Google Nest Mini Speaker (2nd Gen Google Home Mini) Review

Google decided to unify its Home and Nest brands under a single Nest banner. As part of this move, it renamed its smart display from the Google Home Hub to the Google Nest Hub Max. Recently, it also changed the name of the second-generation Google Home Mini to the Google Nest Mini speaker.

The Google Home Mini is popular as one of the top Google Home speakers. Google’s objective is to position the Nest Mini as one of the best smart speakers on the market. The Nest Mini offers all the best Google Assistant commands. This make it a voice remote for various smart home gadgets like smart lights and locks. Additionally, the device comes with a dedicated machine-learning chip. It allows the device to enhance its responses and become an even better home assistant.

The Nest Mini has also been upgraded to offer a more robust sound, and it features some minor aesthetic improvements. We conducted a test to determine whether these changes truly make it a better device than its predecessor and whether it’s a viable competitor to the Amazon Echo Dot with Clock, which we’ve included on our list of the top affordable smart home gadgets.

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Google Nest Mini Speaker Design

Design-wise, it’s challenging to differentiate the Google Nest Mini from the original Google Home Mini. The latest iteration is an exact replica of its predecessor, featuring identical dimensions and signature curved edges. The 1.65-inch-tall speaker retains the same central four-dot LED configuration beneath its fabric-covered exterior.

The Nest Mini features a few touch-screen controls that are beneath the cloth cover. These controls allow you to play and pause music and launch Google Assistant. To adjust the volume, you can tap on either side of the device. Similar to the Home Mini and Echo Dot, there is a physical switch located on the back of the Nest Mini that you can use to deactivate the microphone.

However, we must admit that we’re not particularly impressed with the hook located at the bottom of the speaker. While some users may find it useful for hanging the Nest Mini on their wall, perhaps by their front door, we prefer the flexibility of keeping it on a counter since we move around frequently. Nonetheless, the compact size of the Nest Mini means that it doesn’t take up much space, regardless of where you choose to place it.

One small yet noteworthy detail about the design of the Nest Mini is that its fabric is composed entirely of recycled materials. According to Google, a half-liter plastic bottle can produce enough fabric to cover at least two Nest Mini devices. This is part of Google’s broader commitment to sustainability, which involves using more recycled plastics in its products and implementing greener practices throughout its operations.

Color Options

The Nest Mini is available in a variety of new and exciting colors. Alongside the standard light-grey fabric and white combination called Chalk, the device comes in Charcoal gray, Coral orange, and Sky-blue variations. The bases of the Charcoal, Coral, and Sky Nest Minis are color-matched to the fabric, creating a more uniform look for the device.

In our opinion, the Coral version that we reviewed was a fantastic addition. It added a vibrant pop of color to our black-and-white kitchen area without appearing garish or cheap. We assume the Sky Nest Mini would have a similar effect.

Audio Quality

When we reviewed the Home Mini, we found that its audio quality was superior to that of the third-generation Echo Dot. With the Nest Mini, Google has widened its lead over Amazon’s small smart speaker. Also, Google delivered on its promise of improved sound.

Despite not being significantly louder than its predecessor, the Nest Mini’s sound is more robust. While we couldn’t hear the audio clearly between closed doors in our apartment, we found that music sounded fantastic when we listened from our living room. For its size, the Nest Mini produces impressive audio.

Thanks to its custom 40-millimeter driver and new 15-watt power adapter. The Nest Mini has a big highlight including its bass frequencies. Not everyone enjoys bass-heavy tracks, but if you do, you’ll definitely appreciate how the Nest Mini handles lower frequencies.

Another small but significant improvement in the Nest Mini is its ability to be grouped with other Google speakers in your home for synchronous audio playback. This was a limitation of the Home Mini, so we look forward to taking advantage of the Nest Mini’s multi-room audio capability frequently.

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Google Nest Mini Speaker – Features and Privacy

As a Google Assistant-powered device, the Nest Mini offers all the standard voice commands you’d expect. You can ask it to tell you the weather, set a timer, play music or a podcast, and control your smart home devices, among other things.

The Nest Mini also has a built-in machine learning chip. This allows it to learn your most common commands and respond faster over time. It can also provide personalized information. It can be your daily commute times or your upcoming calendar events, by recognizing your voice.

Privacy and Voice Commands

Privacy is a top concern for many smart speaker users. So, Google has taken steps to address this with the Nest Mini. As mentioned earlier, there’s a physical switch on the back of the device. This lets you deactivate the microphone when you don’t want it listening. The Nest Mini also has a dedicated chip. It processes all voice recognition locally on the device, rather than sending it to Google’s servers. This means your voice data is more secure and less likely to be intercepted or misused.

Many smart home companies, including Google, have been taking privacy concerns seriously. They are providing users with options to control their data and protect their privacy. With the Nest Mini, for example, you can turn off the microphones manually using the physical switch on the back of the device. Alternatively, you can use voice commands to tell Google Assistant to stop listening for a certain amount of time. Additionally, you can review and delete your voice recordings through your Google account.

With the Nest Mini, you can use voice commands to play music, set reminders and alarms, check the weather, control your smart home devices, and more. It also works with other Google Assistant-enabled devices. This allows you to create routines and control multiple devices with a single command.

Price and Competitors

The Nest Mini’s price is competitive with similar devices on the market, and it currently retails for around $49.99 USD. Some of its main competitors include the Amazon Echo Dot, which is priced similarly, and the Apple HomePod Mini, which is slightly more expensive at around $99 USD. Other competitors in the smart speaker market include the Sonos One, the Bose Home Speaker 300, and the Amazon Echo Show. It’s worth noting that each of these devices has its own unique features and strengths, so it’s important to consider what you’re looking for in a smart speaker before making a purchasing decision.

Summary

The Nest Mini has the ability to recognize individual voices through Voice Match and deliver personalized responses. Additionally, it came out with a dedicated machine-learning chip that improves the functionality of the smart assistant. With 1 TeraOPS of processing power, the Nest Mini can learn and adapt to be a better assistant directly from the device.

Apart from the above features, the Nest Mini offers new home-centric features introduced in Google Assistant. The speaker is also useful as an intercom to broadcast messages to other Google-brand speakers in your home. Furthermore, the Nest Mini allows hands-free phone calls with Google Duo. This is convenient for users to stay connected with their loved ones. The Nest Mini can also serve as a security accessory with its new home alarm feature.

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