CNET First Look
Google Home Max is a smart speaker built to partyYou don't need to spend up for the Google Home Max, but if you do, this smart speaker comes equipped to rock.
[MUSIC] If you want a smart speaker with more power, tis is the Google Home Max. Functionally, it's just like the original Google Home, only this So it has a big freaking speaker on it, look at this thing. When you wanna get something done, it has Google Assistant built in. So you can use a voice command to make a phone call to your long lost relative. You can settle a debate with friends by searching the web. You can even turn off the lights if you really don't feel like getting up. When you're ready to play, the Max has you covered there too. It's built specifically for audio files, and good news, It's the best sounding smart speaker out there. Even better than our previous favorite, the Sonos One. However, here comes the other shoe. The Google Home Max is a hefty $400. So, do we recommend it? That's tricky. As far as those smarts are concerned, you can get the same always listening Google Assistant with all of the same capabilities in the $130 original Google Home. Or, the $50 Google Home Mini. The Sonos One is only $200, and it has Amazon's Assistant Alexa built in with Google Assistant on the way. So, if you primarily want always listening smarts, and just use the speaker for background music, you don't need to spend up for the max. If you're more demanding in your music needs, Max has you covered with lots of specs aimed to please audiophiles. It will automatically adapt its sound based on what room it's in. You can use the app to fine tune the bass or treble of your music. It will act as a stereo or mono speaker depending on whether it's It's horizontal or you flip it vertical. And you can pair it with another Max speaker for true stereo sound. It also kept up with similarly priced table top speakers from Sonos and Bose. We like the Max's sound better than the Bose Sound Touch 30. We still liked the Sonos' Play 5 a little more, especially for rock But the max holds its own. You might want to adjust the EQ to reduce the brightness, and you'll want to keep the volume just short of full to avoid distortion. I also found the touch controls on the top a little insensitive, but these are nitpicks. The biggest problem for the max is that it gets caught in the middle. It definitely can't keep up with a full stereo system. System, even playing two Max speakers in stereo doesn't add much depth. It's not balanced right. And it's too expensive if you just want smarts. But thanks to Google Assistant, the Max has features that the similarly prices Sonos and Bose speakers can't match. And it's good enough to fill a room with excellent sound. So if you want a smart speaker that can help you through a dance party. The $400 Google Home Max is actually worth your consideration. [MUSIC]