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Google Home Max packs in the smarts, boosts the sound

The Max can respond to your voice commands and fill the room with music.

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andrewgebhart.jpg

Andrew Gebhart

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1 of 12 Chris Monroe/CNET

Sound quality to the max

The Google Home Max is the latest speaker in the Google Home family. Just like the original Google Home on the right and the Google Home Mini on the left, the Max responds to your voice commands via Google Assistant. Above and beyond the other two, the Max comes with a hefty $400 price tag. So what does it do to earn the extra keep? Click through to find out. 

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Time to rock

In addition to the voice controlled smarts, the Max packs in specs aimed to please audiophiles. It's a powerful speaker in addition to being a useful helper. 

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3 of 12 Chris Monroe/CNET

Shining specs

At a hefty 11.7 pounds, the Max includes...

Six onboard microphones for far-field voice control
Two 4.5-inch (114mm) high-excursion dual voice-coil woofers
Two 0.7-inch (18mm) custom tweeters
USB-C input
3.5mm auxiliary input

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4 of 12 Chris Monroe/CNET

Adaptable

You can turn the Max on its side with a flip. It rests on a base which is easy to move. 

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5 of 12 Chris Monroe/CNET

Stereo or Mono

On its side, the Max acts as a mono speaker. In its default horizontal position, it plays music in stereo using its two sides to play both parts of the music. 

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Inputs

Here are the inputs on the back of the Max, including a small reset button just below the status light. 

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Mute switch

You can also mute the microphone on the Max by flipping the switch on the back. 

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Touch controls

You'll mostly control the Max with your voice, but you can also tap the top to play or pause music. Run your finger along the top and you can control the volume. 

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Comparative listening

We played the Max alongside the Sonos Play:5 on the left and the Bose SoundTouch 30 in the middle, and the Max held its own. 

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Smart sound

The Max also adapts its sound based on the room its in. If it's near a wall, it'll pick up the extra reverberation and reduce the bass accordingly. 

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Color choice

In addition to the Chalk speaker we tested, the Max also comes in charcoal gray. 

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12 of 12 Chris Monroe/CNET

All in the family

If you just want smarts, you don't need to spend up for the Max, as the Google Home or the Mini will suit you just fine. But if you want to fill the room with excellent sound, the Max is worth considering. 

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