Google’s new home smart-speaker, the Home Max, is a substantial piece of equipment. It’s heavy, it’s pricey for its class, and it’s marketed for the audiophile-minded listener with a taste for tech gadgetry and compact packages. And, as an intelligent speaker that can learn patterns of musical interest, timing, and room dynamics, it’s got a lot going for it.
The Home Max follows the Home and Home Mini speaker/assistant in the Google lineup, but is intended to be the ‘no contest’ choice among the company’s smart-speaker offerings for anyone who takes music listening seriously. It weighs in at over 11 pounds, so has the heft one associates with serious audio equipment. But how does it measure up during a listen?
The Home Max presents itself well, tackling bass frequencies without apparent digital enhancement, and reproducing higher-end frequencies without undue ear fatigue resulting from longer sessions. It’s a fairly large speaker—hence the bass capability, which leaves the mini and Home speakers in the dust—but it is designed to blend nicely with existing décor: to be heard, and not seen.
Most impressively, the Home Max speaker uses what Google calls ‘smart sound’; it will automatically compensate for the acoustical properties of a given space by adjusting frequency response. And the Home Max will respond to queries and commands, keeping up with Amazon in the process by using far-field voice control technology so users can give the speaker system instructions from across the room.
The Google Home Max speaker is priced at $399.00.