“With the Hub Max, Google aims to offer a smart device that will cater to the entire family”

While Google I/O is meant primarily for developers, the 2019 edition was different. For, not only did we see the introduction of the Pixel 3a and 3a XL (review), but the brand also announced a larger edition of its smart display, the Hub Max. Interestingly enough, the rumours floating around turned out to be true as the search behemoth brought its Home-branded smart display products under the Nest umbrella. With the launch of the Next Hub Max, the brand has also lowered the price of the Nest Hub (erstwhile Home Hub) to $129 (~Rs 9,000) and announced that it’ll be launching in India soon. While the company didn’t divulge when the Nest Hub Max will be arriving in our shores, if at all, I did manage to get a closer look at the gadget.

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The premise behind Nest products is to go beyond smart home by helping create a more “helpful home” and that’s why the Nest Hub Max is being targeted at the entire family. The device features a large 10-inch display and also comes with a 6.5MP camera. The screen features HD resolution and seems to be quite crisp with good brightness and viewing angles. 

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Along with enabling features like video calling and messaging via Google Duo, the camera can also help you “Face Match” your profile so that the Hub Max can be personalised for you. As per the demo, the feature works quite well and is able to recognise you even from a distance. The personalised content is also quite useful as it shows you your schedule, and suggests videos as per your watch history among other things. Of course, you can also use the device as a digital photo frame. 

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You can also use a stop gesture to stop a video or song, which works quite well, and I was able to get a hang of it in almost no time. That said, I’d have liked to see support for more gestures such as waving your hand to move to the next song and controlling volume. Along with face match, you can continue to use “voice match” which lets everyone in the family register their voices individually.

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Aiming to be a multimedia hub (pun intended), the Nest Hub Max features stereo speakers and a rear-facing woofer, which is quite loud. As far as app support is concerned, the device can work with YouTube Music, Spotify, etc. as well as YouTube TV (not available in India as of now). You can also use the cast feature to cast content from your phone.

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If you’re wondering about your privacy, the device comes with a simple toggle to turn off the camera and mute the microphone. And you can even use your smartphone to remotely see the output from the camera on the Hub Max, with the green light beside the camera blinking to let you know that it’s on.

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The Nest Hub Max is priced at $229 (approximately Rs 16,000) and will be going on sale in the summer in the US, UK and Australia.