We’ve put Google’s second smart speaker, the Google Home Max, through our expert lab testing to see whether it’s worth the hype.
Google’s pinning its hopes on this high-profile launch to rival the sound quality of the Amazon Echo (2nd Gen) and Apple HomePod – so does it deliver? You can find out whether it will do your music justice in our full Google Home Max review.
The Google Home Max is a Bluetooth and wi-fi smart speaker with Google Assistant voice control, which allows you to control the speaker with just your voice. You can ask it to perform tasks such as play music, set calendar reminders and timers, and ask for news and weather updates. It can also be used to control smart home devices, for example, switching smart lights on and off and adjusting your home’s smart thermostat, all with your voice.
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A key difference to Amazon’s Echo is that it lets you make calls to most UK numbers (excluding premium-rate numbers and emergency phone numbers such as 999) from the smart speaker itself. It also has an aux-in socket so you can connect it up to devices, such as your record player, via a wire.
Nevertheless, despite the wealth of potential functionality they offer, most smart speaker owners use them mainly to listen to music with the added benefit of hands-free music control.
This has proved a major dilemma for Google fans, with many considering the audio quality of the original Google Home not up to scratch and a lack of decent Google Assistant smart speaker alternatives.
Amazon made significant improvements in sound between the original Amazon Echo and Amazon Echo (2nd Gen), so Google has really gone to town with the Google Home Max. Its sound drivers more than double the size compared with the Google Home, meaning the speaker has some serious power behind it.
The result is a speaker that appears to hark back to a pair of traditional hi-fi speakers, and the Google Home Max’s hefty 5.2kg weight backs this up. It can go extremely loud if you want it to, with the potential for a very powerful bass, although there’s also a built-in equaliser in its accompanying smartphone app where you can adjust the level of bass to your taste.
Expert listening panel
Our independent lab tests use a discerning panel of music industry professionals with decades of experience between them, so you can be confident that when they give the thumbs up, you’ll be getting one of the best-sounding speakers around.
They subject each wireless speaker to a gruelling set of tests across a wide variety of musical genres, from radio and speech, classical to jazz and pop to rock, with Best Buy speakers excelling whatever is thrown at them.