Online retailers including Best Buy and Verizon are selling Google’s premium smart speaker Home Max ($399) in time for the Holidays. You can even get it as soon as tomorrow if you go for expedited shipping.
Although announced last October alongside the cheaper Home Mini, which launched immediately, the Max has reached store shelves as predicted for December. The Home Max has Google Virtual Assistant capability built in due to six far-field microphones, and inside the unit can be found two 4.5″ high-excursion dual voice-coil woofers, and two 0.7″ tweeters, allowing for stereo music in horizontal position.
When announced last October, the Google Home Max was thought to be a competitor to the HomePod, even though the unit had yet to reach the market, and actually won’t until early 2018, according to Apple.
$399 is not cheap by smart speaker standards, even sitting above Apple’s slated $349 pricing for the HomePod, but both products should be considered audio speakers first, rather than just smart speakers. Both products adapt audio EQ to the physical characteristics of the room in which they’re located, known as ‘Smart Sound’ on the Home Max. If you move the Google HM, it will retune automatically to its new immediate environment.
The Home Max, with its Google Virtual Assistant, will not only play your favorite tunes and respond to your questions, it will also control more than 1000 smart home devices. As you might expect, the Home Max supports Google Play, but also offers Spotify, iHeart Radio and YouTube Music.
Furthermore, you can turn off the mic if you’re concerned about it always listening, and the topside of the unit is touch sensitive. It looks like Google is throwing down the gauntlet at competitors like Amazon and Apple in this ever-burgeoning smart speaker landscape – we’ll have to see how it fares.