Last year, I wrote, “Google Home is the most frustrating device I’ve ever reviewed.”
I saw potential in Google’s future but they weren’t executing on simple things. I was getting error messages with things like playing Spotify music. But the problem that bothered me most was that Google Calendar couldn’t be controlled through Google Home, even though Alexa devices could do this!
Google Home has matured since its inception in late 2016. The significant issues I faced have been resolved, and now both assistants are on a level playing field.
Google Home Mini and Amazon Echo Dot are excellent devices.
Google’s basic smart home integrations from big companies (Nest, Ecobee, Philips, WeMo, IFTTT) work just as well as Alexa, with better setup and configuration. Google’s has superior intelligence, a nicer minimalistic design and a better speaker.
It should be an easy call, but no audio out, Bluetooth out, or Sonos integration on Home Mini is a killer for me.
Who should get Google Home Mini?
- Anyone in the Google ecosystem (even just Chromecast owners).
- Anyone using the small assistants as an add-on piece just for smart home tasks (only the assistant’s voice will be played on the speaker).
- Anyone who is fine with slightly better than smartphone audio quality for their music (Home Mini isn’t good for music but is way better than Dot).
Home Mini is a much better as a standalone option, but that’s not how these are supposed to be used ideally.
Echo Dot is still the king and for the masses. You’ll get more integrations, ability to buy things on Amazon, you can set up customized routines, and you can use your own speakers.
And when Dots are $30 during the holidays and other Amazon events, how do you pass up buying a few?