Smart Displays have sort of taken over from smart speakers. This is because they can do everything a smart speaker can do, and much more. In 2019, we saw quite a few smart displays be announced and go on sale, but none of them really stood out. Except for one.
That's the Nest Hub Max. This was the first product announced by Google after ditching the Google Home brand in favor of the Nest brand.
Since the Nest Hub Max is more than just a smart display, it was a no-brainer that it is our pick for the Best Smart Display of 2019.
Nest Hub Max is a larger Google Home Hub, but it also tosses in a Nest Cam. Which means that it can keep an eye on your home when you're not home. Essentially becoming two smart home products in one. That's a big selling point actually, especially with the Nest Hub Max costing $229.
The Nest Hub Max actually gave people a reason to upgrade from the Google Home Hub
Even though the Nest Hub Max was not the successor to the Google Home Hub that was announced a year earlier, it did give Home Hub owners a reason to buy it. Actually, it gave them a few reasons.
Home Hub did not feature a camera. Many felt that this was likely because a lot of people would be hesitant to buy a Google product that had a camera running 24/7. As it's no secret that Google collects a ton of data on us already. It was a smart move on Google's part, but that meant that it couldn't do video calls with Google Duo. Something that it's main competitor – the Echo Show – could do, with Skype.
With the Nest Hub Max, we got a camera. But it wasn't just any camera. It was a Nest Cam. One that would run when you aren't home, keeping an eye on your home. The camera could be set to turn off when you're home and turn on when you leave. So you wouldn't need to worry about privacy.
But that camera also doubled as a way to recognize faces. Meaning that multiple people could use the Nest Hub Max, with ease.
Nest Hub Max also sports a larger display – 10-inches versus 7 on the Home Hub – and it also has a much better speaker. Allowing it to truly take the place of a Google Home smart speaker.
Google Assistant is built-in, and it becomes a lot more helpful when you can use it in a visual state. For example, following recipes. You can actually see the recipes on the Nest Hub Max, versus a Nest Mini. The Nest Hub Max also doubles as a really great photo frame, and at 10.1-inches, the photos look very good. Compared to a smaller four or seven inch smart display.
All of this for just $229 seemed like a really good smart display. And we agree. It's not perfect, and in the world of tech, nothing is perfect, but it is pretty close. Google didn't fix what wasn't broken on the Home Hub, when it came to the Nest Hub Max. That's a big reason why it is our choice for Best Smart Display of 2019.