Modern technology is making leaps and bounds, but there’s nothing that quite encapsulates this more than smart home speakers.
Imagine showing it to someone a decade ago! When you think about this technology, it really seems like the stuff of sci-fi novels. However, smart speakers are very much real.
In fact, they’re very affordable, and you can even choose between the ones you like best!
The two leading devices in smart home speakers right now are the Google Home Mini and the Amazon Echo Dot. Both are small, compact, and powerful, bringing your smart device capability to a whole new level.
Whether you choose the Amazon Echo Dot or go with the Google Home Mini, both of these devices will help you plan out your day, from making dinner reservations to knowing the weather.
Amazon Echo Dot
Being one of the first and most popular of its kind out there, the Amazon Echo Dot has introduced a lot of people to the world of smart home devices.
The latest Dot is an improvement over the other Echo Dots in the market, and Amazon just keeps making them better and better.
Because of how long it has been on the market, the Echo Dot is bound to have a lot of advantages in this regard.
For example, they have spent longer perfecting functionality and can connect to a wider range of devices compared to the Mini.
Google Home Mini
Fondly called the Mini, the Google Home Mini is a device created by Google.
A veteran at innovation, Google has developed a large number of smart devices, including the famed Google Glass, so leave it up to them to bring something fun and new to the table.
While it’s relatively young to the smart home speaker race, the Google Home Mini is quickly catching up to be a favorite. Which isn’t that much of a surprise, mainly because it just looks so cute.
Its stylish, compact, and a great help when it comes to setting appointments, finding out the best route to work, and reminding you when to get ready.
Here’s a video showing what the Google Home Mini looks like out of the box and setup.
Google Home Mini vs Echo Dot
Futuristic as they are, choosing between smart home speakers can be a bit of a headache. Indeed, the Amazon Alexa vs Google Home debate continues to wage on and on.
Will you go with the tried and tested Echo Dot, or would you go with the innovative Google Home Mini?
Both the Echo Dot and Google Home Mini are top of the line smart home speakers, popular in their own right. What really makes the ‘Echo Dot vs. Home Mini’ decision a hard one is that one isn’t automatically better than the other.
Both of them have their own strengths and weaknesses, and they’re also very similar in many regards.
Choosing the right smart home speaker for you will depend on what is most important in your home, such as how easy it is to use or how compatible it is with other devices.
While we’re looking at them side by side, keep in mind that what truly matters is how well they suit your lifestyle in particular.
If we’re comparing the two smart home speakers, looking at the price won’t be very helpful.
Of course, the hardware and their capabilities put their retail price in context, but at a glance, one is not better than the other.
However, consider the deals. Amazon, being better versed in retail, has better and more regular deals on their Echo than the Mini.
If you’re on the lookout for a better deal, the Echo Dot will be the speaker for you.
The designs for both the Google Mini and Echo Dot have been through multiple reiterations throughout the years, always improving upon the previous versions.
When it purely comes to aesthetics, the Mini takes the cake, as it’s far more compact and adorable than the Echo Dot.
As a matter of fact, Google tested 157 shades of gray just to develop the Mini, and that’s not even including all the other design choices that went into the device.
The Mini fits snugly in your palm and is partly enclosed in fabric. It comes in three colors – chalk, charcoal, and coral (which translate to white, grey, and pink).
The colors themselves have been given much thought: chalk is the general color, able to fit almost any surface. Charcoal is for those who would like their Minis to blend with their electronics.
Coral is for those who want their mini to grab attention, as opposed to the other designs that are meant to fade in the background.
While the Mini has better aesthetics, however, it has to sacrifice functionality. Volume buttons (located at the side of the device), as well as the mute button (located at the back), aren’t very easy to reach compared to that of an Echo Dot.
Also, consider the LED lights on both devices. The Dot has conspicuous (although garish for some) lights on its rim. The Mini has its LED situated on top, subtle and small, telling you whether or not it is connected. While it looks aesthetically pleasing, it’s rather hard to see.
When choosing between the two, think about whether you need to change the controls of your device often, and if you’re willing to sacrifice functionality for aesthetics.
When it comes to the devices’ ability to hear you, there isn’t much difference.
The Dot boasts of an array of seven far-field microphones, but in practice, that’s not a huge advantage over the Mini’s two far-field mic’s.
After all, you will be placing your speaker in the same rooms you’re typically in, such as the living room and kitchen, and both microphones do well picking up commands from adjacent rooms.
The Mini will suffice for these common needs – but then again, if you really want to command your speaker from the garage, for example, an Echo Dot could accommodate.
On the other hand, with concerns about privacy, perhaps having a microphone in every room of the house isn’t the best idea.
