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Google Home Max review: Maximum sound

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Quick verdict: The Google Home Max is easily the best Google Home speaker if you're after audio quality, although you'll pay a hefty price for its hefty sound.

  • Excellent audio
  • Multiple inputs for other audio sources
  • Simple design
  • Maximum volume blocks Assistant calls
  • No 360-degree sound
  • Heavy

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Google's first set of speakers in the Australian market were the highly affordable Google Home Mini and mid-priced Google Home devices. They're both fine examples of what you can do with Google's AI smarts and a little home automation, but absolutely nobody was lining up to buy either if what they wanted was crisp audio quality.

In the intervening period, we've seen a wide range of competing Google Assistant ready speakers from the likes of JBL, Sony, Panasonic and LG. Google's contribution to the premium space is the Google Home Max, launched in the US late last year, and it's finally available on our shores.


Design

Design

  • Plain style to suit any decor
  • Very heavy to move around
Google Home Max

Performance

Performance

  • Loud and clear output
  • Stereo pairing is feasible, but expensive
Google Home Max

Verdict

Verdict

  • A great speaker for the Google faithful
  • High cost could make a smaller third-party speaker a better buy
Google Home Max

The Google Home Max adds the critical audiophile-grade component to the Google Home Family. If your smart speaker plans only incorporate Google-made speakers and you want better audio than the Home or Home Mini can deliver, it's your by-default option, and a fine speaker in its own right. You won't regret its audio output, and as long as you can keep the volume moderate, you won't struggle to be understood for smart speaker queries either.

However, it's also an expensive option, and that means you should stop and consider your smart speaker options carefully. There are plenty of competitor products with the same Google Assistant features onboard at lower price points. They don't have the full volume output of the Google Home Max, but unless you have a large space to accommodate that sound, their audio output should suit just fine.

Pricing and availability

Price

RRP $399

Where to buy


Alternatives

If you want to keep it "pure" Google, consider the Google Home, or if you just want the smart without much audio quality, the Google Home Mini.

Outside of Google, you could consider the Panasonic SC-GA-10, the Sony LF-S50G, the JBL Link 20, or the LG WK7 speaker.

The Google Home Max is even more expensive than the Apple HomePod speaker, although you really do need to be happily ensconced in an Apple Music and iOS world to make the most out of that speaker.


What the other reviewers say

SiteCommentScore
Techradar"A big speaker that nails the small touches."4.5/5
Mashable"Google Home Max is the best smart speaker if you love your music loud."4.25/5
AFR"If max volume's your thing, go for the Max."N/A
SMH"The smartest and best-sounding smart speaker."N/A
CNET"Harder, better, stronger sound comes to Google Home."7.8/10
The Verge"The war for your living room is just heating up, and it’s going to get a lot more interesting, and loud, before it’s over."7.5/10
Engadget"The Google Home Max doesn't have any competitors that can match all of its features."88/100

Specifications

Google Home Max

General

Camera
No
Voice Assistant
Google Assistant

Connectivity

Bluetooth Support
Yes
Wireless Network Support
802.11b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz/5GHz)

Audio

Speaker Information
Two 114mm high-excursion woofers + two 18mm custom tweeters
Streaming Support
Spotify (free)
Spotify (Premium)
TuneIn
YouTube Red
Google Play Music
Deezer
Audio Out
No
Microphone Array
6

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