Google’s latest smart speaker, the Google Home Mini, packs the intelligence and functionality of the original in a more compact, affordable package. It’s a great option for tighter living spaces and an ideal addition to any home already using the Google Assistant app.
Whether in the living room, kitchen, bathroom or bedroom, the Mini can play music, provide real-time weather and traffic updates, answer questions and control compatible smart-home devices like your lights and thermostat—all in response to the familiar “Hey Google” prompt. It can even learn up to six different voices and respond with personalized information for everyone in the family.
In other words, the Google Home Mini offers big help in a little package. Here are five of the reasons that the tech press is taking note.
1. It’s well connected
Nearly 70% of Google users search Google daily, according to research noted by PCMag.com. Add people who use it at least once a week and the number jumps to 95%. Since the Home Mini connects and communicates seamlessly with other devices in the Google family, all that searching becomes much more streamlined.
Use it to access 35 million songs in Google Music’s catalog, or pair it with Chromecast to launch streaming content and create a surround-sound environment. As Tech Radar writes, “If you already own a Google Home or have a speaker set up with a Chromecast Audio, the Home Mini will make your audio arrangement even sweeter.”
2. It knows your voice
“Hey Google, what’s my schedule today?” is an unanswerable question if the home assistant can’t decide whose calendar to consult. That’s why the Home Mini features “voice match” for up to six users, an innovative way to tailor requests for directions, music, shopping and more.
Digital Trends is pleasantly surprised with how well the Home Mini differentiates three voices—two female, one male—during testing. “The transitions happened seamlessly,” the editors note. “Meaning that we did not have to tell the Mini who was talking or log out of any accounts in order to get the personalization.”
3. It’s good in the kitchen (and the bathroom, and the living room…)
Half the fun of the Google Home Mini is figuring out which room it should live in. Need someone to read those soufflé directions so you can focus on the whisking? Want to get a morning rundown of the news and weather while you shave? How about ordering more fabric softener without putting down the laundry basket? The Home Mini has you covered.
CNET recently explored nine ways to use the Google Home Mini in the bathroom. “Whether you're dyeing your hair or trying to make sure your kids are really brushing their teeth for a full two minutes, a hands-free timer is rather handy,” the site says. “To make things even easier on the little ones, you can make a shortcut that starts a two-minute timer when they say, ‘Hey, Google, toothbrush time.’”
4. It makes your smart home smarter
The Google Home Mini is compatible with many other smart devices you may already own—meaning you can streamline your approach to conserving energy, increasing security, completing tasks and making your home futuristic and cool.
As CNET points out, “Aside from streaming music, Google’s smart speakers work with a number of third-party services and smart-home gadgets, letting the Assistant turn your lights off … and all sorts of other nifty tricks.” CNET recommends pairing your Home Mini with your smart thermostat and then simply asking Google for a temperature change; connecting to a smart washer and starting a load of laundry from another room; or linking up to a smart sprinkler system and watering your lawn on the fly.
5. It won’t let you forget
The Home Mini provides answers on command, but it can also give a useful nudge so important appointments, phone calls and other time-sensitive activities don’t slip your mind. Reminders can be time-based—“Hey Google, remind me to call Amy at 10 a.m. tomorrow”—or location-based—“Hey Google, remind me to buy milk when I’m at the supermarket.”
Of course, the latter involves leaving the Home Mini behind, but, as CNET points out, this smart device still has your back: “The notifications for all location-based reminders will appear on your phone when you reach the set location of the reminder.” For a device designed to help you around the house, that’s above and beyond—but for the Google Home Mini, it’s all in a day’s work.