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Nest Hub Max vs. Skylight Cal Max: Which is best for your home?

The Nest Hub Max is one of the most premium smart displays available. Offering a vibrant screen, support for tons of apps, and the ability to sync with Google Home, it’s a well-rounded and versatile smart display. The recently revealed Skylight Cal Max is a radically different sort of device — but it’s still contending for the same spot in your kitchen. Instead of offering tons of apps and services, it’s a streamlined smart calendar that wants to simplify your life.

Trying to decide between these two premium displays? Here’s a look at the Nest Hub Max and Skylight Cal Max to help you figure out which is best for your smart home.

Pricing and design

The Nest Hub Max in a kitchen

The Nest Hub Max costs $229 and features a tabletop (or countertop) design. It comes with a built-in stand and a webcam, allowing you to just toss it on a table and start using it without any fuss. It does not include a way to mount it to a wall, though several third-party products are available to assist with that task. It’s a good-looking device, though it’s quite large at just over 7 inches tall and about 4 inches deep.

If the Nest Hub Max is large, then the Skylight Cal Max is gigantic. Much of that footprint is consumed by a 27-inch touchscreen, with a small frame running around its edge. The unit is designed to be mounted on a wall, and mounting hardware is included with your purchase. It also carries a massive price tag, clocking in at $600.

Winner: Tie

Display size and quality

The Skylight Cal Max installed on a wall.

The Nest Hub Max boasts a 10-inch touchscreen and the Cal Max features a 27-inch touchscreen. Both are responsive and easy to use. The huge screen on the Cal Max makes it easy to parse from a distance, allowing you to get a look at your calendar without needing to move through a kitchen and squint at a small screen. The Nest Hub Max is no slouch, but when it comes to a display that’s easy to see from across the room, nothing compares to the Cal Max.

Winner: Skylight Cal Max

Features and smart home connectivity

The Nest Hub Max.
Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

As far as smart displays are concerned, the Nest Hub Max is one of the best. With support for YouTube, Spotify, Netflix, and dozens of other apps, it’s practically an entertainment center. You’ll also get full support for Google Home, allowing it to serve as a hub device for the rest of your gadgets. Toss in a webcam, and it’s a smart display that’s hard to beat.

In contrast, the Cal Max isn’t billed as a smart display. Instead, it’s a “smart calendar.” That makes it perfect for organizing your life and streamlining family chores — but it also means it won’t serve as a hub for the rest of your smart home. The display has no compatibility with Google Home, Amazon Alexa, or Apple HomeKit. It’ll automatically upload your details from Google Calendar, Outlook, Apple Calendar, and other popular scheduling software, and there are a few fun kid-friendly features (such as emojis and color coding), but you won’t be streaming videos or scrolling through social media on the Cal Max.

Winner: Nest Hub Max

Is the Cal Max a Nest Hub Max replacement?

The Cal Max showing a picture while placed near a shelf.

While the Cal Max and Nest Hub Max are both fighting for a spot in your kitchen or living room, they go about it in radically different ways. Where the Nest Hub Max is a jack-of-all-trades, the Cal Max is a streamlined, simplified display that largely serves as a calendar and family planning device. That makes them vastly different — yet both serve their respective audience well.

If you need a device to operate as the brains of your smart home or want access to a litany of apps, the Nest Hub Max is the best option. But if you want something simple to help organize your household, the Cal Max is the better choice. It’s worth noting that the Cal Max is much more expensive, so if you have doubts between the two, consider saving yourself a bunch of cash and getting the Nest Hub Max.

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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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