When Google announced the latest addition to their Google Home range, it didn’t really give me the usual sense of curiosity or excitement that comes when the tech giant releases a new product. The new Home Max initially appeared to me as a direct response to Apple’s HomePod, which arrived earlier this year as the first smart speaker that actually took a serious approach to delivering high-quality sound. However, when you look closely at this highly versatile speaker you’ll notice it’s not just capable of competing with the HomePod, but all high-end speakers on the market.
I recently had the opportunity to take home and test this new smart speaker and during this time I realised I’ve been living in the dark ages with my old bookshelf speakers from the 80’s. From the second I unboxed it and fired it up, I knew I needed one of these or maybe even two, but I’ll get to that bit later. I now realise that if you’re looking for clear, powerful sound and are looking for a speaker that can not only shake the walls but deliver great range at low volume in your house or apartment, this is just what you need in your life.
Setting it up
The setup was incredibly easy and within a couple of minutes after unboxing the device, it was paired with my Google Pixel 2 and iPhone via the Google Home app. Once the setup was complete and the device went through a quick update, I was able to have my favourite Spotify tracks playing throughout my house in no time. Pairing the Home Max with other Google Home products or any Chromecast enabled speaker is also a seamless process via the Home app and is a great feature if you already own a Sonos speaker or similar. Lastly, if you want to go with the simple way of doing things, you can always just use the 3.5mm headphone jack located in the back to connect your device or record player.
The Home Max is an elegantly designed speaker that resembles something you would find at a Bang & Olufson store. It comes it two colours chalk and charcoal, which could prove to be quite appealing if you are looking for an alternative to the standard black colourway that has dominated the bookshelf speaker market for many years. The speaker weighs in at almost 5.5 kg and easily allows you to adjust the orientation from vertical to horizontal with a removable magnetic silicon base, which also serves as an extra bit of protection. The touch controls are located the top and are quite simple and easy to use if you aren’t in the mood for using the Google Assistant voice controls.
Loud and clear are the two words that come to mind when I think of the Home Max. Packing two 114mm high excursion woofers along with two 18mm custom tweeters that deliver incredible range and bass that will have your neighbours complaining in no time. When the orientation of the speaker is positioned vertically, the unit is automatically set to mono mode, which in some ways can be seen as a negative depending on your situation. However, if you’re willing to make the financial plunge and pick up a second Home Max, you will be able to pair them in the vertical position to create an amazing and potentially overpowered stereo setup.
Should you buy one?
If you happen to already own a high-quality speaker such as a Sonos Play:5 or live in a small apartment, you may find yourself struggling to justify the purchase. However, if you are looking an upgrade to your old home audio setup and want something that can outperform most bookshelf speakers within this price range and love using the A.I features with Google Assistant, the this is just what you need. I know I will be picking one of these up real soon - maybe even two.