The Google Home Mini is Google’s auxiliary device for your smart home automation and a companion for the already available Google Home. It’s an affordable, small speaker which is connected to the AI platform Google Assistant. This allows you to ask it a range of different questions from “What’s the weather like today”, “Play the Rolling Stones”, “Remind me to feed to the dog at 9 am”.
You can also connect it up to dim your lights, turn on your TV or watch your favourite shows on Netflix. The Home Mini is very similar to the larger more expensive Google Home but is a more basic version, not offering all the same connectivity its bigger brother offers. While they make decent standalone speakers they only contain a smaller 40mm driver compared to the 2 50mm driver that is in the Google Home.
This does mean there is a loss of sound quality if you want to fill a decent sized room. The device does get pretty loud but at a volume level of 10 there is distortion and the sound becomes quite flat as there’s not much bass from the secondary unit. Even with connected to Spotify or Google Music, it can let the tracks down a little.
If you have a Google Home or Chromecast Audio though, the Home Mini becomes a great companion to the sound system. As it is better with the high-frequency sounds, treble is sharp and clear with vocal being very pronounced and complements the bigger speakers inside the bigger Home device. It works great in a team where the other devices can carry it but alone, it is unable to produce a total well rounded audio experience.
In terms of connectivity, it does lose some of the options you get with the Google Home. Even though there is Bluetooth in the device, there is no A2DP connection or aux jack. This means you can’t play music from your phone directly to it and you can’t hook it up via a 3.5mm jack.
This is a shame as the competitor Amazon’s Echo Dot does come with a 3.5mm jack for the same price. It would be nice if Google patched the Home Mini to allow streaming of music to the device from your phone as it should be possible. You can though if your phone or tablet supports it, cast the audio to the Mini but not everything will support this feature making it a little limiting.