In February of this year, we called Google Home Max the best smart speaker for the money, period. Our position has not wavered. For around $ 400, the speakerphone is the best combination of items in its price range. It lacks the audiophile sound quality of Sonos and the HomePod's form factor, but for all intents and purposes, it's the best combination of the two on the market.
But we had a rather specific complaint. From our review :
The options, however, are numerous. And my only complaint about Home Max is that a speaker of this size can not serve as a double sound bar, or even stereo speakers for your home entertainment center, without some little hacks reliable. And most of them, unfortunately, have real latency issues that make anything but unusable all that Google has planned to do: a smart speaker that sounds good when you play music.
It's a disappointment, but not enough to prevent me from recommending it. Fingers crossed we will see an update in the future that could find the moonlight-like device with something similar to a soundbar.
Today, at Google I / O representatives of the company revealed to TNW that this would solve this problem a little bit.
It's not that you can not use Home Max as a sound bar, it's just that it requires a bit of hacking to synchronize the audio and the video , and requires a separate receiver. In short, you really need something that allows you to change the audio speed with the video in order to try to align them perfectly. This is not easy.
I know. I tried it.
But by the end of the month, Google will begin to roll out a performance update that will reduce the latency from 550 to 39 milliseconds. The update will create an essentially seamless listening experience for anyone who listens to our favorite smart speaker via a plugged device, that it is a turntable, d & # 39; A phone or even your TV.
According to Chris Chan, Google Home Max Product Manager:
In launching Max, we knew that the vast majority of users would like to use the Google Assistant to stream their favorite artist or album. We also learned that many users enjoyed using a line-in to bring their personal collections to life. This improved performance makes Max an even smoother experience for those who plug in their turntable, smartphone or other audio source.
Still, it's worth noting that this is not what Home Max was meant to be.
Here, Google has responded to a common complaint. Why shell out $ 400 for the Home Max only to sacrifice the shelf space for the rather large device while still requiring even more shelf space (and money) for a separate device (or devices) to control audio needs not covered by Google? For about $ 100 more, after all, you can play a Sonos Play: 5, a speaker without the AI magic of Home Max, but with a slightly better sound and (probably) a little more bells and bells. whistles. to play the audio of your TV without the same latency issues.
Fortunately, I have a little space in my living room.
Home Max has managed to coexist with my "other" speaker system, one that exists mainly to play the audio of my TV. And although Max will never pump the same premium sound as a set of quality speakers, it's good to know that if I had to move to a place where space is a problem, I would not want to worry. 39, do not need both.
Or maybe it's just me.