In recent years, technology has become one of the most impactful factors that affect our daily life. There have been recent trends such as making devices and various equipment as sleek and minimalistic as possible. Ideally, the function should still be taken as a top priority to keep productivity at a constant rate.
Google has been one of the companies that have led to this new movement of technology that is being implemented in our homes. To no surprise, Google designed a program where you set up Google equipment into your home that functions as a personal assistant, with the convenience of having them at the tip of your fingers.
So far, the company’s two most successful products in-home assistance is the Google Home Mini and the Google Nest Mini. The original, Google Home Mini was released in October of 2017, while the later version, the Google Nest Mini, came out in the same month of October but in the year 2019.
When considered, the Google Nest Mini is an upgrade to the original Google Home Mini, but many people still find trouble with deciding upon either of these two products. Even though the Google Nest Mini came out with some great new features, the original Google Home Mini still stands out as one of the most reliable and popular google assistant devices on the market.
So, which of the two options should you buy? And what are the major differences between the Google Home Mini and the Google Nest Mini? This in-depth guide aims to answer those questions, which covers all the important factors that heavily impact both devices—highlighting the pros and cons of each device.
Table of Contents
How We Started
Something very important when considering to purchase a smart speaker is for you to decide the exact purpose that you want your device to serve. This is because not everyone has the same needs, making for a much more personalized smart assistant experience. If what you need is something limited to just playing music or watching tv, maybe even surfing the web, then any basic smart-speaker should be sufficient.
Something with integrated Bluetooth and Wi-fi should be good since you’ll be needing them to control your home and its various devices. From home security to lighting, and even appliances, you must ensure that the smart speaker is also compatible with your auxiliary systems, along with having your smart refrigerator speak the same language as your smart-speaker.
To give a definitive and simple to follow comparison of the Google Home Mini and the Google Nest Mini devices, we put each of them to the test, finding out the range of various factors and learning about the unique features that are found in each model.
When going for a smart-speaker device, people often have different ideas and goals set in mind—having different factors to prioritize. Some might primarily look for a device that offers better microphones to ensure that the device understands whatever they are saying, or maybe even the different controls that allow the user to more easily navigate through the said device.
Regardless of what features you are looking for in your next device, you should be able to find out all the necessary information you need throughout this guide—which covers everything from flexibility depending on placement, sustainability: since the materials used are a huge factor to make such programs affordable while at the same time upholding durability, and so on.
The Google Home Mini and the Google Nest Mini both in contrast have their advantages and disadvantages to consider. With some major differences that separate one from the other, this guide should help anyone struggling between the two models and learn their differences.
Similarities and Differences
To begin with, if you take just a quick look at a Google Home Mini put in place next to a Google Nest Mini, you might struggle to notice the differences between the features and specs of these smart-speaker devices. They have very minor changes in design, making them look almost identical to the untrained eye.
They feature a lot of the same technology as well—both of them give a reasonably similar Google-assist experience. They both have more than one microphone installed, claiming that it would allow them to respond to voice faster. They also have similar speaker technology but with one design a bit more appealing than the other device, and so on.
With the number of similarities that they have, are there any major differences worth considering between the Google Home Mini and the Google Nest Mini? Of course, there are—when we go deeper under the surface of these models, we’ll be able to start seeing the major differences that set one apart from the other.
In 2017, Google launched the original Home Mini, which harnesses the smart technology of Google Assistant in a compact and sleek form, which makes it fairly cheap as a hub for your smart home—it can also act like any normal speaker.
The Google Nest Mini is an apparent upgrade over its predecessor in a lot of various ways. The Google Nest Mini comes with a stronger, more durable design—Google also claims that the Nest Mini is their most affordable smart-speaker, and while Google Home Mini looks very similar there are a couple of major differences between them. Despite the overall upgrades though, it’s also worth noting that they are roughly the same price.
Continue reading to learn more about the importance of their differences, unique features, and the factors that are worth considering.
Design and Build Quality
At the peak of its popularity, Google Home Mini still had its fair share of problems. They were known to have poor audio quality—which was then corrected in the Google Nest Mini by improving the speaker quality, making for a generally better home-use experience.
The finished product came out to be on an entry-level smart speaker, but not entirely at the same level as any mid-tier speakers in the market. But what makes it good is that its low cost and the factor that its sound quality is quite a bit better makes it a great starting point for any people who are only starting to get into the smart-home/voice-control fad.
To compare, how does the new model perform compared to its predecessor? And so, the two smart speakers were tested.
