Google Nest Hub Max Review

With a 10-inch touchscreen, the Nest Hub Max is ideal for catching up on your favorite streaming services.

By
&
Aliza VigdermanGabe TurnerChief Editor
Last Updated on Jul 3, 2020
7.5
/10
Editor's Rating
The Nest Hub Max, Google's latest smart display, knocked us out of the water with a rotating display of our Google Photos and Face Match, face-scanning technology that automatically signed us in. From watching videos on Youtube to listening to music on Google Play Music, there was never a dull moment when we had our Nest Hub Max at our side.
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The bigger, the better. The Google Nest Hub Max is Nest’s largest smart display, with a screen of nearly ten inches across and over seven inches tall. Of course, it has a lot of other interesting and new features, like a screen that automatically adjusts to the color and light in the room, as well as full-range stereo speakers. But is it the right smart display for your home? Read this Google Nest Hub Max review to find out!

Pros and Cons of the Google Nest Hub Max

Nest Hub Max Box
Nest Hub Max Box

Right up top, I want to tell you the best and worst things about the Google Nest Hub Max.

What We Like
  • Screen: This ten-inch touchscreen automatically adjusts its color and brightness based on the room its in.
  • Face Match: Only get notifications relevant to you with Google’s face-scanning technology.
  • Live Albums: Using Google Photos, the Google Nest Hub Max can display your favorite pictures on a rotating basis, making it a smart display and a picture frame in one.
What We Don’t Like
  • Price: At $229, this is one of the more expensive smart displays I’ve reviewed.
  • Number of actions: Google Assistant has the fraction of actions of Amazon’s Alexa.
  • No shopping on Amazon action: Instead, you’ll be able to shop on Google Express, a less popular shopping platform than the giant Amazon.

Google Nest Hub Max Design

Weather on the Nest Hub Max
Weather on the Nest Hub Max

If you’ve seen the Google Nest Hub before, then you’ve basically seen the Google Nest Hub Max, just in a smaller package. Available in chalk or charcoal, this plug-in display will connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, giving you some nice flexibility there. Like I said before, the touchscreen is 9.85 inches wide and 7.19 inches tall, which is why Nest has rounded the width to ten inches, their largest screen yet. This Hub is ideal if you want to watch movies, video chat with your long-lost relatives, or do anything else that requires a screen.

Controlling Smart Devices on the Nest Hub Max
Controlling Smart Devices on the Nest Hub Max

Now, let’s talk about the screen itself. The quality is 1280 by 800 pixels, which matches the industry standard for competitors’ smart displays. The screen also has a feature called Ambient EQ, which scans the room for color and light, adjusting its brightness accordingly. Not only will this mean that your screen can limit its glare automatically, but if you’re using the display as a rotating picture frame, a feature called Live Albums, Google will actually match the photos in accordance with the room’s decor. That means those jungle pics are going up in your sage-colored room, as the two will blend together quite nicely. For those concerned with aesthetics, this is a very cool feature.

Live Albums uses photos from Google Photos to display your happiest moments whenever you’re not using your Google Nest Hub Max. You can also ask the Assistant to show you specific pictures, which is way easier than finding them in your smartphone or cloud storage. The picture frame aspect, while not new by any means, is a nice feature of the Google Nest Hub Max.

Camera on the Nest Hub Max
Camera on the Nest Hub Max

The Google Nest Hub Max also has a camera, enabling you to video chat with friends and family. The 6.5 MP camera has a 127-degree field of view, pretty impressive for a camera on a smart display.

Nest Hub Max Video Footage
Nest Hub Max Video Footage

But what really sets Google Nest Hub Max’s camera apart is it’s Face Match technology. Most Google Nest Hub Max displays are going to be used by multiple people, be it members of a family or roommates. We’ve all experienced the annoyance of getting other people’s notifications on a shared device. Well, that’s no longer a problem. Using the camera, the Google Nest Hub Max will scan your face and only show you your notifications. Thank God, because I was rather sick of getting notified about all my Mom’s book club events.

Facial Recognition on the Nest Hub Max
Facial Recognition on the Nest Hub Max

Of course, a smart display is nothing without excellent speakers and microphones. The Google Nest Hub Max has full-range stereo speakers with excellent audio quality, plus two microphones placed in the front of the display. Now let’s actually set this thing up and see just how well it works.

