Google’s Home Max brings premium audio to its Assistant speaker

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Google Home is getting bigger, in more ways than one: Google announced a few updates for its smart home speaker line, and one is the Home Max, a larger version that packs in stereo speakers and more premium looks and materials.

The new, larger Home speaker is clearly intended to be an answer to critics who suggested the original Home lacked good audio quality (myself included) by providing something for users who care more about sound. It’s also likely a move that will help address forthcoming competition for Home from Apple, which is set to launch its own Siri-enabled premium speaker, the HomePod, by the end of this year.

It can tune its audio to its own space, analyzing the sound coming from the speaker using its built in microphones to determine the best equalizer settings. This is called Smart Sound, and it evolves over time and based on where you move the speaker, using built-in machine learning. It has Cast functionality, as well as input via stereo 3.5 mm jack.

Home Max can output sound that’s up to 20 times more powerful than the standard version of Home, Google says, and it has two 4.5 inch woofers on board with two 0.7 inch custom-built tuners. It can sit in either vertical or horizontal orientation, and it comes in both ‘chalk’ and ‘charcoal.’

Of course, this bigger speaker also includes a noise isolating array that makes it work even in open rooms with background noise, and it’s Assistant-enabled, so you can use it to control your music playback via voice, or manage your smart home devices, set yourself reminders, alarms, and timers and much more.

Home Max is shipping in December in the U.S., with a retail price of $399, and a release in more markets coming next year. It’s bundled with a 1-year subscription to YouTube Red, too.