After being introduced at Google I/O earlier this year, the Google Nest Hub Max is finally here, which means it’s time to dissect everything you should know about it. While it shares many features with the previous Nest Hub (formerly Google Home Hub), this bigger version also boasts a handy built-in camera to expand its functionality beyond what we typically expect from a smart display.
Many of the same tips and tricks we listed for the Google Home still apply to the Nest Hub Max, given that most interactions are done through voice, but there are specific elements that are particular to the display and camera. There’s a lot to go through, but we imagine that these tips and tricks will come in handy at some point down the line. Let’s get started.
Get control of your smart home with Home View
Since it’s powered by Google Assistant, you can pretty much access and control all of your connected smart devices in the home by simply speaking directly to your Google Nest Hub Max. But did you know there’s a dedicated view within the smart display where you can see all of them? It’s called the Home View and it can be accessed at any time by swiping down from the top portion of the display. You’ll have access to the lights, routines, media, broadcast, and cameras.
Stay in frame all the time when video chatting
With the addition of the camera, the Nest Hub Max now allows for two-way video calls, which is something the previous Nest Hub couldn’t do. One very useful feature is auto-framing and zooming with video calls. And there’s nothing you need to do because the wide-angle camera will automatically auto-frame and zoom — even if you happen to move around while talking.
How to broadcast a message
Are you just too far away to tell someone in another room in your home to turn down the music they’re blasting? Or perhaps, you just want to give someone a reminder about doing their chores? Now you can leverage the broadcasting feature to send a short message that’ll play on all Google Home and Nest devices in the home. Here’s how to use it:
- Swipe down from the top edge of the screen to access the Home View panel.
- Tap on the Broadcast icon.
- Speak your message.
Check in on your home when you’re away
The camera in the Nest Hub Max means that the device now doubles as a Nest Cam, giving you eyes on your home when you’re away. If you’re wondering what the kids are up to while you’re at work, or perhaps you want to make sure that they got home safely after school, you can follow these directions to access the Nest Hub Max’s camera from your smartphone:
- Open the Google Home app, then select the Google Nest Hub Max.
- Click on the View Nest Cam button in the bottom-left corner.
- You can enable two-way conversation by pressing on the microphone button.
It’s not something you might see right away, since it’s a fairly tiny pinhole that’s tucked closely to the camera, but the LED indicator has a number of functions.
- Solid green: The Nest Cam is turned on and streaming.
- Blinking green: This indicates that the Nest Cam is actively being viewed remotely through either the Nest or Home apps.
- Solid red: The mic and camera are turned off because the physical kill switch on the back of the Nest Hub Max has been triggered.
Start your day off with a morning greeting
Getting out of bed is hard enough, but attempting to plan out your day is tougher. That’s where the morning greeting comes to the rescue. It uses Face Match to recognize your face and provide you with useful details about your day, including weather conditions/forecast, details on your morning commute, calendar events, reminders, and some of the day’s top headlines. Best of all, you just need to quickly glance at the Nest Hub Max for it to recognize you, and from there you just need to scroll through the respective cards.
How to factory reset the Google Nest Hub Max
Perform a quick factory reset by holding down the volume up and down buttons simultaneously. A message with a time will pop up to indicate that a hard factory reset will be performed unless you take your fingers off the buttons.
How to send video messages
Video calling someone is great if you need to get in touch with them ASAP, but if it’s not too important, you can instead choose to send them a video message that they can watch later on. With the built-in camera, you can now send a video message using your Nest Hub Max. In order to do this, though, the person you’re sending a video message to needs to be on Google Duo. From there, just follow these steps:
- Say, “Hey Google, send a video message to [insert name].”
- Record your video message, which is capped at 30 seconds.
- Alternatively, you can leave a video message for someone that’ll play on the Nest Hub Max when their face is detected by the camera with Face Match.
Choosing photos for your Live Albums
The Google Nest Hub Max is an excellent digital photo frame on its own, with the ability to showcase and share your favorite memories from Google Photos. Live Albums makes it easier to choose what photos will be displayed on the screen by selecting people and pets through the Google Home app.
- Open the Google Home app on your smartphone, then select the Google Nest Hub Max.
- Click on the Edit Photo Frame button, then choose the Google Photos option from the list.
- Choose Select family & friends album, and you’ll see a grid view of the most common people and pets you’ve photographed.
- You can choose multiple people/pets from the list.
Relive your memories
Searching for photos that you want to display on your Nest Hub Max can be tedious, but there’s a faster way to share and relive your memories. You can just say, “Hey Google, show my photos from the lake,” and it’ll automatically populate the relevant images from Google Photos.
Ambient EQ is arguably the best feature of the Nest Hub Max. You may not realize it, but the smart display leverages its various sensors to detect the ambient light to automatically adjust colors and brightness to blend seamlessly into any room. The end result gives the display that photo-realistic look, especially when it’s displaying photos. This is a feature that doesn’t require any intervention on your part because it’s automatic. No matter the time of day, lighting conditions, or its placement, Ambient EQ will ensure that the Nest Max Hub’s display will look photo realistic.
How to adjust the brightness
The light sensor in the Google Nest Hub Max will automatically detect the ambient lighting conditions, but if you feel as though it’s not bright enough (or too bright) for you, then follow these instructions on how to manually adjust the brightness:
- You can simply ask Google Assistant to do it by saying, “Hey Google, increase the brightness.”
- The other option is to swipe up from the bottom section of the screen to show the Quick Settings panel, then click on the Brightness Adjustment icon, which is all the way to the left.
How to adjust the EQ settings
One of the benefits of going bigger with this model is that the audio hardware inside of the smart display also gets a bump. Delivering even more bass and overall power than its smaller sibling, the Nest Hub Max makes for an excellent speaker that’s ideal for listening to music. Some people may love the heavier bass, but others may prefer a more subdued output — which is why being able to adjust the EQ settings is important.
- Open the Google Home app, then select the Google Nest Hub Max.
- Click on the Equalizer Settings button, which is near the top-right corner and next to the Settings button.
- Use the sliders to adjust the treble and bass to your preference.
Save time with Routines
Controlling and having access to your smart connected devices at home is great, but it can be a pain having to individually turn them on. Routines help save time and streamline processes. After setting up a Routine using the Google Home app, you can simply tell your Nest Hub Max to perform a Routine by speaking. For example, you can set it up so that the lights in the bedroom all turn on at a low level when you say. “Hey Google, good morning.”
- Google Nest Hub review: A refreshing take on the smart display
- How to set up your Google Home, Home Mini, or Nest Hub
- The best digital photo frames for 2020
- Google Nest Mini (2nd Gen) review: Even faster, even smarter
- Amazon Echo Show 8 review: Third time’s the charm