Smart Speakers are the future if they have not managed to find a place in your home already. While Amazon is trying hard with its Echo series, I have to admit Google is way ahead in this race with its Google Home series. I never expected Google to bring its smart home speakers to India, however, the search engine giant did bring its Google Home and Google Home Mini speakers to India earlier this year. Google Home is priced at Rs 9,999 while the Home Mini is priced at Rs 4,499 unless you manage to pick up a deal on Flipkart here in India. I managed to get my hands on the Home Mini (Charcoal) for about a week and here are 5 things you should know before buying this doughnut shaped smart-arse.
1. It does all the things that Google Home can do
So I am guessing perhaps the first question which comes to your mind is – what is the difference between Google Home and Home Mini? Well, it has entirely to do with the sound. Yes, the Google Home Mini is just as smart as the regular Google Home minus the quality of sound, which is quite obvious. I will discuss the sound quality in later part of this article but for now for what I have experienced in this past week, Google Home Mini can do a lot of things for you. It can play some music, answer almost all of your weird questions, can even sing ‘Happy Birthday’ for you and still doesn’t expect anything in return.
2. It is not a Portable Speaker
Google Home Mini is a Smart Speaker that requires its own power supply. So if you were wondering that the Home Mini will be your perfect companion on your next trip – well, hold that thought right there. Being a Smart Speaker, it connects to the internet by-itself and is always listening to you so naturally, it requires its own power supply. That said, you can connect your phone to the Home Mini via Bluetooth. Also, the Home Mini comes with a micro-USB port and not a USB Type-C connector. Come On Google! Its 2018.
3. You can’t make calls with Home Mini in India just yet
This was really a bummer for me. Google hasn’t rolled out the calls feature for its Home devices here in India. This feature is only available in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada as of now. Further, what is even more annoying is that it will not let you make calls just by commands even if you are connected via Bluetooth. I mean, I can make calls via my regular Bluetooth speakers through the Google Assistant built-in to my device. Nevertheless, I am sure Google will bring this feature to India sooner than later. So stick around.
4. It can recognize your voice
One thing which I really like about the Google Home Mini is that it can recognize your voice. Now how is that feature so likable? – you may ask. Well, it knows my name and the account it is linked to. So whenever I tell it to set a reminder or alarm or call (in future), it will perform all those activities in my device. And before you get a little confused here, you can set up to six voices to a Google Home device. I think that should be enough for a family.
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5. The Sound
Google Home Mini sounds great a for a medium sized room. It gets insanely loud for its size and to be honest, Amazon Echo Dot is nowhere near to the Home Mini when it comes to the quality of sound. The Home Mini is omni-directional so no matter where you keep this little speaker, it will blow your mind. There is no sub-woofer in the Home Mini for obvious reasons so naturally you would want a little more bass in some situations. You can actually fiddle around with the Equalizer in the Home app but honestly, that will not make much of a difference. Sound is the most important aspect of even a smart speaker and if you ask me, I was not disappointed.
But, smart speakers are not just about sounds coming off it, it is also about sounds it collect. Google has pioneered the voice recognition for quite some years now. There are two microphones on the Google Home Mini speakers and they do a tremendous job of recognizing your voice. The recognition is so good that you can throw up commands to the Home Mini even when it is playing on full volume. Not only this, Google has tuned up its services to catch Indian accent pretty well. Further, it can also take up certain ‘Hindi’ words quite comfortably. There is a little mute switch on the side which turns of the mic. Else, you can simply place your hand on the top to pause.
Google Home Mini certainly make things convenient once you get more comfortable using it. I still feel that smart speakers are just not there when it comes to our every day life gadgets. However, I can clearly see them achieving that place in near future. If you are planning to buy a smart speaker under Rs 4,000 ($50), Google Home Mini is a no brainer pick. It will not only mesmerize you with the all its talking but also wouldn’t disappoint you with the sound output.
Do you have a Google Home Mini? How would you rate your experience? Let us know in the comments section below