I’m telling you folks, voice assistant speakers are going to be a big thing in 2018. Alexa has their version, Apple will eventually release their homepod speaker, and Google, well, they have this, the Google Home Mini. I did personally buy this direct from Google, I’ll place my link here. Click on that for the most updated prices in real-time.
Heading into the physical features first, I loved the fabric cover. It gives the room it’s in a more textured look, making the area look a bit more comfortable. To make this kid and pet safe so it doesn’t slide off the table, there’s a non-skid pad underneath and with my testing, it’s not moving at all.
Beautiful and bright LED’s light up the top when using the Google Home mini when activated. Something I found very intuitive were the touch controls on either side. Giving an ever-so-slight tap raises and lowers volume.
Looking at the side of the Google Home Mini, as an FYI, there’s no 3.5mm port for physical connections. However, there is a button to turn off the microphones, just in case you don’t want to activate Google Assistant, and to the middle is a Micro-USB port – oddly and I have no Idea why… no USB-Type C. Keep in mind there is no battery built in, so it’s not portable per se and will require being plugged in at all times.
This is a WiFi speaker so it does stay connected to your Home’s Internet. You also can use this as a Bluetooth speaker if you’d like as it comes with Bluetooth 4.1. As a fun fact, I know I mentioned earlier this doesn’t have a built-in battery, but I did connect this to one of my power banks. The speaker can indeed function like a portable Bluetooth speaker, you just gotta bring around a USB cord and power bank though. Just something I wanted to share.
But testing the microphone, in a silent room and with a normal voice, the Mini speaker can pick up my voice from 40 feet away, that’s pretty impressive. With music blasting a maximum volume, I was about to stand 20 feet away but had to raise my voice for the speaker to hear me. Not bad considering how small this thing is.
Testing the speakerphone, the person I was talking to played loudly and clearly throughout the room. The microphone picked up my voice pretty decent, loud and audible when closer up, but sounded to have slight distance and some room echo from far away.
Finally, the Google Assistant capabilities are the real star of the show here. I do use it every morning for the basics, like the weather, but better yet, I place my work address into my Google Account, and have the Home Mini can tell me how many minutes it will take to get to work. But some more advanced features, Google Assistant is now conversational, meaning you can ask a question and she will follow-up with several more questions to better understand you. She keeps track of this and then gives you an answer back accordingly… there’s no need to say the Google command each time you want to ask something.
For those watching Netflix, I can easily tell the Google Home Mini to play Stranger Things on my Chromecast enabled TV. The only issue, it can’t differentiate which season I want to watch. It’s also a very similar experience with Youtube – Because of their huge library of video’s, sometimes it doesn’t play the exact one I want. Either or, it was better than nothing in the past. Just recently, they allowed for me to pull up my home’s security camera, both Nest Cams and Logi cams which helps tremendously. Features that I know does work, but I don’t own these myself are Smart Thermostats. With Google Home, you can verbally across the room tell the nest Thermostat to cool down the house. It’s pretty intense on how deep this is and surely how far it will go in 2018.
So alright folks, checking out the audio, this small little speaker packs a punch. I’m pretty amazed at how bright and how loud this can get considering how small it is. The Google Home Mini does lack in bass, but it’s very forward with its vocal performance. With that bright and forward sound signature, the speaker sounds clear and well pronounced. Volume levels are enough for personal and casual listening. Bedrooms, garages, you standing in and around the kitchen are ideal places. You can have music playing in large open areas, but the audio will be very generic. As for a soundstage, it’s common with most small speakers, there’s no audio depth perception or separation since there’s only one speaker. If there’s two, they’re just too close together to provide an open soundstage in general.
So folks, for $50. I really liked it a lot. My life is already integrated into Google’s ecosystem, and with the Mini, I’m now expanding my experience through hardware and appliances. It’s awesome until I find out the NSA is watching. They’re always watching… Alright guys, once again, I’m Jimmy with JimsReviewRoom. You guys take care.