Whenever a smart speaker is launched it’s always claimed that it’s the new option for ‘music lovers’. Whether it’s the Apple HomePod, Sonos One or Sony’s LF-S50G, every manufacturer promises that their smart speaker is good enough to replace the traditional set-up most people already have. Now it’s Google’s turn, with the newly-launched Google Home Max.
The Google Home Max is in direct competition with Apple’s HomePod, although Google’s offering is considerably larger and weighs significantly more. In fact, while the dimensions of the Apple HomePod measure 6.8in x 5.6in diagonally, the Google Home Max measures 13.2in x 7.4in x 6in. That’s one beast of a speaker.
This latest offering from Google uses high-end materials and boasts features that will make an AV fan drool. That includes dual 4.5in high-excursion woofers and two custom tweeters. In fact, based on initial demos, users probably won’t need multiple Google Home Max speakers, as the powerful speakers are loud enough to fill an entire home – let alone an entire room.
There are many similarities between the Google Home Max and Apple HomePod, including the way that both speakers use their in-built microphones to tune the audio to whatever room it’s playing in. Google achieves this using its AI-powered Smart Sound technology, which runs on the speaker’s quad-core CPU. The technology works by adjusting various settings, including bass response, based on where the speaker is positioned. If it’s near a wall or in a corner, then the speaker will automatically reduce excess bass response.
Given the Google Home Max can play music at incredibly loud volumes, users may wonder whether it will actually hear when a command is being spoken. Google claims that the ‘OK Google’ command should be heard even while the speaker is playing music loudly, but this hasn’t always been the case with the current Google Home.
Consumers purchasing a Google Home Max will automatically get 12 months access to Google Play Music and YouTube Music for free, although Spotify, Pandora, Netflix and other streaming services are also supported. That’s in direct contrast to the Apple HomePod, which appears to only support Apple Music.
Google really wants music lovers to fall for the Google Home Max. That’s why pairing two speakers together can create a stereo environment with left and right channel separation. There’s also support for Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and line-in, so users can plug in everything from a CD player to their DJ decks.
The Google Home Max won’t be available in the UK from launch, although those in the US will be able to pick one up in December for $399.