Installing Google Nest Hub Max

Installing the Nest Hub Max on the Nest App
Installing the Nest Hub Max on the Nest App

To install the Nest Hub Max, the first step is plugging it in and downloading the Google Home app, if you don’t already have it. It’ll automatically detect the Nest Hub Max, showing you a code on its screen which should match the one on your app. Next, you choose a room for your Nest Hub Max and name it, before connecting it to your home’s Wi-Fi. From there, the app guided me to set up Google Assistant, Voice Match (which I already had from other devices), Face Match, and more. The process is super quick and easy, and it was fun to personalize my device with my favorite music, streaming services, and photos.

Google Nest Hub Max Features

Watching Youtube on the Nest Hub Max
Watching Youtube on the Nest Hub Max

To activate the Google Assistant, the voice assistant on the Google Nest Hub Max, you’ll simply say “Ok Google”. Then, you’ll have access to over 4,000 Google actions, ranging anywhere from music to video to cooking. Let’s take a closer look.

Music

Playing Music on the Nest Hub Max
Playing Music on the Nest Hub Max

Listen to music on the following platforms:

  • Google Play Music
  • Youtube Music
  • Spotify
  • Pandora
  • iHeartRadio

Note that iTunes is missing from this list, which may be an issue for some. Personally, I’m all about that Spotify Premium life, so I’m happy with the Google Nest Hub Max’s offering of music services.

Video and Video Chatting

Video Chatting on the Nest Hub Max
Video Chatting on the Nest Hub Max

There’s nothing I love more than settling into bed and watching my favorite movies and TV shows, and with the Google Nest Hub Max’s ten-inch screen, this is super convenient and cozy. Here are the options as far as video services go:

  • Youtube
  • Netflix
  • HBO NOW
  • CBS All Access
  • Amazon Prime
  • Hulu
  • HGTV

Gotta love HGTV’s Chip and Joanna Gaines, amirite?

In terms of video chatting, the default is Google Hangouts, which I use all the time for work. What I like about Google Hangouts is that a Hangout is automatically created with any Google calendar event, so it’s easy to get large groups video chatting in one place. I also like that the screen shows whoever’s doing the talking without any action needed on the part of the user.

On top of that, the camera will frame you in the middle of the screen if you’re multitasking, which, let’s be honest, most of us are, usually. You can even leave video messages for your friends and family, which is much more personal than a text! Overall, I’d say video is definitely one of the Google Nest Hub Max’s strengths.

Web Browsers

Google Assistant searches the web using Chrome, Google’s browser, and my personal browser of choice.

Shopping

Shopping is where things take a bit of a tip, at least in my opinion. We all know that Amazon is the most popular place to shop online (and eventually, maybe even in person). But Google is Amazon’s biggest competitor, so it’s no surprise that the Google Nest Hub Max doesn’t have an Amazon action. Rather, you’ll stop using Google Express. The Google Nest Hub Max will help you to manage your shopping lists, if you’re a shopaholic, find stores, and even get test samples of products sent to your home.

Cooking

If you’re planning on keeping your Google Nest Hub Max in the kitchen, then you’ll enjoy searching recipes by course, ingredient, or dietary restrictions.

Privacy

Privacy is the undercurrent of any product made by Google that has a camera and a microphone. Google has run into many a privacy scandal in its day, so I’m happy to share with you some improvements they’ve made with the Google Nest Hub Max.

First of all, you should know that anytime you ask the Assistant for help, your voice is being recorded. However, after a recent update, you can now delete the recordings, if you want. You’ll also be in complete control of what camera features are on, and when a video is being sent to Google, you’ll see a green light turn on in the camera. However, you can also turn your camera and microphone off with a flick of a switch, which, believe it or not, wasn’t always the case.

Recap of the Google Nest Hub Max

I really like the Google Nest Hub Max as it connects so many different smart devices and services, ideal for a busy family. Let me break down who I think it would be good for.

Buy the Google Nest Hub Max if you’d like…
  • Privacy features: Google’s added privacy features make using the Google Nest Hub Max feel much safer, as you can delete voice recordings and turn off your camera and microphone when not in use.
  • 10-inch touchscreen: Not only is this touchscreen large, but it is also smart, detecting the ambient light and color in the room.
  • Live Albums: It’s a smart display and a rotating picture frame in one!
But stay away if you don’t want…
  • Google Express: Most people prefer Amazon to Google Express, which might mean you should get a smart display from the former company.
  • Expensive price: $229 isn’t the cheapest price for a smart display, but a lot of that price is from the large screen.
  • Google Assistant: While Google Assistant has over 4,235 skills, Alexa has more like 50,000 and counting.

If the Google Nest Hub Max doesn’t seem like the right smart display for you, check out our reviews of the Google Nest Hub or the Amazon Echo Show. Or, if a smart speaker seems more like your style, you might want to learn about the Google Nest Mini.

Google Nest Hub Max FAQs