TechHive reviews Google Home Max: This is the best-sounding smart speaker you can buy

“The Google Home Max is the best smart speaker I’ve heard,” Michael Brown writes for TechHive. “Amazon certainly has nothing close to it in terms of audio performance, and neither do any of the manufacturers building Echo clones. Expectations for Apple’s upcoming HomePod are certainly high, but compared to many other comparably sized, self-powered multi-room speakers—the second-generation Sonos Play:5 being the perfect example—the Google Home Max isn’t as remarkable.”

“When I performed an A/B comparison to the aforementioned Sonos Play:5, the Max was outclassed at both ends of the frequency spectrum,” Brown writes. “Compared to the Sonos One—the only true smart speaker in Sonos’ stable—or any other smart speaker, for that matter, the Max is a sonic superstar. If I didn’t have the Play:5 to compare it to, I’d have little or no criticism of the Max’s musical performance—especially for the price tag, which is $100 lower than that of Sonos’ flagship speaker.”

“We’ll have to wait a few weeks to see if Apple’s HomePod can knock the Google Home Max off its sonic perch, but we already know that that speaker won’t support multi-room audio—at least not right out of the box,” Brown writes. “Based on what can be evaluated today, the Google Home Max is the best-sounding smart speaker on the market.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Why is the headline statement of this review possible? Because Apple is woefully late to market.

Google Home Max is the best-sounding smart speaker you can buy. — TechHive

Here’s yet another important impression that Apple’s inexplicable ineptitude has handed to the competition on a silver platter.

And now Apple’s going to try to sell HomePod based on sound quality (because Siri was mismanaged and neglected for years and is now too stupid and less capable – in public perception, at the very least – to compete against its own knockoffs).

Good luck, Phil!

Tim Cook says audio quality puts HomePod ahead of ‘squeaky-sounding’ competition – January 24, 2018
Apple to ship crippled, incomplete HomePod months late – January 23, 2018
Apple’s HomePod arrives February 9th, available to order this Friday, January 26th – January 23, 2018
Apple CEO Tim Cook paid close to $102 million for fiscal 2017 – December 28, 2017
Apple’s Phil Schiller: We feel bad about the HomePod delay – December 8, 2017
Echo Dot was Amazon’s Black Friday – Cyber Monday bestseller as Apple’s delayed HomePod waits for 2018 release date – November 28, 2017
Apple’s late, delayed, limited HomePod is looking more and more like something I don’t want – November 27, 2017
Why Apple’s HomePod is three years behind Amazon’s Echo – November 21, 2017
Under ‘operations genius’ Tim Cook, product delays and other problems are no longer unusual for Apple – November 20, 2017
Apple delays HomePod release to early 2018 – November 17, 2017
Apple CEO Tim Cook: The ‘operations genius’ who never has enough products to sell at launch – October 23, 2017
Apple reveals HomePod smart home music speaker – June 5, 2017
Apple’s desperate Mac Pro damage control message hints at a confused, divided company – April 6, 2017
Apple is misplaying the hand Steve Jobs left them – November 30, 2016
Apple delays AirPod rollout – October 26, 2016
Apple delays release of watchOS 2 due to bug – September 16, 2015
Apple delays HomeKit launch until autumn – May 14, 2015
Apple delays production of 12.9-inch ‘iPad Pro’ in face of overwhelming iPhone 6/Plus demand – October 9, 2014
Tim Cook’s mea culpa: iMac launch should have been postponed – April 24, 2013


  1. The big problem now is Siri. Google’s AI is better, and with these good sounding speakers from Google, there’s a point where consumers will simply not find enough extra value in Apple speakers that may sound somewhat better.

    There’s a point where it’s good enough. I wouldn’t touch anything Google because of privacy, and I’m not wasting money on a me too HomePod when I have Siri always on me (iPhone) and a bluetooth Bose speaker at home.

    1. I wrote an article years ago that Apple should do a search engine. Everyone in the world would have access to Siri via a Web browser, and all Websites would need to meet minimum requirements sort of like the App Store. This would clean up the Web by removing a lot of grabage spam sites and usher in AI search for everyone.

      Apple would then have all kinds of data to fuel Siri without having to rely on third parties for information.

      1. Apple doing a search engine would also probably involve getting a much larger browser share too. Lots of tough competition out there and Safari wouldn’t be able to depend on being solely on Apple OSes for performance. Siri in that situation may be less effective than it is now.

