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Home News Google Home vs. Google Home Mini: Which should you buy?

Google Home vs. Google Home Mini: Which should you buy?

Cyber Monday Deal Alert

Nest Mini

Nicely done, Nest

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$29 at Best Buy

Improved assistant and better bass

You can get Nest’s new mighty-but-small smart speaker for just $29 on Cyber Monday, so dive into this incredibly good deal.

Google Home

The OG

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$100 at Best Buy

Pros

  • Fantastic sound with deep bass
  • Excellent microphone sensitivity
  • Nice, minimalist design
  • Replaceable base
  • Touch controls for playback and volume

Cons

  • Proprietary charging port

The Google Home is the original Assistant, and it’s still a great smart speaker. With excellent sound quality and generous amounts of bass, plus intuitive touch controls, sensitive microphones and a minimalist look, this OG is still the one to get if music is your thing.

Home Mini

Tiny. Fun.

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$30 at Best Buy

Pros

  • Tiny and can fit anywhere
  • Charges via Micro-USB
  • Fun colors that can fit with any decor

Cons

  • Anemic sound and no bass to speak of
  • Considerable softer at full volume than Google Home
  • Lacks comprehensive touch controls on top

The Home Mini is the entry point to Google’s smart speaker lineup, and it’s as fun to use today as ever. If you’re looking to play podcasts, listen to the news, or get Assistant to control your smart home, this is your best bet.

Before you read this, read this

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This article compares two older products from Google’s lineup. Google has since updated the Home Mini with a newer Nest Mini that sounds much better, has improved touch controls, and costs just $50.

While Google still sells the original Home Mini at a discount, it’s probably worth considering whether to pick up the newer Nest Mini even at that higher price.

We also have a dedicated comparison between the Nest Mini and Google Home Mini, just in case you’re having trouble deciding between them.

Nest Mini vs. Google Home Mini: Should you upgrade?

There’s a $70 difference between the Google Home and Home Mini, and for good reason: one is a true smart speaker that sounds great playing music, and looks great in any environment. The other one is tiny and fun, and can disappear into a living space. The Home Mini has a much weaker, tinnier speaker, but for podcasts or news, or just getting Assistant to do your bidding, it’s a much better value.

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Big in importance but small in stature, the Google Home Mini is a great addition to the company’s hardware canon.

At just $30, the rounded plastic puck, covered in fabric, is an inexpensive entry into Google’s burgeoning smart home ecosystem. It offers a speaker that while lacking in bass is adequate for most voice-based tasks. As it sits, its microphones listen for the “OK Google” hotword and, offers a growing number of commands through the Google Assistant, a cloud-based AI that hooks deep into Google’s Knowledge Graph — the same back-end that powers the company’s ubiquitous search engine.

For many people, the $30 price is right, and will likely prove to be an excellent holiday gift. But is it worth springing the extra $70 for the larger, better-sounding Google Home? Let’s discuss.

Capabilities

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Google Home is now over two years old, but it was built with Google Assistant in mind. It has two far-field microphones that are designed to pick up one’s voice even when there is ambient noise around it. It has a touch-sensitive top area with four colored LEDs that light up and dance when activated. It’s powered by a proprietary DC power connection and a has a mute button on the back for times you don’t want the microphone to listen.

For some reason, Google chose Micro-USB instead of the more-versatile USB-C to charge the Home Mini.

The Home Mini is significantly smaller and doesn’t have the same number of features — for obvious reasons. It lacks the top touch controls of the Google Home (which turned out to be a critical design flaw in the hardware itself, forcing Google to permanently disable the feature), and has neither the absolute volume nor the microphone sensitivity of its larger counterpart.

It also charges with Micro-USB instead of a more power-hungry DC plug, and the mute function is a switch, not a button. Finally, changing the volume on the Home Mini involves tapping on the left or right edge of the front instead of the more tactile and, ultimately, functional way of moving one’s finger over the Home’s top touch panel.

At the same time, the units are functionally identical where it counts: Google Assistant. Each improvement made to Assistant — from supporting new smart home products to being better able to answer direct questions using the “OK Google” hotword — is rolled out to every unit. Both the Home and Home Mini will grow and improve in abilities over time, and neither should benefit disproportionately from software improvements made over time.

Sound quality

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The main difference between the two speakers isn’t functionality but sound quality. Google Home has a 2-inch driver and dual 2-inch passive radiators, which drive a tremendous amount of low-end for a speaker of this size. It’s certainly better than the first-generation Amazon Echo, and very enjoyable to listen to when jamming to hip-hop, rock, or even jazz.

The Google Home Mini is a circumaural (or 360-degree) speaker, and lacks the size for a bass-generating woofer. As you can see in the video below, both sound good, but the larger Home definitely has a wider range and emphatic low-end.

Still, the Home Mini holds its own, and does so in a form factor that is less than a quarter the size of the Google Home itself. And if the sound quality from the Home Mini isn’t good enough, it supports outputting music to a Chromecast Audio-connected speaker system.

Which should you buy?

Both are great, but there are pros and cons to each.

Google Home

The OG

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$100 at Best Buy

A great choice for music

It’s been out for three years, but the original Google Home is still going strong — especially at its newer permanently lower price of $100.

Google Home Mini

Tiny. Fun.

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$30 at Best Buy

Little thing with lots to love.

The Home Mini is cheap and cheerful, so buy one if you want to dip your toe into the world of smart speakers.

Latest

How to share and scan WhatsApp QR Codes with others

WhatsApp recently pushed an update to Beta testers that lets users add each other via QR codes. This saves people the trouble of sending phone numbers and makes the process of adding people much simpler. The feature is also found in popular apps like Instagram, Messenger, and Snapchat, so if you’ve used those apps before, the process is the same.WhatsApp QR Codes – Making contacts easier than beforeWith the addition of WhatsApp QR code, you just need to send your QR code or scan another person’s code to add them instantly. When you add someone from a different country, you needed to include the + with their region area code and phone number, and add them as a contact.The new process makes sharing a QR code a cinch and also scanning a QR code is easier. If you’re savvy enough, you can also make it a part of your personal website, visiting card or other places for people to add you instantly.With all that said, let us get into how to do it.Pre-requisite: The only real pre-requisite needed here is to make sure you are in the WhatsApp beta program. As of the time of writing this post, the beta program is full, so you will have to wait for it to open if you aren’t in it already.Step 1Open up WhatsApp and tap the 3 dots at the top right of the app.Next, choose Settings.Step 2 Look to the far right of your name and status for a small QR code icon. Tap on it.This will generate your curated QR code for your number, ready for sharing and scanning. You can take a screenshot of this page and share it with someone or wherever you wish.Step 3To scan a QR code simply swipe to the right and you can now scan the QR code by pointing the camera at the screen of the person’s phone or wherever the QR code could be hosted (online, WhatsApp Web, etc.)You can also add the QR code without the camera by searching for the image via the gallery.Simply press the gallery button at the bottom left of the Scan Code screen and search for the image shown in step 2. Which shows the QR code in the image.As long as the compatible WhatsApp QR code is placed on the image, you can directly add the contact using a saved image as well.With that added, you can now repeat the process for all the contacts you meet. The feature should go live for all users very soon but for now its a feature exclusive to the Beta users.This will make sharing contact information easy and swift. Especially in places like business events, parties, etc.If you found this guide to be useful, let us know in the comments section below!

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