Google Home Mini Review

These smart speakers that are constantly listening to our conversations and make our lives easier, more convenient or better, have been available for a couple of years now. Up until now, I have always done my best to avoid them. Simply because I thought that smart speakers were kind of dumb.
 
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I found them too expensive, unnecessary, visually unappealing and unnecessarily big. However, my views started to change when Google revealed their tiny Home Mini smart speaker!

Not only is it small, but I also find the price much more reasonable. Which is why I decided to buy myself a Google Home Mini as well. And to be honest, that was one of my best decisions recently.

 

Technical Specification

  • Diameter: 98 mm / 3.9 inches
  • Height: 42 mm / 1.7 inches
  • Weight: 173 g / 0.4 lbs
  • Available colors: black, white and orange
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth and WiFi

 

Design

Before buying it, I did read some reviews as well. Most of them criticized the smart speaker for not a USB-C port and a 3.5 mm audio port. There were also a couple that wasn’t happy with the audio quality. I’m not sure if I managed to get a better speaker but I definitely disagree with those that criticize the audio quality. In my opinion, the Google Home Mini has an incredibly good sound quality for such a small speaker. It’s also quite loud, which makes me keep the volume at around 50%.

This is also why I don’t understand the complaints about not having a 3.5 mm audio port. There’s just no reason to have it. However, if you still wish to use your Google Home Mini as just a smart microphone, then you can still pair it up with an external speaker via Bluetooth.

Nor do I understand how not having a USB-C port is a bad thing. Honestly, I couldn’t care less what type of a USB port the speaker has. It always sits on my nightstand or a desk so why should it matter which type of cable is used to get its power. Even if it used a USB-C cable, I still wouldn’t unplug the speaker to charge my phone.
 
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Performance & Functionality

Like I mentioned before, the Google Home Mini is a smart speaker. It means that you can ask it questions and give it different voice commands. I have probably used only 10% of its full functionality. For example, I use it to set the brightness and color of my LED lamps. I also use it to listen to music on Spotify and make it read out the latest news.

You can use it for far more than that. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of smart home devices that I could pair up with the Home Mini. I have already started a list of gadgets I’m planning to buy next. That includes an ILIFE V8s robot vacuum cleaner, a security camera, a new TV and even a smart kettle.

Talking to the speaker did feel kind of weird at first. But after using for a few weeks now, I have gotten somewhat used to it. And even though my girlfriend found it the weirdest thing ever at first, she too has started talking to it.

And now the biggest downside in my opinion – it’s always listening to absolutely everything. Why is this a problem? Well let’s say you are watching a video on YouTube and it says “OK, Google” or “Hey, Google”, then the Home Mini recognizes it as well.

The Google Home Mini does come with a feature that lets it recognize different voices. For example, it can tell the difference between mine and my girlfriend’s voice. Which means that it also tells us both our different calendars and the dates we have set.

So all that I wish is that Google would improve this function. Do it so the smart speaker only reacts to certain voices. This way it will be impossible for a random person to order something online.

 

Conclusion

I am extremely happy that I finally bought myself a smart speaker. The Google Home Mini is the best you can get in its price range. The speaker is extremely loud and has a clear sound. In addition, Google Assistant is extremely easy to use and convenient when you have other smart devices as well.

 

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Sven Fawkes is a freelance writer, who enjoys reviewing smart home products. He is currently studying journalism at USC and has previously worked as a Product Manager at BestBuy.

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