When it comes to speakers, there is a difference between the two devices.
Both have the ability to be connected to other speakers via Bluetooth, although the Dot has the option of a 3.5mm audio jack.
Its 1.6-inch speaker is already pretty good on its own, however, and is greatly improved from previous models.
When it comes to the speakers themselves, the Echo Dot takes the cake. However, since most of us would probably be using them to play music, it’s important to also consider their performance in this regard.
It should be noted that the Mini lets you upload your own songs; with the Dot, you are only limited to streaming services and it will prioritize Amazon Music.
If the music quality is more important to you, go with the Dot. If you want to have more choices in your songs, go with the Mini.
Here’s a video showing a comparison of the Dot and the Mini using music.
Right off the bat, the Mini performs better in understanding human speech. This is because Google has perfected its ability to ‘translate’ human queries.
When it comes to giving commands, the Mini will understand you as well as the Google search bar does. It boasts of being able to understand context, which means that you don’t have to repeat yourself as much as with a Dot.
Unlike the Dot, the Mini also lets you make multiple queries. These capabilities allow you to have a more fluid and natural conversation, getting your commands executed faster and more reliably.
Additionally, you can also set up your Mini to work in tandem with your Android device. For example, the Mini can look up an address and send the directions to your phone.
However, if you’re mainly planning on using your device to shop, the Dot is the device for you. Amazon, after all, knows how to sell things better than Google, and this shows with how the Dot is set up.
You can easily create commands to refill your pantry and just wait for your stuff to show up at the door, making things very convenient (and very futuristic).
If having a digital assistant is more important to you, then go with the Mini. If you’re planning on using your device as a way to shop, then go with the Dot.
Both the Mini and the Dot are compatible with a number of other smart devices on the market. Because it has been available for longer, however, the Dot will have more connections.
The Mini, nonetheless, is quickly playing catch-up. In fact, it reports that it can now connect to over 5,000 devices on the market.
However, it still has quite a way to go before it can catch up to the number of devices that the Dot has to offer.
Even still, it’s not completely at a loss here. Google boasts of an ecosystem that even those of us without a smart home speaker have already been using.
Chromecast is one example, and those who use Android phones will already have a compatible device in their arsenal.
While the Mini may be behind on compatibility with other smart devices, it has the advantage of being connected to devices that we are already familiar with.
Yet, when it comes to connectivity, what matters most is the devices that we already own and the devices that we plan on owning.
Before buying a smart home speaker, it’s always a good idea to factor not just the cost of the speaker itself, but the cost of the entire ecosystem that you plan on connecting to it.
Here’s a video showing voice commands on the Echo Dot vs Google Home Mini.
Wrap Up on Amazon Alexa vs Google Home
Now that’s all is said and done, let’s have a bird’s eye view of the pros and cons the Google Home Mini and the Echo Dot bring to the table.
Amazon Echo Dot
The Echo Dot is for those looking for practicality.
The Dot has better speakers and its design puts functionality above everything else.
It also has better connectivity when it comes to other smart devices on the market.
Ironically enough, despite its strengths when it comes to practicality, the Dot suffers when it comes to being a digital assistant.
Giving commands to the Dot is awkward at best and a hassle at worst.
Google Home Mini
A lot of thought was put into the design of the Mini, and it truly shows. It blends seamlessly into the background—or not, if you want it to.
Its AI also allows you to give commands in nearly the same way you would a human; it can understand context, multiple queries, and is just better at understanding the information you provide it.
As pretty as it looks, the Mini’s hardware isn’t exactly the best.
It does better connected with external speakers, and its buttons aren’t exactly the most user-friendly.
Compared to the Dot, it also has fewer connectivity capabilities.
Both the Mini and the Dot are very close competitors, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. It depends on which element is more important to you, like its speakers or its design.
When it comes down to it, however, think about the most important distinction between the two: why do you want a smart home speaker?
If you’re looking to make queries and give commands to make your life flow easier, go with the Mini. It will understand you better and get the information you need much faster.
But what if you don’t need information, and you need items? Then go with the Dot. Its understanding of consumer patterns and its ability to get your purchases seamlessly to your door will make your life quick and hassle-free.
At the end of the day, both the Dot and the Mini are improving as products very quickly. Think about Dot’s whisper mode, or the impressive (and slightly unnerving) Duplex. Every day, both are unveiling new capabilities, one catching up to the other in different aspects.
So, if you’re not sure on whether to buy a Mini or Dot, maybe check back in a few months or so. Chances are, something will have changed – and maybe then you’ll find the perfect device for you.
Where do you stand when it comes to Google Home Mini vs Echo Dot?