Amazon’s Echo Dot is by far one of the best ways consumers can get started with building the ultimate smart home. It doesn’t require a massive budget commitment, costing just £49.99, and it can be plugged into existing speakers already found around the home. Google now offers an alternative, in the form of the Google Home Mini – but how does it stack up?
The Google Home Mini is quite similar to the Echo Dot in many ways. It’s a small puck-sized device that can control better quality speakers and doesn’t break the bank. In fact, this fabric-covered smart speaker is probably the perfect way to roll out voice control to multiple rooms throughout the home – especially in rooms where the user may not listen to much music, such as a hallway.
Costing just £49, the Google Home Mini supports all the voice commands that people have become accustomed to from the full-sized Google Home. That means users can ask simple questions such as how to tie a shoelace, or more complicated questions with various follow-ups. The device is also perfect for controlling a large array of smart home devices, or using the Find My Phone functionality.
That’s not to say the Echo Dot isn’t good at those features; even if it significantly lacks the intelligence of Google’s AI when it comes to answering questions. The Echo Dot is better as a peripheral for controlling music, however. Its ability to link up to speakers that cost thousands of pounds is a testament to that. In fact, the Google Home Mini’s lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack means it’ll be impossible to link it up with high-end speakers if they lack Chromecast support. That’s why the Google Home Mini is essentially an Echo Dot alternative for the wireless generation.
Households with AVRs and speakers that support Chromecast will feel right at home with the Google Home Mini, while those without may prefer an Echo Dot. If music isn’t the primary concern, however, then that’s where the Google Home Mini will really come into its own.
There’s no denying that, aesthetically speaking, the Google Home Mini is the better device out of the two. Its clean design means it can easily be hidden away in the corner of a room and the Google Assistant’s ever-growing feature list means that this device is going to keep getting better as the days go past.
The Google Home Mini will be available on October 19, with pre-orders open now. It’ll be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, UK and US. For the first time ever it’ll also be available in Japan.