Google Home Max: Google debuts its premium smart home speaker

Google has unveiled its potential Sonos killer, the Google Home Max.

Ty Pendlebury Editor
Ty Pendlebury is a journalism graduate of RMIT Melbourne, and has worked at CNET since 2006. He lives in New York City where he writes about streaming and home audio.
Expertise Ty has worked for radio, print, and online publications, and has been writing about home entertainment since 2004. He majored in Cinema Studies when studying at RMIT. He is an avid record collector and streaming music enthusiast. Credentials
  • Ty was nominated for Best New Journalist at the Australian IT Journalism awards, but he has only ever won one thing. As a youth, he was awarded a free session for the photography studio at a local supermarket.
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Ashlee spent time as a newspaper reporter, AmeriCorps VISTA and an employee at a healthcare company before she landed at CNET. She loves to eat, write and watch "Golden Girls" (preferably all three at the same time). The first two hobbies help her out as an appliance reviewer. The last one makes her an asset to trivia teams. Ashlee also created the blog, AshleeEats.com, where she writes about casual dining in Louisville, Kentucky.
Ty Pendlebury
Ashlee Clark Thompson
2 min read

Google has announced its premium smart speaker, the $399 Google Home Max, which combines Wi-Fi streaming with the Google Assistant in a larger form factor than the company's first model.

Watch this: Google debuts Home Max with Smart Sound

While the Google Home Mini appears to be modeled after the Echo Dot, the Max seems to be looking past Amazon and focusing on what Sonos is doing. The new speaker fits between the $299 Play:3 and $499 Play:5 in both price and size, at 13 inches across and 6 inches deep (330 by 152 mm).


The $399 Google Home Max can be mounted vertically or horizontally.


The Max is a stereo speaker which supports Google's own Chromecast built-in protocol for Wi-Fi music. It offers multiroom capabilities and compatibility with dozens of apps -- specifically Android ones -- as well as the ability to work alongside "hundreds" of other products.

The rest of the specs include:

  • Six onboard microphones for far-field voice control
  • Two 4.5-inch (114 mm) high-excursion dual voice-coil woofers
  • Two 0.7-inch (18 mm) custom tweeters
  • Inputs: USB-C (for separate Ethernet and digital audio dongles), 3.5mm auxiliary, Bluetooth
  • Acoustically transparent fabric in two colors: chalk and charcoal
  • Silicone base

Google says the Max was developed in-house and will benefit from the integrated Smart Sound algorithm which uses the onboard microphones to adjust the speaker's sound according to where it's placed in a room. The speaker can sense its orientation -- vertical or horizontal -- and if it's been moved so it can recalibrate.


Google said the Max can also compensate for noises such as a kitchen fan by turning up its mics. However the company wasn't able to give details on how long or consistent the noise would have to be. Would a police siren trigger it, for example?

Unlike speakers like the Denon Heos 1 and the Riva Arena, the Max won't feature the ability to go fully wireless with an optional battery. Google representatives said the company's aim instead is for a speaker in every room.

How will the Max fare against the competitors? The market for standalone wireless speakers is pretty mature right now and Google is late to it. Of course the Max is one of the first "hi-fi" smart speakers, but its relatively high price means that customers may opt for a Sonos One or even a Pioneer model instead. At $400, the Max is a considered purchase and given that the smart speakers out there so far -- including the original Google Home and the Amazon Echo -- have been unimpressive sonically, the Max will need to do something special.

The Google Home Max will be available in the US in December with preorders starting on Nov. 3, while the rest of the world will get it in 2018. Australian and UK pricing is yet to be confirmed, but the US price converts to roughly £300 or AU$510.

Google takes its next Home smart speaker to the Max

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