Google Home Max UK release date: Google Home Max is now available in the UK
The Google Home Max is finally coming to the UK. Today, 30 August, Google announced the Google Home Max release date would actually be today. Yes, that’s right, you can now go into select John Lewis stores (or order online) and the Google Store to pick yourself up a Google Home Max.
Google Home Max is currently exclusive to John Lewis in the UK, but it’s expected to roll out to other retailers in due time – although Google is saying nothing on the matter.
You’ll be able to pick up the Google Home Max for £399 – placing it in similar territory to the Sonos Play 5, but this time with Google Assistant built in and Google’s snazzy Smart Sound technology.
Google first revealed the Google Home Max last year at its annual Made By Google event, however it was only released in the US. The large party-sized speaker had no UK release date attached to it at the time but it’s clear that Google has decided now is the right time for a UK release.
Read next: Google Home Mini hands-on
To clarify, the Google Home Max is a brand-new Google Home device made with audiophiles in mind. This beast of a smart speaker is intended to be both a Google Home device and a luxurious speaker capable of outputting some serious sound.
When I say serious sound, I mean it. The Google Home Max is, apparently, 20-times louder than Google Home. I’m not sure about you, but when Google Home is on max volume, it’s plenty loud enough for me. It’s also packed with innovative technology that adapts to fit your home, meaning that no matter where you put it, it’s supposed to always sound great.
Google Home Max release date: When’s it coming out?
The Google Home Max is available now from the Google Play Store and John Lewis – including select John Lewis retail outlets.
Google Home Max price: How much will it cost?
The Google Home Max isn’t cheap. This mammoth speaker will set you back £399 – placing it into similar territory to the Sonos Play 5. In the US, the Google Home Max came with a 12-month ad-free subscription to YouTube Music but, even though YouTube music has made its way to the UK, Google has no plans to offer something similar in the UK.
Google Home Max design: What does it look like?
Google has taken to the design department to build the Google Home Max from scratch. From the outside, it’s simply just a Chalk – or Charcoal – speaker measuring 336.6 x 190 x 154.4 mm (WHD) and 5.3kg in weight. Clearly, this thing is not meant to be super portable, it’s a speaker made for the home.
On the two short sides of the Home Max, Google has put touch-sensitive buttons to raise or lower the volume. Along the long side is a touch-sensitive play/pause button that can be used to activate Assistant with a long press. On the rear, you’ll find a switch to turn the far-field mic on and off, along with a USB-C port, AC power in and a 3.5mm aux-in port.
As with the Google Home Mini, the Google Home Max has a set of four lights across its front to indicate volume, play/pause and mute – along with a host of other functions.
Google Home Max specifications: What’s inside?
As sound quality is tantamount for the Google Home Max, Google has packed it with high-end audio tech. Inside the plastic shell, you’ll find two 114mm high-excursion dual-voice-coil woofers and two 18mm custom-designed tweeters. These are housed within a sealed housing and placed behind “acoustically transparent” fabric.
You’ll also find an aux audio-in port and support for Bluetooth 4 and Google Cast, meaning you can connect it to your existing hi-fi system and smart speaker network. There’s also a microphone tucked away in amongst all of that for far-field voice recognition.
Powering the smart features of the Google Home Max is a quad-core 1.5GHz 64-bit ARM A53 processor.
Google Home Max features: What makes it so special?
Aside from all the Google Home features that come as standard on the Google Home Max, Google is really pushing Max’s ability to adapt to its surroundings. Using technology known as Smart Sound, Home Max can work out where it’s placed within a room and then adjust its sound output to maximise quality in that space.
For example, if placed up near a wall, it’ll adjust within seconds to mean less sound is muffled by the corner and can instead resonate outwards into the room. It also adjusts sound settings depending on what song you’re listening too, so it should always be playing sound at its absolute best. It’s unclear just how this will impact sound quality – what with Home Max shifting the balance on the fly – but as this is a device made for audiophiles, it’s likely Google has tried hard to limit distortion.
There’s support for YouTube Music, Google Play Music, Spotify, Pandora, TuneIn and iHeart Radio, and it works with all other smart services that Google Home works with.
Google Home Max can also be used in any orientation and, instead of having ugly rubber feet showing when put into a different orientation, Google Home Max has a clever removable magnetic pad to keep it sturdy.
Google Home Max: First impressions
Seeing as we were unable to go hands-on with the Google Home Max at Google’s event on 4 October, we can only formulate our first impressions based off of what we’ve seen so far.
It certainly seems that Google’s new sound-centric speaker is a well-produced product, but it’s unclear if there’s quite the demand for it among core consumers. On first glance, it looks like an attempt to take on the likes of Sonos at their own game, but if Google can build an intelligent speaker with seamless Home integration, then perhaps they’ll be able to win out in the crowded smart speaker market.
We’ll have a review unit in from Google shortly so we can offer up a true full review for you in the coming days. Our first impression is that £399 is a lot to pay, and with the amount of competition in the market already, Google really has to be able to deliver on sound quality in a way that its rivals can’t.