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Google Nest Hub (2nd Gen) vs. Google Nest Hub Max: Which is the better smart display?

The Nest Hub Max on a table.
Google

The Google Nest Hub Max and Google Nest Hub (2nd Gen) are two of the best smart displays of 2024. Offering heaps of functionality, tons of useful apps, and eye-catching designs, they make a great addition to any smart home. But which is best for your smart home — the more expensive Nest Hub Max or the budget-friendly Nest Hub (2nd Gen)?

To help you make the best choice, here’s a comprehensive look at the two smart displays. From pricing and display size to build quality and additional features, here’s everything you need to know about these popular devices.

Pricing and design

The Google Nest Hub Smart Display on a nightstand.
Google

The Nest Hub Max is quite expensive at $229. It’s available in white or black, both of which use a design that places the large screen on a central, circular base. This helps lift the screen off the countertop or table, allowing for a variety of viewing angles.

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The Nest Hub (2nd Gen) is much more affordable at $100. Available colors include white, black, mist, and sand. Its design is similar to that of the Nest Hub Max, with a display sitting atop a circular base. It’s a bit smaller than the Nest Hub Max, but aside from that, the two share many of the same design cues.

Winner: Nest Hub (2nd Gen)

Display size and quality

Hosting a Zoom conference through Nest Hub Max.
Google

Both the Nest Hub Max and Nest Hub (2nd Gen) provide you with a vibrant display. The Nest Hub Max is much easier to see from across a room, thanks to its larger 10-inch touchscreen (1280 x 800 resolution). If you’re looking for something that’s easy to parse from a distance, the Nest Hub Max is the better option.

The Nest Hub (2nd Gen) still looks great, but its 7-inch touchscreen (1024 x 600 resolution) is noticeably smaller. It’s also a bit more challenging to read from across a room, requiring you to get closer to see its smaller display.

Both products are built to high standards, and they feel every bit as premium as you’d expect from a Google product. Images look crisp, the touchscreen is responsive, and the overall build quality ensures these smart displays will last for years before needing a replacement.

Winner: Nest Hub Max

Features and smart home connectivity

The Nest Hub Max in a kitchen.
Google

Since the two smart displays are essentially running on the same operating system, they both support many of the same apps. This includes YouTube, Netflix, Disney+, Google Photos, and more. You can also make voice calls with Meet — though note that the Nest Hub (2nd Gen) does not have a webcam. That means you’ll need to opt for the Nest Hub Max if you’d like to make video calls with your smart display.

Along with making video calls, your Nest Hub Max can double as a security camera. The built-in webcam can be accessed remotely, allowing you to check out a live feed of your home while away on vacation. You can even set up motion and sound alerts for your phone. That makes it a much more versatile device than the Nest Hub (2nd Gen).

The last bit of cool functionality offered by the built-in webcam is Face Match. With this feature, the smart display will recognize exactly who is using the device, allowing it to pull up your personal notifications and provide you with relevant information. This is a great feature for homes that might have multiple people using the display, ensuring you don’t get bogged down with other user’s notifications.

The audio systems in the smart displays are also unique. While the Nest Hub (2nd Gen) is equipped with a 1.7-inch driver, the Nest Hub Max uses two 0.7-inch tweeters and a 3-inch subwoofer. In other words, the Nest Hub Max can produce louder, more vibrant sound than the Nest Hub (2nd Gen). The Nest Hub (2nd Gen) works fine for small rooms, but if you’re trying to fill a large kitchen or studio with sound, the Nest Hub Max is a better choice.

Aside from those differences, much is the same across the two devices. You can use hand gestures to control the displays without needing to touch the screen (great for use in the kitchen), they can sync with Google Home to control compatible smart devices, and they can double as a digital picture frame when idle.

Winner: Nest Hub Max

Is the Nest Hub Max worth the extra cost?

The Nest Hub Max in a kitchen.
Google

The Nest Hub Max has plenty of cool features that are unavailable on the Nest Hub (2nd Gen), making it the better overall smart display. With a built-in webcam and larger display, it’s simply more functional than its smaller sibling. Whether you’re placing it in a large living room, on a kitchen countertop, or in your home office, the Nest Hub Max is a great companion for your smart home.

The Nest Hub (2nd Gen) is no slouch, however, and it’s a great choice for frugal shoppers. At just $100, it’s less than half the price of the Nest Hub Max. If you’ll be placing it on a cramped countertop or in a smaller room, you’ll likely benefit from its compact footprint. You also won’t mind that the audio system isn’t as booming as that of the Nest Hub Max, as the Nest Hub (2nd Gen) sounds perfectly fine in smaller spaces.

You’ll miss out on some cool functionality related to the webcam on the Nest Hub Max, but that’s not necessarily worth the extra $130. If you already have security cameras in your home and don’t mind making calls on your smartphone, you probably don’t need the Nest Hub Max for those perks.

Jon Bitner
Jon Bitner is a writer covering consumer electronics, technology, and gaming. His work has been published on various websites…
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