  2. But hang on even though you have a point, Siri was recently only second to Google’s AI and the gap wasn’t enormous though it’s great search engine empire will make that gap difficult to close any time soon. It certainly doesn’t seem to be effecting the Amazon hold on the market so maybe it’s mis-perception that is the problem here if an inferior AI can be seen as top notch and/or it’s inferior performance not deemed important. It’s missing the boat in the first place when they simply did not see the impact of the concept even though studying it themselves that Apple truly has to answer for. Like maps the market has made its mind up already.

    1. Google Assistant and Alexa at the moment have different aims. GA is a more general use Voice Assistant, Alexa is primarily focused on being an interface to Amazon services and greatly enhanced by 3rd parties using the Alexa API to create ‘skills’ to support other uses. The Skill developers are a major force behind Alexa’s utility, similar to App developers for smartphones. Apple will have to acquire a similar group to even think of approaching, let alone matching Amazon at this point in the smart speaker arena.

    1. Simple- if you need a Bluetooth speaker you can buy far better for less. If you want great home audio this is not the ticket. So what market does Apple think it serves?

      Apple could have saved a lot of time by making a Dot like device to connect to the system of your choice. They could have also built such capability into an Apple TV model.
      Not trolling, but I do not see the value in this thing for many.

      1. I’ll reserve judgement on the “great home audio” part. I think it’ll probably be very good for the price point. I don’t think Apple even considered the Dot-like-device because they likely started developing Homepod before other smart speakers were even released. The goal was and is to sell Apple Music subs. By the time they saw smart speakers taking off, they were too far into development to pivot to something else.

        I doubt that improving Siri had much to do with this product’s creation anyway, other than recognizing songs and artists in the Apple Music catalog. Apple could create a “Siri Pod” hardware-wise, no sweat. Siri’s weaknesses would become glaringly obvious though through heavy interaction, I think that’s why they’re emphasizing music quality instead of the smart speaker aspect. They DON’T want you talking to Siri too much because it’s painfully embarrassing. I don’t know how the Siri team sleeps at night.

        1. With Apple’s funds why would they need to pivot at all? Just spin off a team to work on a ‘dot’ version would be the least disruptive to the ‘original’ HomePod team.

      2. “So what market does Apple think it serves?”
        Folks with a bunch of money, already in the Apple ecosystem, and who thinks a “smart speaker” is really cool.

        Fortunately, there was an additional hundred million recently added to that pool so they should be able to sell a good amount.

      3. very many people have ever heard audio the way the HomePod is doing it with beam forming in a 360 degree array. You typically get this type of audio quality in speakers that cost many thousands of dollars. I’ll wait and see what it sounds like in person but I suspect the audio quality is going to surprise people.

      4. So DavGreg,

        You absolutly tested all those speakers in a balanced room… And have the clear understanding of Apple’s echo system and what not.

        To me you sound like another loud mouth ranter with no or so little Apple product experience that you can’t get them to work to their potential. I know, those product are not for the little budgets and you are frustrated.

        There are better threads for that :

        In the mean time you could stop your verbal diarrhea and get back to school you know. Get a real job in order to buy Apple products…?


        1. First Apple product Apple ][. Bought new from Opus II back in the day.

          Never switched to the Mac from a PC because I never switched away. Apple Shareholder since 2000. Currently own Mac Pro, MacBook Pro, iPad Pro, iPhone 7 iPod Touch, Apple TV, Airport Extreme Base, Apple Watch 3 with LTE. Kinda blows your whole post (“another loud mouth ranter with no or so little Apple product experience”) into the toilet, right?

          As to budget, Tim’s Toilet Paper Roll in Fishnets costs less than the speaker stands for my LR setup. It’s not about cost, but it is about value. If you want to buy one, be my guest- enjoy your streaming of lossy files on a tiny one speaker setup.

          You can go back to Mom’s Basement and play Call of Duty or whatever.

  3. Exploring some of the Skills Alexa has now in its repertoire, I’m getting the feeling that there may be a new ‘audio’ gaming system aspect emerging. Along with their Amazon Button product, games that encourage listening comprehension and imagination due to lack of visual stimulae may lead to interesting new educational and entertainment opportunities.

      1. There was a text adventure game I believe released by Infocom software in the 80s based on the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Someone has already done Zork for Alexa as a Skill. I wouldn’t mind a Skill that did Hitchhiker’s also. 😀

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