is how Google Max can heed your commands even with when playing really loud sounds. The smart speaker was even able to pick up a barely audible “OK Google” request despite it playing music at a high volume.
Should You Get One?
The Google Home Max has been designed with serious audiophiles in mind. It’s sufficiently loud and delivers superb sounds to get a whole room thumping. It’s a little expensive ($399 to be exact), though, and this easily makes the Home Max the immediate rival to Apple HomePod at its price range.
Even if you’re not planning to use the speaker to blast music throughout the house, you’ll be delighted to know that the Max plays music from various, popular streaming services, too. You can stream from Google’s own streaming service: Google Play Music and YouTube Music. Plus, you may also connect the Home Max to Pandora and Spotify.
This smart home speaker doesn’t only deliver booming audio, though. Its focal feature is really its capacity to control IoT devices. There’s already a growing collection of smart home devices that work with Google Home speakers and you can easily set up your own smart home with the Home Max at the helm.
No doubt, picking a new smart speaker has gotten much more complicated nowadays. There are too many options to choose from and it can get really confusing for first-time buyers. But if you’re serious about audio quality and intrigued by the idea of living in an automated home, though, getting the Google Home Max should make a lot of sense. That’s considering the fact that the top smart home speakers on the market today have ways to go before their audio quality could be at par with the Max’s.