google nest hub max

Months after its reveal at Google I/O 2019, the Nest Hub Max is finally here. The larger cousin of the adorable original comes with a bigger screen and better sound, but the real killer feature is Face Match. Here are some quick impressions on the Nest Hub Max ahead of our full review.

‘Face Match’ is the biggest selling point

Facial recognition is a powerful technology that has huge potential for how it can be helpful in your life. Within hours of unboxing and setting up the Nest Hub Max, it became clear to me that the implementation of facial recognition with Google Assistant is a game changer.

When the camera on the Nest Hub Max sees a person, it then matches that with one of the faces assigned to an attached Google account. You’ll assign at least one face during initial setup of the device, and after that, a simple trip to the Google Home app by your spouse, child, or roommate will set them up with the same proactive reminders and personalized content on the Max.

nest hub max camera

Nest Hub Max’s camera

It dawned on me just how useful this can be when I walked past the Max, glanced at it, and the software instantly recognized me and showed a reminder I’d set on my phone earlier that day. I have an awful memory at times, so reminders that pop up not just at a certain time or when I go to a certain place but that actively appear as I’m walking through my home is a huge deal. And that’s not even to mention that this functionality will work not just for you, but your spouse and/or children who are also set up with the device.

Google assumes, rightly, that most people will put this device in their kitchen. However, with this reminders function alone, I can see it being just as useful near the entrance of your home. With this simple addition, Google Assistant has become truly proactive and I absolutely love it.

google assistant reminders on nest hub max

Assistant reminders are the Nest Hub Max’s killer feature

There’s a lot more to talk about with Face Match, but we’ll save that for the full review. If there’s any particular functionality you want to know more about, leave a comment below!

How’s the rest of the experience?

I’ve only had a couple of days to use the Nest Hub Max so far, but it’s already impressed me across the board.

Sound quality is good, but not as good as the Google Home Max. The best comparison I can make in the Google/Nest lineup is that it’s better than the original Google Home and also has much less overpowering bass. The display quality is good too, but the size difference compared to the regular Nest Hub is a bit shocking when you see them side-by-side, not that that’s a bad thing.

The physical hardware also seems solid enough. I’m a bit annoyed that Google didn’t copy the Home Max’s compact wall outlet, but there’s little to complain about here. If you liked the Nest Hub’s hardware, you’ll like the Nest Hub Max, too.

Nest Hub Max: Worth $229?

As mentioned, we’ll have a full review of the Google Nest Hub Max in the near future as we spend a bit more time learning the ins and outs of the new features including Face Match and the built-in Nest Cam functionality. Even after just a few days of use, though, I can already say that I think the Nest Hub Max is worth its full asking price of $229. Face Match alone makes it much more useful than any other smart speaker or display on the market right now.

Sales are available now through the Google Store, Best Buy, B&H Photo, and other retailers.

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Ben Schoon

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