The Amazon Echo and the Google Home smart speakers are pretty good at playing music. Ask them to play a song, and enjoy the surprisingly high sound quality on display.
Sometimes, though, you need to bring the freakin’ roof down.
Enter the Google Home Max, a $US400 speaker designed for the bass-shaking, room-quaking wannabe DJ in all of us. It launches in December.
I got to try a brief demo of the Google Home Max, by which I mean I got to be in the room while Google spokespeople blasted Portugal. The Man and Major Lazer tracks at me. And, more than anything, I can tell you it is loud. Overall sound quality is good-to-great, but Google definitely made bass and volume major priorities for this device.
Generally, the new, larger smart speaker works like any other Google Home. Say “OK Google” and ask for a musical track, and it will play it from services like Google Play Music or Spotify. Ask for the diameter of the Death Star or the weather in Spain, and it will answer that too.
In a more material sense, the Google Home Max is big. It’s about the size of, say, a small toaster oven — marking a departure from the smaller and more demure Amazon Echo or standard-issue Google Home. You can keep the Max flat on its side, or turn it 90 degrees so it sits vertically.
It also sports an auxiliary port, so you can plug in anything that uses a standard stereo cable. Google uses the example of a record player, but there’s nothing stopping you from plugging in your old iPod or whatever else you might want to funnel through the Max’s mightier speaker.
A Google spokesperson also used “Such Great Heights” by The Postal Service to show off how two Max speakers can be lashed together to play one song in stereo. Beyond that, you can set the Max up with all your other Google Home devices to play one song simultaneously from everywhere. If you have Chromecast gadgetry, it works with that, too.
The Google Home Max also has a touch-sensitive strip on the top that you can swipe to adjust volume, or tap to change tracks.
At $US400, this thing isn’t for everyone. If you really like the idea of a big, loud speaker that’s also powered by Google’s smarts, though, this could be the one for you. At the very least, it might keep some Sonos fans from going over to its new Amazon-powered smart speaker.
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