If you’re someone wanting to be a part of Google’s smart ecosystem, the Google Home Mini is your cheapest ticket in. Priced at just Rs. 4,499, the smart speaker is a shrunk version of the actual Google Home and comes equipped with all the bells and whistles. However, is it actually as good as Google claims it to be, or should you pass on this? Let’s find out as we take a deeper look at Google Home Mini:
Google Home Mini Specifications
Before we get to the review part, let us get the specifications out the way. Despite its small size and cheap price tag, the Google Home Mini comes with some pretty good hardware, which you can check out below:
|Dimensions||98 mm (diameter) and 42 mm (height)|
|Power cable||1.5 m|
|Colors||Chalk, Charcoal, Coral|
|Supported Audio Formats||HE-AAC, LC-AAC, MP3, Vorbis, WAV (LPCM), Opus,|
|FLAC with support for high-resolution streams (24-bit/96 KHz)|
|Wireless||802.11b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz/5 Ghz) Wi-Fi|
|Bluetooth® 4.1 input support|
|Chromecast and Chromecast Audio built-in|
|Speaker||360 sound with 40-mm driver|
|Mics||Far-field voice recognition supports hands-free use|
|Power||5 V, 1.8 A|
|Ports||Micro USB port|
|Supported OS||Android 4.4+, iOS 9.1+|
What’s in the Box
Google Home Mini comes in a compact white little box, owing to the smart speaker’s compact size. Everything is minimal, and the package contains all the basic essentials, such as:
- Google Home Mini
- Power Adaptor and Cable
- Quick Start Guide
Design and Build Quality
The basic idea behind the Google Home Mini is minimalism, and Google seems to have nailed it on that front. The Google Home Mini is a no-nonsense smart speaker. On the surface, you have this nice fabric finish on top, accompanied by a non-skid silicone base.
While the fabric on top occupies most of the surface, it is there for more than just looks. The surface is actually conductive to your touch in a few areas to allow for easy interaction. You can tap on the top of the surface to pause and/or resume play. Additionally, both the left side and right side can be used to decrease and increase the volume respectively.
Hidden underneath the fiber are 4 LEDs that light in a bright white color when listening or responding to your commands. It also switches to the Google color tone of Blue, Red, Yellow, and Green, but that is only while booting up.
Talking about the bottom section of the device, the Google Home Mini features a microUSB port for supplying power to the device. Next to it is the microphone toggle which allows you to enable or disable active listening, rendering the device responsive only to physical interaction.
At its base, the Google Home Mini features a circular rubber mat to keep still on whichever surface that you place it on. Apart from Google’s branding and a few certifications, it also features the reset button, should you manage to screw things up in a tremendous manner.
All in all, Google has managed to incorporate a lot inside this tiny little speaker. It looks plain and simple on the surface but houses a lot of features.
With the Google Home Mini, the company has set a new benchmark for minimalism.
Having used the Amazon Echo Dot previously, my expectations from the Google Home Mini in terms of audio quality weren’t really high. I thought it would be just another smart device that has a speaker to just respond to my queries. But boy, was I in for a surprise! Turning on the device initially and listening to that Google tone cleared half of my doubts then and there only. Thereafter, I set up the device with my Google Play Music account and started streaming some songs. And I can assure you, the experience was more than overwhelming.
The Google Home Mini packs in a 40-mm driver which the company claims to deliver 360-degree sound. In my experience, the sound was really great. There isn’t any artificial boost of any kind. The sound delivered was natural, with all the levels balanced. Yes, it is not a thing for bass lovers, but then again, the bass in the sound was pretty evident. But most importantly, the audio from the Google Home Mini is super loud. I can actually use the Google Home Mini as a proper speaker replacement for my home, it is that good.
The Google Home Mini packs in an impressive 40mm driver that impresses you on every front, and gives the device the capability to actually replace your normal household speaker.
Yes, the Google Home Mini packs in some pretty impressive hardware for a pretty compact device. But does it actually deliver a great user experience? I’d rather say its mostly good, except for a few flaws. Let’s discuss the good things about the Google Home Mini, shall we?
From the get-go, the Google Home Mini offers a simple and interactive user experience. Setting up the device is super-easy – just download the Google Home app for your Android or iOS device. The app will automatically search and list the nearby Google Home Mini on the screen, and easily set it up with your Google account and the WiFi.
Thanks to the far-field recognition mics on the Google Home Mini, interacting with the device is a breeze. You can use either “Hey Google” or “Ok Google” to trigger the Google Assistant. And as we all know, Google Assistant is currently the best smart assistant out there. However, there are certain things where it Google Assistant did let me down.
For instance, when I asked the Google Home Mini “What is the time and weather in Dublin?”, it would break it into two different queries, namely, “What is the time?” and “Weather in Dublin?” which is not exactly what I meant to ask the device. Another thing that I personally did not like is that while the sound quality of the Google Home Mini is top notch, you cannot ask Google Assistant to play a song on loop. Instead, you have to go through the hassle of creating your own custom playlist on the music provider you have linked, and then ask Google to play that.
As for controlling my smart home devices, it was all easy as well. As long as the device you’re planning to control with Google Home Mini supports Google Assistant, it will automatically show up in the Google Home app on your smartphone. Once you’re done linking and naming it, you can easily control it using voice actions with the Google Home Mini.
All in all, the user experience of the Google Home Mini was quite pleasant. Everything is simple, from setting up the device to actually interacting with it. And despite its few shortcomings, Google Assistant is great to use and makes the Google Home Mini a great smart speaker.
Google Home Mini: The Best of Google in a Small Package
At just Rs. 4,499, you get a compact yet loud smart speaker with Google Assistant on it, which offers essentially the same user experience as the bigger Google Home. Additionally, for Indian users, the device comes pre-installed with free Gaana and Saavn subscription until 31st October 2018 along with a free Google Play Music subscription until 10th October 2018. All in all, the Google Home Mini proves to be a superb value for money product, with features and add-on goodies that far outweigh the minor flaws in its performance.
- Great Sound Quality
- Neat and Clean Design
- Google Assistant is quite smart
- No AUX-in port
- Google Assistant still needs to improve a bit
Buy from Flipkart: (Rs. 4,499)
Google Home Mini Review: Minimalism Personified
So, would I recommend the Google Home Mini to you? Absolutely! It is a smart speaker that actually has the capability to replace your household speaker. The Google Home Mini comes with Google Assistant to help you with all your chores and day to day tasks, as well as having an answer to almost all of your queries.
Design and Build Quality
Value for Money
The Google Home Mini is an excellent smart speaker. True to its name, it can do everything that the bigger Google Home does, at almost half the price and quarter the size. The device's sound quality allows it to be more than just a smart gadget, instead, it can be used as an actual speaker for your home. Add to that the smart capabilities of Google Assistant and you have with yourself a complete package.