After its announcement earlier this year, Google’s ready to launch the Nest Hub Max. A bigger 10-inch version of the existing Nest Hub (formerly Home Hub), it’ll be hitting Australian retailers (and the Google Store) on September 10 with an asking price of $349.
The Nest Hub Max’s bigger screen is designed to work best in larger rooms and shared spaces, and it has a few new tricks up its sleeve afforded by its front-facing camera.
The most notable new feature is Face Match, a visual companion to Voice Match, that allows Nest Hub Max to recognise you as you pass in front of the camera and use that recognition to offer personalised results. Nest Hub Max will show your avatar on screen to indicate that it’s recognised you, and all the face-matching image recognition work is done on-device (not in the cloud). If you’re in front of the camera but someone else asks a question, the Voice Match feature will take precedence.
You’ll also now get Google Duo video calling and messaging on the device and the camera will track you around the room and attempt to frame you best for your call. As a part of that tracking, the camera will recognise when you hold up your hand, and take that as a play/pause gesture for controlling media playback.
Being a Nest device, the camera on the Nest Hub Max also functions as a Nest Cam, so you can use it to check in on home while you’re away to see if the cat is lazing around on the kitchen bench when he knows he shouldn’t (maybe that use case is particular to me, actually). You can also use it with a Nest Aware subscription so you can get a notification if the camera detects motion.
The camera and mic can, as always for Google’s Home devies, be switched off by a physical switch on the back. On the front, an LED shows you when the camera is in use and flashes if its being accessed remotely.
The Nest Hub Max’s 10-inch touchscreen display also uses the Ambient EQ technology from the smaller Nest Hub, so it won’t be backlit unless needed and it’ll blend into its surrounds in a way that doesn’t draw attention to itself – something Google’s gone to great lengths to accomplish with the entire Home product range.
As with its little brother, you can use Google Assistant with voice and touchscreen interactions and you’ll find the now-familiar Home View, Live Photos and built-in Chromecast features making a welcome return. That 10-inch screen makes the Nest Hub Max a great way to consume music and video without a speaker, TV or monitor in the room too.
On the audio front, the larger footprint of the Nest Hub Max allows Google to beef up the speakers on the device as well – there’s now two forward-firing 18mm 10W tweeters, and a rear-firing 75mm 30W woofer.
Google’s Nest Hub Max has a bevy of useful new features for its $349 asking price. You’ll be able to see it for yourself at JB Hi-fi, Harvery Norman and Officeworks from next Tuesday (September 10) and you can sign up to join the waiting list on the device’s page on the Google Store right now.