Google rebranded the "Home" lineup of devices today, at I/O. And introduced a larger smart display in the Nest Hub Max. It brings in a few new features, as well as a bigger display. We got a chance to spend some time with the smart display today at Google I/O, and while it was still early software – it's not shipping until this summer – it's still a better smart display than anything else on the market right now.
One of the big features that the Nest Hub Max has, is a Nest Cam built-in. Not only can this work for video chat with Duo, but it can also work as a Nest Cam and keep an eye on your home while you're gone. Using the Nest app, you can set it to start recording when you leave your home. So if you don't want it recording while you're home (which, no one probably wants), then you can set it to only record when you're not home. Which is a pretty good feature to have.
Of course, many might worry about it recording and you not realizing it. Well, Google has added a flashing green LED next to the camera. So when it is recording, you will see that flashing green light. That light will turn red (or slightly orange), when you turn off the camera and microphone. Like the Home Hub (now rebranded to Nest Hub), there is a switch in the back that turns both off at once. Unfortunately, there are not individual switches. It also doesn't slide a shutter over the camera like Lenovo's Smart Displays do.
The camera does work for Google Duo, and similar to the Facebook Portal, it will adjust the camera, so that you are always in frame. Now in the small hands-on area that is available here at I/O, we weren't able to get a good demo of how this works, but it does move around to keep you in frame pretty well.
When it comes to the display, it's a much larger 10-inch display. It looks very vibrant and works just as you'd expect from a smart display. When it is put next to the regular Nest Hub, it really dwarfs it. Of course, the regular Nest Hub is about 7-inches, compared to this 10-inch display, and it already looked tiny.
With that bigger display, it means that you have the ability to watch more content. Unfortunately, Netflix is still not available on the Nest Hub Max. But Google did also roll out a new TV guide for YouTube TV. So you can say "what's on TV" and see everything that is on TV right now. If you find something you want to watch, just tap on it, and the Nest Hub Max will start playing it instantly. Finally, you can raise your hand in front of the camera to play or pause whatever is playing. Meaning you don't need to touch the display while you're cooking to stop what you're watching.
The Nest Hub Max is a pretty interesting smart display from Google. It's going to be available later this summer for $229. That is $100 more than the 7-inch version, and considering everything that is packed inside the Nest Hub Max, it does definitely seem worth that price tag.