Taking design into consideration, there isn’t any major difference between the two smart-speakers—they’re still the same size and shape. They also sport the same fabric grille and 4-LED display. However, the new Google Nest Mini’s fabric grille is redesigned with entirely new material, using recycled plastic bottles. Also, most of the external surface areas are claimed by Google to be made of at least 35% post-consumer recycled plastic.
Unlike its predecessor, the Google Nest Mini has integrated wall-mounts, making it a great way to design your home as well as make it accessible to all of your smart gadgets.
The original Google Home Mini was released in only four limited colors, Aqua, Chalk, Charcoal, and Coral. It’s upgraded version, the Google Nest Mini, offers the same colors but with additional new colors, Sky and Sand.
Another new feature added to the Google Nest Mini that wasn’t in the Google Home Mini is its current ultrasound technology—a feature that makes the LEDs light up as it senses you approaching the speaker, helping you see the volume buttons. Google claims that this technology is done by its speakers that emit tiny inaudible chirps, bouncing off of objects that are within its proximity, and then reflecting into its microphones that then tell the device if someone is nearby.
The sound quality was never a focal point of the Google Home Mini—but with being a desk buddy, its audio works well enough that it can maintain and serve its purpose. The Google Home Mini has the option of having a 40mm driver inserted, but it’s not exactly going to impress you with any powerful bass/lows.
Google claimed in 2017 that the Google Home Mini would feature both high-quality audio quality along with the all-new 360-degree sound that would’ve greatly helped it with sending messages throughout your home, however, the promises weren’t kept due to budget reasons. Despite the major setback, the Google Home Mini could still give a fairly loud output.
Google now claims that the newer version, the Google Nest Mini, would have twice the bass power offered by its predecessor. Coming with a newer and fresher sound, Google announced that the sound quality would give “a richer and more natural sound that allows you to hear more detail, and is authentic to the artist’s intent”. With Google making such bold claims, they’re sure to have made the Google Nest Mini with the intent of giving it the best possible quality regardless of the fairly reasonable price.
With the upgrades done to the Google Nest Mini, the boosted bass quality is immensely improved and even made possible by using a 40mm driver that is designed to bring low bass frequencies into the open, and along with the company’s “proprietary” tuning software, greatly helps with creating what is considered to be the “perfect sound” when streaming music with strong lows.
Through various tests, it has been found out that the audio quality that would be offered by the Google Nest Mini was reasonably average. Even though it’s considerably better than the old Google Home Mini for its great clarity that would be great for speech reproduction (Especially important for when you want to watch a good movie, or even when listening to podcasts.
Despite its great quality for speaking imitation, smart speakers are generally considered to be not doing too well when it comes to playing music, especially when dealing with music with particularly high highs and difficult to reach low bass ranges. It will surely surprise you though when testing how loud it can get. The only issue with that is because it has the potential to fatigue when it couldn’t catch up with the treble, and you’ll experience a weaker tone of bass that doesn’t make for the greatest sound experience when listening to the comfort of your favorite songs.
Overall, the newer Google Nest Mini comes out with the apparent advantage when it comes to sound quality. It’s been said that both the Google Home Mini and the Google Nest Mini are generally loudspeakers. However, with the Google Nest Mini, there’s the added feature of improved bass playing performance, along with the improved 360-degree that boasts of improved spatial sound rendering.
Common and Unique Features
To clarify, both the Google Nest Mini and its predecessor, Google Home Mini, are powered by Google Assistant—making it apparent that they’ll have many of the same features.
If you home has many smart-technology appliances such as Wi-Fi controlled robot vacuums or even a luxurious smart refrigerator, then Google Assistant gives you the power to be able to control any of these smart home devices—you can do even do it hands-free, with complete control thanks to the amazing smart technology that allows Google to use your voice to take in instructions.
There are a lot of useful actions that the Google Assistant can do, with the powerful voice assistant being able to do anything like answering any general knowledge questions—with your voice, you can ask it about whether pizzas are pies or if they’re open-faced sandwiches, at the convenience of your leisure.
The voice-assisted smart technology is getting smarter all the time, it uses an artificial intelligence base to learn and adapt to the user’s needs, making it a growing and improving set of equipment. Because of the constant improvement, it should generally become more useful with every day that passes. For example, with the smart voice assistant, you can utilize it to check your emails and calendar appointments with ease and comfort.
Overall, the voice control feature is accessible for both the Google Home Mini and the Google Nest Mini, so this should be a draw since there’s no notable difference.
There’s also a variety of actions that the Google Assistant can do depending on their location. In the US, both the Google Home Mini and the Google Nest Mini can make calls for free. This feature was only recently just got available in the UK, along with the feature of streaming music through an array of music playing apps, such as Pandora, Spotify, YouTube Music, and iHeartRadio among many others.
