Google Home Mini review : Affordable home assistant device

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Google Home Mini review : Affordable home assistant device
Image credit: yinksmedia

Google Home Mini is an interactive speaker using voice control to play music, control smart home gadgets, find answers, manage calendar and events, or play video on a Chromecast-enable screen.

For

  • Attractive design and body build
  • Price is affordable
  • Good sound quality for the voice responses
  • Easily integrates all the Google feature Chromecast compatibility

Against

  • The texture fabric at the top might not last long due to dust and maintenance
  • No option for other audio outputs
  • Voice calling available only in the US and UK

Google Home Mini specifications

  • Body: Texture fabric, plastic, silicone
  • Dimensions : height ( 4.3 cm), diameter ( 9.9cm)
  • Weight : 173g
  • Audio system: Smart speaker
  • Audio formats: AAC, MP3, Vorbis, WAV (LPCM), Opus and FLAC.
  • Connectivity : 802.11b/g/n/ac
  • Google Assistant: Yes (built-in)
  • Colour: dark grey
  • Accessories : white power adapter and user manual
  • Connection type : USB Type B (5 pin)
  • System requirements: compatible with most android devices ( Android 10) and iPhone devices
  • Internet of things (ioT) : Yes
  • Manufacturer : Google
  • Price : 26,000 naira ( below $70)
  • Warranty – 1 year

Google Home mini Setup

Requirements

  • Google account
  • Google Home app installed on a mobile device.

The set up for the Home mini is done through the Google Home app which can be downloaded in the Playstore or App Store.

How to set up the Google Home mini in Africa

Google Home mini, power adapter and manual

I received the charcoal (dark grey) as a gift and decided to review and it has really made my daily routine easy.

Home mini Design

Home mini comes in the size of a ‘doughnut ‘ and features a colorful 360 round body design. Colour options include coral ( peach colour) , chalk ( light grey) and charcoal ( dark grey) designed to blend with the decor of your room or workplace.

The top half of the Google Home Mini is designed with a fabric texture and bottom half with a matte plastic with no visible buttons. It has sensitive buttons all around the texture fabric, any slight touch can change the volume or play music. I still wonder why Google made it that way because it make it a bit difficult when you want to pick up the device – maybe Google wants you to get comfortable with the voice control.

Google Home Mini review
Volume button by the side

The volumes buttons are located at the left and right sides of the speaker which lowers and raises the volumes. The middle button pause music, stop an alarm, or cancel a command.

The Four multi coloured led lights at the top of the speakers indicates it is ready for a command.

Four white lights appear on the Home Mini when it’s listening and thinking
Side view showing microphone switch and charging port

The bottom half of the speaker by the side has a micro USB port for charging and a microphone switch for speaking. Slide the microphone switch to turn off listening and slide back to turn it on.

At the bottom of the device, you can see a circular rubber mat to keep still on whichever surface that you place it on.

Bottom view of the Home Mini

The reset button is hidden below the plastic silicone of the Home mini.

Performance

The Google Home Mini is equipped with Google Assistant, which is ready to help when and where you need it, get help with everyday tasks, Manage your schedule, Play music, and much more using your voice. Google Assistant is very helpful and accurate at finding answers to questions asked. The voice heard is female and can be changed through the setting in the Google Home app preferences section.

Four multi-coloured lights appear on the Home Mini when powered up

The Google Home Mini voice recognition performs well, placing the speaker in the bedroom and speaking from across the bathroom or speaking 3.5 meters away, the device performed well. It can be used as a Bluetooth speaker for your phone but it doesn’t feature the 3.5 mm auxiliary cable output. The smart home speaker supports Cast-enabled speakers that enables the Home mini to be linked wirelessly to a larger speaker.

After setting the Home Mini with your smartphone, it’s simple to speak and listen. Interact with the speaker, ask questions, or press the ‘Cast button’ near the top to give your smartphone access to play audio through the Home mini. The sound responses heard from the Home Mini is loud enough to hear from the bedroom while in the living room.

You can set a sleep timer on google home mini, I used the “stop playing in 15 minutes” command. I wanted to sleep early and all I did was tell it to stop playing music playlist after 15 minutes.

There are different functions of the Home mini, it can tell you the weather condition, calendar, map, traffic report, entertain your family and friends with music, jokes an trivia. For those that love cooking, it can set cooking times in the kitchen and teach you through recipes if you are trying to cook something new.

It offers help to locate your smartphone device rather than the long search and thoughts of last know location you kept the phone. Just say the command “find my phone,” and your phone starts ringing. The find my phone feature also works when the phone is without cellular network because it works using Wi-Fi connection.

The Home mini call a friend feature comes with free voice calling is only available in the US and recently launched in the UK. It allows you make calls to friends and family on your contact list or call anyone not on your contact list by saying a command. For example say, “Hello Google, call the manager at Spar illupeju”.

The Google Home Mini can play music from YouTube, Google Play, Spotify and Pandora and other services once linked to the Google Home app. For iOS users, Apple Music isn’t compatible but can be done through Bluetooth. You can connect other smart home gadgets that are compatible with it and control it using the Home mini.

Comparing Google Home Mini with the Amazon Echo Dot

Seun Alaofin works as a freelance digital marketer in Lagos Nigeria and he also uses the Amazon Echo dot. I reached out to him to know more about the Echo dot and he said “The device is fantastic, artificial Intelligence is awesome – you can ask it to search for anything and use it for tasks, all I need to do is say it and it saves. “

He further said “Wish I went for it instead of Amazon echo dot. It doesn’t synchronize with Apple Music, only Amazon Music. This is not a good experience for African users.”

The Amazon echo dot is a fantastic device but users can’t make calls with it and do some other features. To use the device on iPhone you have to use VPN to get the app but on the Home mini you can get the Google Home app on Play store and App Store.

Verdict

Home Mini is affordable, premium built and portable with voice recognition and upgraded artificial intelligence.

I really hope Google considers adding an inbuilt rechargeable battery to the next Home mini because it was difficult using the device at home. Using the Home Mini for the alarm in the morning then to the bathroom and taking the device downstairs to the kitchen to play music before going to the office was a bit stressful. I had to plug it to a power source anytime I move around.

After a comprehensive review, the Google Home mini, it is preferable to the Amazon echo dot since the Google ecosystem is more accessible and dominant in Africa. If you’re a Google user or want to extend your services in the Google ecosystem then Home Mini is the right choice.

Google Home Mini availability and price

You can buy the Google Home mini – charcoal second generation smart speaker in Nigeria on jumia for 26,000 naira or on konga for 23,000 naira. It can also be purchased from retail stores across Nigeria. OPPO A93 Review: Sleek design with dual punch hole display and 6 AI camera

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11 COMMENTS

  1. We live in a smart word.. So its time we all go digital. I love this device. Everyone should have this handy at home.

  2. These are amazing features in one device. Wow. I’m short of words.

    I’m following and participating on Instagram and Twitter as @idafumpaul and Facebook as @ Comr Paul Idafum

  3. Well outlined review for the product and for it to be a Google branded product you should know it’s amazing

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