One Week In: Google Home Mini

Google Home Mini

At this point, everyone has heard about Google’s Home Mini.  One of the things I really loved about my Echo Dot was how tiny and cheap it was.  I’ve been waiting for Google to release something similar to it and they’ve delivered with the Google Home Mini.

The Google Home Mini comes in at $49.  Google offers you three colors to pick from:  Chalk (pictured above), Charcoal (black), and Coral (red/pink-ish).

A few months ago, I wrote about Google Home vs Amazon Echo Dot.  I focused more on functionality, rather than hardware.  The true competitor for hardware would have been the Amazon Echo, but I wasn’t interested in that.  What I was really interested in was the home assistant part.  I use my Google Home to control all the different smart devices in my house and I felt it did that a lot better than my Amazon Echo Dot did.

Since then, I’ve used the Google Home exclusively.  It has replaced my Echo Dot in every aspect.  We kept the Echo Dot for a little bit in the kitchen so we could use it as a timer, but then we realized that Google Home could hear us from the kitchen.  The Echo Dot was then moved to my garage, where it has sat pretty much unused.  What made the Google Home, and now the Google Home Mini, significantly better for me was the way I interacted with it.  It felt more natural.  I didn’t have to be robotic in my interactions with it.

As soon as the Google Home Mini was announced, I put my order in.  I received it about a week ago and it’s lived in my kitchen since.  What can it do that the Google Home can’t?  Well, nothing really.  In fact, Google Home is still significantly better due to the speaker.  That’s not what I want in my kitchen, though.  For the kitchen, I just wanted an extension of my Google Home that can still control all my lights and set timers.  We got exactly that.  Due to its small size, I can tuck it into a corner and not worry about it getting wet or dirty.  At only $50, it’s also a bit easier to stomach having it around the water and food in case something does go wrong.

One of the features I’m excited to get, once released, is the broadcast functionality.  This will allow me to talk to the Google Home in my Sunroom from the Google Home Mini in my kitchen.  Why would I want this?  Primarily to mess with my daughter, but it could also come in really handy to have this functionality when I’m in the garage and the rest of the family is inside.

My favorite new feature, which you could have always done if you had multiple Google Home (or Chromecast) devices, is being able to play music to all devices at once.  We don’t use it all the time, but it’s a lot of fun when we have friends over.  I’ve added all of my Google Home devices into a group called “All Speakers”.  This allows me to say “Ok Google, play songs by Raffi on all speakers”.

So what more is there to say about Google Home Mini?  If you enjoyed the Google Home and want a bunch of satellite extensions, the Google Home Mini is for you.  At $50 a pop and coming in at three different colors, it’s an excellent addition to any smart home and it provides a lot of functionality.  Even if you don’t have a Google Home and opt for just the Home Mini, the Home Assistant functionality alone is worth it.    Lastly, if you don’t have any smart home devices, being able to play music and have instant access to Google Searches with your voice still make this a great buy.

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