The last year has seen an explosion of hardware with access to personal assistants. Everywhere you look, something is advertising Alexa support, Google Assistant built-in, or Siri functionality. Amazon has an advantage right now with its line of Echo devices. They’re cheap and small so you can place almost anywhere in your home. But now Google is striking back with the Google Home Mini. The $49 smart speaker with Assistant at its heart.
A cheaper Home
We’re finally getting our first official look at the oft-leaked Google Home Mini. The puck-shaped device has a much smaller form factor than the original Google Home, but keeps most of the functionality. You’ll still be able to command the Home Mini with all of your favorite voice commands. The four LED’s on top will indicate when you’ve triggered the device or when its thinking.
Despite its $49 price tag, the Home Mini will be able to do almost everything the standard $129 Google Home can do. If you have connected electronics like Philips Hue Bulbs or a Nest Thermostat, you can still use your voice to control those devices. You’ll also still be able to ask Assistant for the square root of Pi, what sound a Zebra makes, or to set a timer- all without lifting a finger. If you have a Chromecast hooked up to your TV, you can still tell Home Mini to cast your favorite YouTube videos to it just like you would with Google Home. All of the things you’d normally command Google Home to do, you can do with Google Home Mini too.
So, what’s different?
The difference between the two speakers is largely centered around the hardware inside. While components are getting smaller every day, we’re not at the point yet where Google can smush down a Home into the size of a Home Mini. The sad fact is that it had to leave some things out to get the size down. Google had to settle for smaller drivers in the Mini which reduce the volume it can put out. Additionally, you’re not going to get the same kind of sound quality either. Don’t expect earth-shattering bass.
The color choices are different too. The Home Mini will come in Chalk, Charcoal, and Coral. Both the Charcoal and Coral will have matching colored bases, but the Chalk colored speaker will switch it up with a white base for a nice two-tone look. Unfortunately, the interchangeable bases of the Google Home are gone. In their place are a permanent cloth top and hard plastic bottom.
Pre-order starts today
Google is positioning the Home Mini as a speaker that can do everything the original can, just in a smaller package. In marketing material, the Mini is being called a “powerful little helper” and the little part certainly rings true. While the diameter of the device is slightly larger, its half the height and weighs less too.
Google isn’t wasting any time in making the Google Home Mini available. Pre-orders will go live soon, but you’ll have to wait a few weeks to get your hands on it. Much like the Pixel 2, the Google Home Mini won’t arrive in stores until October 19. In addition to the six territories that Home is available right now, Japan will be joining the ranks later this week according to Google.
So, that’s the Google Home Mini. What do you think? Is there any reason to buy the full-sized Google Home anymore? Let us know down in the comments.