Google Nest Mini review: better bass and recycled plastic | Technology

The second generation of the smallest smart speaker from Google receives a new name, greener, a little smarter and lower.

The £ 49 Nest Mini replaces the Google Home Mini as part of a renewed and renowned line of Google smart home products under the Nest brand, pushing its predecessor to a settlement price of only £ 19.

From the outside, it would be difficult to see what has changed. The Nest Mini is glued with the same pincushion design with a fabric upper part and a non-slip rubber pad on the bottom.

The upper part contains three far-field microphones and is sensitive to touch. If music is playing, when approaching the top with one hand, the LEDs illuminate to show the volume and where to play using the presence of ultrasound.



The hidden LEDs light up when you approach the top of the Nest Mini with your hand while the music is playing. Photography: Samuel Gibbs / The Guardian

Touching the left or right edge adjusts the volume, while touching the four center LEDs stops or plays the music.

There is a microphone mute switch on the bottom, as well as a new hole to mount the Nest Mini on a wall.

specs

  • Dimensions: 98mm x 42mm

  • Weight: 181g

  • Connectivity: Wifi ac, Bluetooth 5.0, Chromecast

  • Speakers: a 40 mm driver

The body is made of 35% post-consumer recycled plastic and the top of 100% recycled plastic bottles, which is a step in the right direction.

Nest Mini also has a new built-in faster machine learning chip, which is part of Google’s drive to do more natural language processing locally for better speed and privacy. It also has a new activation word engine, which is designed to prevent accidental activation of the Google Assistant and at the same time allows you to listen to it from the other side of the room.

I certainly noticed a reduction in accidental activations on a smart screen similar to the recently launched Google Nest Hub Max. The less intelligent speakers are activated, the less likely there is that they inadvertently capture the discourse that they would rather they did not.

Sound improved

Google Nest Mini Review



A more rounded sound makes the Nest Mini a surprisingly pleasant listening, even if you can’t fill a room. Photography: Samuel Gibbs / The Guardian

Google has also updated the speaker, which it says produces twice as many powerful bass. It certainly has a little more strength at the low end and a more rounded sound than the Home Mini.

The voices are clear, the Google Assistant sounds great and the details just start to get lost a little at maximum volume.

It’s still a small speaker and can’t produce a real sound that fills the room, but it’s pretty good for what it is: I enjoyed hearing it more than I expected.

The Google Assistant natively supports the playback of music from Spotify, YouTube Music, Google Play Music, Deezer, BBC and other radio stations in the United Kingdom. You can also Chromecast in the Nest Mini or use it as a Bluetooth speaker, which worked well from Android devices and iPhones.

Google Assistant

Google Nest Mini Review



The Nest Mini listens to your keywords “Hey Google” or “OK ​​Google” unless you move the microphone mute switch aside. Photography: Samuel Gibbs / The Guardian

Google’s voice assistant continues to lead the package in terms of understanding and ability of natural language.

Teach your voice and you can distinguish between users, providing personalized results extracted from the information in your Google account, such as your calendar.

It will answer most questions, set timers and everything you would expect from a voice assistant in 2020, including control of the most common smart home devices, such as lights.

Google recently released a male voice for Assistant in the UK, allowing users to change it from the default female voice per account. However, the United Kingdom still lags behind the US. UU. In his choice of voices.

Price

Google Nest Mini costs £ 49 and is available in four colors: chalk, coal, coral and sky. It is also often discounted at £ 34 or less.

In comparison, the Google Home Mini costs £ 19, the Google Home costs £ 49, Google Home Max costs £ 199, the Nest Hub costs £ 119, the Nest Hub Max costs £ 199 and Amazon’s Echo Dot costs £ 24.

Verdict

Google Nest Mini is a future-proof update rather than a radical change. Sure, it sounds a little better, the controls have been improved and the wall mounting is nice.

But it is the enhanced machine learning chip that is the actual update, and is likely to be of greater benefit as we increasingly change the processing of our voices to local devices rather than to Google’s servers. It is faster and better for privacy.

Therefore, the Nest Mini remains an excellent smart speaker that gives the dominant Amazon Echo Dot a very good run for its money.

Just don’t buy it at full price, since you are likely to have a frequent and high discount as with your predecessor.

Pros: good sound for the money, wall mount, recycled plastic, Google Assistant, Bluetooth 5.0, native BBC radio playback

Cons: There is no 3.5mm input, privacy concerns of a smart speaker, not a sound that fills the room

Google Nest Mini Review



The rubber bottom prevents the Nest Mini from sliding on the surfaces or there is a mounting hole to fix it to the wall. Photography: Samuel Gibbs / The Guardian

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