Thanks to the lure of of Black Friday deal ($199 instead of the usual $229), I now have a Google Nest Hub Max (is that really the name? Ugh) sitting in my living room doing its thing. Although it’s not amazing, it is about what I expected with a few positives and a few negatives. Regarding the negatives, I’m hoping future updates will transform the NHMax from good to great. More on this later. In the next week, or so, I’ll have a more comprehensive video review. Let’s move on.
Let’s first talk about what I do like…
- Big screen. I use the hub to primarily watch YouTube vids, keep an eye on my security cameras, and interact with my smart home and other connected devices.
- Streaming camera video. As I referenced above, I like to watch various security cameras around the house and in the front yard. There are various reasons for this, but it’s extremely convenient to be able to ask NHMax to show me the front yard whenever I want.
- Google Assistant. Of course, Google’s AI is damn good and interacting with it is quick and accurate.
- Face Recognition. Ok, this is awesome. NHMax is very good at knowing my face when I walk in the room. This allows for it to customize my content (calendar, news, video messages, customized Youtube recommendations, etc.). It’s basically tied to your individual Google Account. If it sees my wife, it offers up completely different info. This is great, but in its infancy.
- Hand gesture controls. I can pause, start media playing on the screen by putting my hand up. As a constant YouTube viewer, I use this all the time.
- Built in Security camera…kinda. You can easily add the built in camera to your Nest app and Nest Aware.
What I’m not loving…
- Weather Radar. It’s a personal thing, but I want to be able to ask Google to show me local weather radar when I ask for it.
- Limited face recognition routines. Although the NHMax does have a built in routines based on different times of the day it sees you, that’s about it. It will toss up some user-specific info like traffic and calendar reminders, but it won’t interact with connected devices. Don’t get me wrong, I do like the limited proactive engagement. Howver, I can’t customize it any way. I want to be able to walk in the door between 4-5pm, Mon-Fri, at which point NHMax recognizes me and starts a custom routine (turns on TV, changes lighting, etc). The good news is that there are rumors that a lot more of these kind of controls are coming in 2020.
- Crappy IFTTT Integration. I’ll go into this more at another time, but let me summarize by saying that I’ve pretty much pulled Nest Cams out of my smart home from an automation standpoint. I have no trigger actions in my house based on what Nest Cams see (turn on lights if there is motion, for example). This is largely because of Google’s move to retire “works with Nest” – it’s killed my IFTTT integration. Upsetting.
- Camera has no night vision. Not a big deal, but makes this device not a serious security solution for my home.
Overall, I’m digging it and I’m a fan of where it could go. The security options and motion based routines is very, very limited. Also, I want to see gestures beyond stop and go. That’s it for now, but stay tuned for my video review on YouTube.