Google Home Mini

7.9/10 AVG.
RATING

  • Google Home Mini
  • Google Home Mini
  • Google Home Mini
  • Google Home Mini
  • Google Home Mini
  • Google Home Mini

This tiny speaker shows how far Google's assistant has come.

- Nathan Ingraham, Engadget 


The Google Home Mini looks and sounds better than Amazon's smallest Alexa speaker, but it's not quite as versatile.

- Mike Prospero, Tom's Guide 

Specs / Features


Specification

Brand Google
Warranty 12 months
Release date 19-October-2017
Size 4.2 x 9.8 cm (1.7 x 3.9 in)
Weight 173 grams
(6.11 ounces)

The "1-Minute" Review

What's good

  • Clean and friendly design
  • Great voice recognition
  • Decent sound quality for its size

What's bad

  • No connection to Bluetooth speakers
  • Overly sensitive touch controls
  • No internal battery
  • Fabric cover attracts dust

The Echo might have created the smart speaker niche, but it’s no longer the only one on the block. Google's Home Mini hopes to bring more competition to the small smart speaker market.

The Mini, as the name suggests, is very small measuring in at 3.86 inches in diameter and 1.65 inches in height. Despite being a little larger than the Dot, reviewers found it more home-friendly thanks to its sloping sides and softer shape.

It comes in three colors—light gray, dark gray, and coral red. While the coral red is the brightest of all three, reviewers found each color blended in well with their interior decor and appliances.

The Mini has a textured fabric top and matte plastic bottom. Most agree that it looks nice, but some noticed it attracted a lot of dust. They further add that cats might view the smart speaker as a toy or scratching pad.

At first glance, the mesh fabric might seem like it’s just for aesthetics. However, it is touch capacitive. Tapping the top pauses or resumes play while placing a finger on the left and right side lowers and raises the volume.

Critics point out it’s quite sensitive. An accidental brush would change the volume or pause music, making it very difficult to move the device without making adjustments.

Of course, you can use voice commands instead of the touch controls to address this concern. Experts had no issue with the mic picking up commands. They had great results whether they were whispering up close or shouting across the room.

The “smart” part of the speaker integrates with Google Assistant. You can place free calls; stream music through Pandora, Spotify, and other music apps; integrate with an Internet of Things devices, like a Philips Hue; and even connect to a Chromecast and pull up YouTube or Netflix videos.

As a speaker, it’s not perfect. Reviewers weren’t expecting too much due to its small size. Still, many were impressed with how loud it was. They could hear it easily from the next room. And while sound quality wasn’t great, most agree that it was warmer and more natural than Amazon’s Dot. But don't expect much bass—the speaker is simply too tiny for that.

Unfortunately, if you want to improve the audio quality, getting the Mini connected to a better speaker might be more trouble than it’s worth. It does not have a line out jack and its Bluetooth radio only accepts incoming signals. It does, however, cast audio to any speaker with a Chromecast Audio dongle.

Perhaps the biggest drawback of the Mini is the lack of an integrated battery. That makes it far less portable and, for many, defeats the purpose of being tiny in the first place.

While the Mini offers a great price, good smart capabilities, and a decent speaker for its size, most still suggest the Dot as it offers more services and products. Still, they add that it is a good choice for those who are already invested in the Google ecosystem. CNet states, “... for all of its strength, the Mini isn’t the silver bullet that Google needs to stop Alexa’s momentum.” What Hi-Fi adds, “While it’s not quite the perfect experience, it’s hard to complain too much... just don't expect it to be a top-notch music speaker.”

Critic Reviews


TechRadar

Small on sound, big on value

from TechRadar

The Home Mini is the cheapest way of buying into the Assistant yet for those looking to buy into Google’s smart home ecosystem. While it's a good value for the price, its poor sound performance makes it a better desk buddy than a standalone speaker.

Read full review

The Home Mini is the cheapest way of buying into the Assistant yet for those looking to buy into Google’s smart home ecosystem. While it's a good value for the price, its poor sound performance makes it a better desk buddy than a standalone speaker.

Read full review

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TechPP

A doughnut that can speak

from TechPP

The Google Home Mini is one of best entertainment level smart speakers available in the country. The device scores in the audio and the information departments and apart from a few eccentricities works just fine in others as well. If you wanted to try the smart speakers and do not want to burn a...More

The Google Home Mini is one of best entertainment level smart speakers available in the country. The device scores in the audio and the information departments and apart from a few eccentricities works just fine in others as well. If you wanted to try the smart speakers and do not want to burn a hole in your pocket, this could be your entry to the party.