With updates coming into Google Assistant, both the Home Mini and the Nest Mini can now send requests to search for videos on YouTube and played them over on your Chromecast-enabled smart TV. You could also control various other internet-controlled devices such as turning on smart light, toggling on your smart security cameras, and many more. There’s also a newer featured implemented into the Google Nest Mini where you can pause and play music when you tap on the top of the speaker.
Considering that their software functions are similar, we have to take a look at the other features that set one over the other. This is where the Google Nest Mini takes the lead with its new pause and play feature, making for more fun and engaging experience.
Something new on the Google Nest Mini (Along with other Nest smart speakers and various devices), is the feature that allows the device to be used as an intercom, giving you the power to speak to anyone within the walls of your house using your phone, or even with another Nest speaker.
The newer Google Nest Mini has also been updated to support Bluetooth 5, making for a much more stable Bluetooth connection. This is especially important for when you’re playing music wirelessly with your device, the added improvement helps eliminate most problems that come with Bluetooth tethering.
The Google Nest Mini easily takes the point—having the upgraded support that allows it to communicate with other Nest speakers is a huge plus the factors that affect your purchasing decisions. However, the Google Nest Mini also takes another point for the updated Bluetooth 5 support, this feature helps ensure that your connections are kept safe from disruptions. Both points make the Google Nest Mini the blaring winner in this category.
Price and Availability
What made the Google Home Mini a device that everyone wanted to have was its relatively low price. With it being sold at the price of $49, it’s easily one of the most consistently affordable smart speakers that can be found in the market. Throughout its time on the market though, its price got even cheaper—at one point, you could even buy a Google Home Mini at an incredible steal of $19—however, this is an outrageously cheap price that’s become rather difficult to find since the Google Nest Mini was launched.
A notable thought is that the Google Nest Mini costs the same as the Google Home Mini’s recommended retail price. The upgrades on the Google Nest Mini didn’t even blow the prices up, they can be bought at the relatively cheap price of $30 since discounts are done routinely. This a great advantage since you wouldn’t be needing to pay extra money to get the premium-experience you’ll be having thanks to the newer Google Assistant speaker.
Having been sold at the same price as its predecessor, the Google Nest Mini once again takes the lead. Its premium features that weren’t even available at the time of the Google Home Mini’s release are what truly makes the device worth it, considering that the price never changed despite the obvious improvements with their build and features.
Who Should Get This?
Google Home Mini
The original Google Home Mini is surely lacking some important features, especially when compared to the newer smart-speakers like the Google Nest Mini, however, it doesn’t take away from the fact that the Google Home Mini is still a very solid, reliable, and well-made smart-speaker that still has a lot to offer, after all, it is the smart-speaker that started it all.
When it was launched back in 2017, it was widely considered to be a huge step in home technology, especially with its reasonably cheap price. There weren’t even any other smart-speaker systems that existed back then. For anyone who’s looking for a light, compact, and cheap smart speaker, they should find a lot to like about the Google Home Mini—especially because it holds history in it for being the first one to have been released.
It may not have all the new features and upgrades that the newer Nest models have, but it’s still a respectable little device that can be recommended to those who can find it in stores or even second hand. Not everyone requires all the latest features and upgrades anyway, and its affordability can factor into that.
Google Nest Mini
The Google Nest Mini takes in everything that made the original Google Home Mini a great deal and adds so much more to it. The design has been significantly improved with its built-in wall-mounts that its predecessor didn’t have. Not only is it more sustainable, but it also has other great features that the original wasn’t able to implement.
Maybe not all of the added features are paramount to its success, but considering that the Google Nest Mini is the same price as the older Google Home Mini, makes it a huge factor that affects purchasing decisions.
A feature that truly shines when considering the predecessor’s weaknesses is the newer and improve capabilities of the Google Nest Mini’s sound. The sound quality has ban massively improved, now being able to catch all those lows and bassy sounds, making for a completely new music experience.
When all is considered, both the Google Home Mini and Nest Mini are two very good smart-speakers that have a lot to offer. With the older Google Home Mini serving as a great intro to smart-speakers, and the newer Google Nest Mini with its upgraded features. Which one gets our approval?
Our Pick: Google Nest Mini
All in all, the Google Nest Mini is recommended to whoever wants a modern smart-speaker with the affordability and function of something worth way more. The clear winner in this side to side comparison is the newer Google Nest Mini. With its additional new features for its cheap price, the Google Nest Mini is unrivaled when it comes to cheap smart-speakers.