Nest Hub Max - it's GINORMOUS

Okay, so I have to say ginormous, because during the set up of the unit, I was recording the intro video they give and my son walks in and you can hear him say "Is that the new one?  It's GINORMOUS".

Pretty funny.

But, this $300CDN Google Assisted smart display is big.  We were used to the Nest Hub's 7" in our kitchen sill.  Plop in this 10" and it's a noticeable difference.  Had to move things around there to make it fit!  So it gained 3 viewable inches, and almost doubles the price... is it worth it?

Let's dive in.

So, for $300 you're going to get:

  • 10" FHD (1280x800)
  • Touchscreen
  • stereo speakers (10W x2) + woofer (30W rear facing)
  • 6.5MP camera with 127° field of view

When I saw the specs at first I was like "aww, my Tab S4 is 10" and I don't know how I'll like only 800p resolution".  But, when I compare it to the 600px of the 7" it's really good, plus I'm not as close to it as I am my tablet.  Closest I get is the countertop when I'm washing dishes.  Throwing up Netflix or Youtube on it is good enough.

I was really impressed with the sound of course.  Going from one full range speaker to true stereo with a woofer that fires out the back and bounces off the glass of the window for me makes for a really good listening experience.  Previously I would listen to podcasts or the radio with the Nest Hub, but with this, I really enjoy pumping out some music videos.  All the better to rock out to while washing dishes or cutting up veggies.

The sound is awesome.

The super advantage of this ... albeit, with just better screen, better sound should warrant the price jump as it is ... is that it has a camera also built in.

Now, you can use your hand as a 'pause/play' gesture, which is cool.  But the neat thing is that it can recognize your face.  They make a big BIG deal that this is going to be super private. 

From the app you do a very simple face check (nothing as involved like in the Pixel 4 check).

The upshot here is that once you're able to have yourself recognized, as soon as you get near the Max it checks you out and then says "hey, you're Ryan, let me show you Ryan things".

The Nest Hub before would show just notices for specifically who set it up (so it always showed my To-Dos, my events, etc...), whereas now it just does photos (and I chose it to show my photo highlights) and no 'notices' until someone goes close.


But, there's also a slightly more pragmatic feature to having a camera built in... it doubles as a Nest Cam.

A Nest Cam is no ordinary camera, it's tied to the Nest/Home situation meaning you can use it like you would a 'security camera'.  My wife thinks its a little creepy.

Once set up, from either the Nest app, or the Home app, you can see the camera and what it sees.  You can enable the microphone and hear what it hears.  I was downstairs and had put my kid to bed, but I heard a noise of him moving around, and sure enough, I could just make out his head bobbing around and going from his room to the living room the way it was angled.

Very cool.  Even cooler is that the app lets you actually use it like an intercom and hit the talk button to speak through it.  "GO TO BED!"

To allay my wife's creepy concerns, sure, I can turn it on at any moment from my app at work and see what's going on, they have it so that if someone is watching, not only does the little green light next to the camera turn on (on and solid means it's turned on and looking at something) it'll blink (blinking means it's actively being watched), but there also is a notification showing on the display that the camera is being monitored.

If she's really creeped out there are 2 ways, you could swipe up from the bottom to see the setting items and tap the camera to disable it.  You could also just flick the kill switch and ensure it's not listening or watching.

Pretty cool if you ask me.

At any time I could load up the display and have a look at my kitchen.

Now, it doesn't have 'night mode' like some of the actual Nest Cams out there, but that's fine.

With Nest Cam comes the feature that you can see the past few hours or so about if it sensed sound or saw a person.  I haven't figured out how to 'recognize' our other family members, and had to turn off the notifications to not send me messages EVERYTIME my wife walked past it.  It was supposed to know when someone is home or not and only send when we're 'away'. 

I'm still playing.

Then there's the options for the Nest "Aware" pay service.  you do get a free trial for a month.

The idea is that you get finer controls on what you monitor but also have longer history to go back into as it's storing snapshots and sounds etc... in their cloud for you.  Plus, you can set 'zones' that you want it to pay attention to specifically.

I don't think I need that yet... plus, I just couldn't figure out the recognized faces etc... or how to limit the notifications appropriately.

Overall, I love this and it's only been a couple days playing with it.  It's the right size for that shelf, right size for viewing  something - easily cast my video or sound to it - great sound, and then I can use it like a security camera.

Now, $300 is a hefty price to pay, but if you wanted to buy a camera, there's at least $100.  A smart display, there's almost $200, then a really good speaker, another $100 or so.  This is all built into one.  It's a lot to swallow at once, but it's priced right in my mind given all those items built in.

I know I'll have more fun with my kitchen chores now.

Now, where should I put the Nest Hub?