Read full review

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Android Central

The smart speaker that should be in everybody's home

from Android Central

Life with a smart speaker is just easier. Whether you're setting timers, listening to background music, asking it to play a show on your Chromecast-enabled TV, control smart bulbs, or whatever else, a Home Mini is the perfect tool for making your life simpler.

Read full review

Life with a smart speaker is just easier. Whether you're setting timers, listening to background music, asking it to play a show on your Chromecast-enabled TV, control smart bulbs, or whatever else, a Home Mini is the perfect tool for making your life simpler.

Read full review

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VR-Zone

Honestly something I never thought I would need

from VR-Zone

Exploring what the Home Mini can do is really the best part. Playing the trivia game with the Mini can really kill a lot of time: I hope that Google adds more games to the Home soon! Although I find the Mini attractive for its unconventional uses, the Mini can do a lot more things than be your helper with games.

Read full review

Exploring what the Home Mini can do is really the best part. Playing the trivia game with the Mini can really kill a lot of time: I hope that Google adds more games to the Home soon! Although I find the Mini attractive for its unconventional uses, the Mini can do a lot more things than be your helper with games.

Read full review

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MSPoweruser

Google Assistant on an affordable speaker

from MSPoweruser

Google has made every possible move in a good way to compete in the smart speaker market. Now all Google needs to do is work on its Google Assistant. In my daily use, I found it really useful to do even my small tasks like setting up an alarm and more. However, simply putting a Digital Assistant from a phone into a speaker won’t help.

Read full review

Google has made every possible move in a good way to compete in the smart speaker market. Now all Google needs to do is work on its Google Assistant. In my daily use, I found it really useful to do even my small tasks like setting up an alarm and more. However, simply putting a Digital Assistant from a phone into a speaker won’t help.

Read full review

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The Indian Express

Big things come in small packages

from The Indian Express

A great option, in case if you are looking for an entry-level smart speaker. Sure, it doesn’t sound as good as the Home, but it will get the job done. This is a proper smart speaker and is no way less capable than the Google Home.

Read full review

A great option, in case if you are looking for an entry-level smart speaker. Sure, it doesn’t sound as good as the Home, but it will get the job done. This is a proper smart speaker and is no way less capable than the Google Home.

Read full review

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Notebookcheck

A very good-looking, well-made smart speaker

from Notebookcheck

Elegant with fast and very precise voice recognition: The Google Home Mini is a nice smart speaker. The sound quality is good for this price, as well, but device control only works with compatible devices.

Read full review

Elegant with fast and very precise voice recognition: The Google Home Mini is a nice smart speaker. The sound quality is good for this price, as well, but device control only works with compatible devices.

Read full review

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Gearburn

A capable yet cheap smart speaker

from Gearburn

The Google Home Mini isn’t flawless, owing to a dearth of developer support compared to Amazon, the inability to drill down for hyper-specific commands and odd design choices). But for US$50 or less, it’s an ideal introduction to the world of smart speakers.

Read full review

The Google Home Mini isn’t flawless, owing to a dearth of developer support compared to Amazon, the inability to drill down for hyper-specific commands and odd design choices). But for US$50 or less, it’s an ideal introduction to the world of smart speakers.

Read full review

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Phonedog

Absolutely worth it

from Phonedog

While it features a mediocre speaker, the main reason you should consider buying one is for the Google Assistant. The Assistant can play music, cast entertainment to you TV, answer questions, and more, and since it works via the cloud, its functionality is always expanding.

Read full review

While it features a mediocre speaker, the main reason you should consider buying one is for the Google Assistant. The Assistant can play music, cast entertainment to you TV, answer questions, and more, and since it works via the cloud, its functionality is always expanding.

Read full review

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Know Your Mobile

An ideal option for the AI-curious

from Know Your Mobile

For the price, it’s pretty much impossible not to like the Google Home Mini. It’s a smart piece of technology that delivers tons of value. If you’re interested in dipping your toe in the pool that is AI, this is probably the best place to start.

Read full review

For the price, it’s pretty much impossible not to like the Google Home Mini. It’s a smart piece of technology that delivers tons of value. If you’re interested in dipping your toe in the pool that is AI, this is probably the best place to start.

Read full review

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