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My Impression of the Google Home Mini (so far)




On Thanksgiving day, several stores were offering deals on both the Google Home Mini and the Amazon Dot for $29 USD which both normally sell for $49. However a few stores had an added incentive of a $10 store gift card with the purchase of the Mini and I have Amazon's Alexa included on my Fire TV stick so I got a Mini.
Google Home Mini has so many features listed here: https://support.google.com/googlehome/topic/7195017?hl=en&ref_topic=7029097,7029808, with more being added.
First, The Google Home Mini requires you to have an Android or iOS device to install the Google Home app on (sorry no Windows or Linux). The Google Home app walks you through the Min's setup process. If you don't already have an account with Google (i.e. Gmail), the app prompts you to create an account. The app will prompt you to say “OK Google, Hey Google” a few time to establish your voice. This is because the Mini allows 'voice match' which allows multiple people to use the Mini with access to their own Google account information. When I ask “Hey Google, What does my day look like”, I get my schedule/calendar/list/contacts not for someone else and my guest cannot access my information.
One tip: During setup, the app asks you to setup payment options. I opted for NONE so nothing requiring a payment slips through on me.
To activate the Google Home Mini, you say “OK Google” or “Hey Google” then give your request. Many of the reviews I read complained those phrases did not roll as well as saying “Alexa”. Both “Hey Google” and “Alexa” are three syllables so I don't see a difference. “OK Google” is four syllables. I use both expressions.
The Google Home Mini does need to be plugged in for power. The Mini has two microphones. My home is 1120 square feet and the Mini is pretty well centralized. The Mini hears my request from each room with my normal voice. The Mini will even heard me in the basement though I probably did speak a little louder. I just have to remember to ask the Mini to increase it's volume so I can hear it's response.
The Google Home Mini handles inquiries very well. After all, the Mini is from a search provider. The Alexa requires me to phrase inquiries more exactly sometimes even requesting I add a 'skill'. I have asked the Mini many things and am amazed at how quickly I get a response.
Controlling home automation goes to Amazon since they have had an additional year to work with those device manufacturers. I am sure Google will catch up quickly. Neither has built in control for my old X10 devices.
The Mini can also make phone calls for you by the number, name out of your contacts or a business.
Examples: “OK Google, where is the nearest [business type] ” (response) “Hey Google, call them” and the Mini dials. Or ask “Hey Google, what is the phone number for [store] in [town]” - “OK Google, call them”.
The Google Home Mini of course can play music. The Mini lacks sound quality but will fill the room with sound. The Mini does have an equalizer which I used to try to help the bass. Considering the size, the Mini does OK. If you have a Google Chromecast, you can add Chromecast speakers. The Mini does a good job on voice like news reports and podcast.
Speaking of Chromecast, you can control your Chromecast enabled TV with the Mini.
I am happy with my purchase of the Google Home Mini especially at the sale price. Saves me from stepping into my office, waking up the computer, opening the browser and typing to get information. Those of you with smart phones permanently attached to you can always go get the Google Assistant app.



5 blog comments below

Mini sounds like an awesome personal assistant to me. Are you using it like that .... i.e. if you want to phone someone, ask Google to call the person and does it work well?
deanhills on Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:12 pm
Dean,
Phone feature works great but is not available in all countries. Also if you reach a business that ask you to press 'a number', you have no way to reply.
standready on Tue Dec 12, 2017 4:14 pm
A friend of mine was trying to buy a mini for his brother-in-law. Every store around was out. A store that got them in had them all disappear that same day.

What would be the difference between the mini and the regular Google Home? From what I can tell it's just quality of sound because the Home is larger and had a larger speaker.

I usually have my Pixel glued to my hip so I'm not sure what I'd get out of a Home or Home Mini. I was trying to figure out what my friend did with his all the time. Seemed to amount to asking it random questions, like they were little easter eggs or something.
TheGremlyn on Sun Dec 31, 2017 6:07 am
TG,
You are correct about the speaker being the big difference. One thing to note since original post, they have added the ability to pair with blue tooth speakers.
With your Pixel which probably has the Google Assistant app (or you can install it), you are probably good to go. You can always go to the Google Home features web page (link in my above post) to see what the Mini can do.
Since I don't have a (yikes!) smart phone and my tablet and/or desktop computer are not always handy, I get good use out of the Mini
standready on Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:25 pm
I should try "Talk like Yoda" lol! I think I've played Mad Libs before.
TheGremlyn on Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:47 pm



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