Google Home Max – Review
Google Home Max – Review

The heart of the smart home. This speaker offers superior sound quality miles above other Home products. If you want a smart speaker that doesn't trade off on sound quality or design, this is the perfect solution. The smartest smart speaker we've tested at The Sinsa.

There are many smart speakers available now, all at various price points and with differing degrees of features, so it’s up to you to navigate through them all and figure out which one is the ideal match. Do you want to just turn the lights off? not bothered about streaming music? This isn’t the speaker for you.

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the Google Home Max takes smart speakers to new heights. It’s called Max for a reason. It weighs over 5 bags of sugar and looks almost comically large, especially when sat next to the Google Home or Google Home Mini. Its considerable footprint lets you know it’s a proper speaker.

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The four “thinking” lights for Google Assistant appear between the speaker cavities when required, representing the only real evidence that the device is on, which allows it to sink nicely into the background when required. This is a plus when the room is dark, nothing worse than a huge led siren going off at 2 am.

The device comes in two colours chalk and charcoal (light grey or black) hopefully they release more colours, I feel for a £400 investment, you’d want this to fit into your home perfectly.

Inside the Max’s sealed polycarbonate cabinet you’ll find a pair of 4.5-inch aluminium cone, high-excursion woofers with dual voice coils, along with two 0.7-inch polyester dome tweeters. These are powered by six Class D amplifiers: Each woofer gets two amplifiers, and the tweeters get one apiece. The amps have onboard DACs capable of supporting up to 24-bit/192kHz bit streams, although Google says it’s only tested sampling rates up to 48kHz (that’s where Sonos speakers max out, too). The speaker supports the FLAC, HE-AAC, LC-AAC+, MP3, Opus, Vorbis, and WAV (LPCM) codecs, but not aptX or aptX HD.

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It can be used upright or on its side, depending on where you want to put it, this gives it’s huge size some leeway. It also comes with a free rubber magnetic coaster for it to grip on to when upright and avoid scratching any of your surfaces or its. Moving a magnetic silicone furniture pad to either the broad side or the narrower right-hand side (where the power cord attaches) that will become the speaker’s bottom. Two of Max’s far-field microphones are on the left side, so you wouldn’t want that to become the bottom.

The main addition to the Max is the ‘Smart Sound’ feature, using AI to make the sound match up with the setting compensating for position, obstacles, potential dulling or echoing agents and so on. The speaker filled every room i put it in easily, whilst sounding great. In reality, it sounded very much the same wherever we put it, but maybe that’s sort of the point.

The Google Home Max connects to your Wi-Fi network via a dual-band (2.4GHz/5GHz) 802.11ac Wi-Fi adapter. That’s a good feature, because the 2.4GHz spectrum is exceedingly crowded and subject to interference from home appliances such as microwave ovens. Alternatively, you can plug in a USB-C-to-ethernet adapter if you want to hardwire it to your network. You can use this same port to charge a mobile device (not at the same time, of course). Every Sonos speaker has an ethernet port, but none can charge a mobile device. None of Amazon’s Echo models can be hardwired to a network, and none has a USB charging port.

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Having had 5 Echo Dots placed around the flat for a while now and using them as light switches and seldom asking it a question. – “Alexa, what’s the difference between graphene and lithium ion?” – “the time is 8:45 pm” getting comical and pointless answers from Amazon is something I came to live with and not bother with at all. This is where the Google brand shines, every question I asked it understood completely. No matter how elaborate, if it didn’t know, it would simply direct the answer to my Android.

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I’m planning on replacing the Dots with Home Mini’s, as they really do compliment your everyday life. Available to buy now from Google