It’s the digital age, and everything is connected. Smart homes are no longer a vague, nebulous term, but an actual trend gaining traction as you read this blog. At the commercial centerpiece of the modern smart home is, of course, the smart home assistant. After all, it is a lot cheaper than having a flesh-and-blood butler. Google Home Mini and Amazon Echo Dot are two of the most recognized smart speakers on the market. Let’s see how they stack up against each other.
Google Home Mini Vs Amazon Echo Dot
These days you see both these devices available at great prices. There’s a very good reason why those prices are so tempting. Both corporations want a point of entry in your home. Considering the direction home technology is taking, automation and voice assistants will soon become the norm in modern homes. Imagine if every home had a smart speaker, just like every home in my neighborhood has a Spectrum voice service. That is exactly what Amazon and Google are counting on. They anticipate that the demand for smart home devices will increase exponentially, and they want to position themselves to take advantage of that. Here’s how both devices compare to each other in 4 key areas:
- Hardware and Exterior
- Voice Assistant Capability
- Music and Audio
- Calling Ability
Read on for more details.
Hardware and Exterior
The first part of our comparison looks at the exterior, colors, controls, and overall look. As far as size goes, both devices are roughly equivalent. The Home Mini has a set of touch-sensitive controls beneath a fabric dome. The Echo Dot, on the other hand, looks like a hockey puck and has straightforward control buttons on the top. Both devices can virtually fit into any space in your home.
The Home Mini comes in pink, grey, and white, or as Google says, coral, charcoal, and chalk. The Echo Dot is also available in 3 different colors. You can pick colors between off-white, dark grey, and light grey.
Both Echo Dot and Home Mini need a full-time power supply. You can opt for a regular power supply via the Echo Dot’s barrel connector or the Home Mini’s USB cable. Or you can go for a third-party battery bank to keep your device running all the time.
Both manufacturers have made extensive use of extra microphones on these devices. Of course, they still recommend you place the speaker in the room you use the most. But both devices are surprisingly adept at hearing commands from other rooms.
Of course, there is also the privacy angle to consider. It makes many people uncomfortable knowing the speaker is always listening. Which is why both devices come with a function to mute the microphone. It’s a lot easier to mute the microphone on the Echo Dot with a simple push of one of the buttons on top. The Home Mini has a more awkwardly placed mute button at the back, which implies the designers thought people wouldn’t be muting the speaker very often.
Voice Assistant Capability
The respective digital assistant in each device is the real point of comparison. Amazon Alexa, in the Echo Dot, is perhaps the best tool for placing online orders. On the other hand, Google Home is much better when it comes to information requests and general searches. Both devices can control supported smart devices, the list of which keeps expanding.
It all boils down to what you need the smart speaker for. If you plan on ordering regularly from Amazon, the Echo Dot works best. But if you intend to use it for general information, the Home Mini is your choice. Consider how advanced Google Assistant’s voice recognition is. It can understand more complex queries as well as the mixed syntax, something the Echo Home lacks. You can even string multiple commands together with Home Mini.
Music and Audio
Getting a smart speaker but not listening to music is unheard of. Compared to the second-generation Echo Dot, the Home Mini has a much better speaker. But the third-generation Echo Dot has changed the game completely. It allows you to connect to Echo Dots to serve as a right and left stereo speaker. Amazon also offers a subwoofer named Echo Sub in case you want deeper bass sounds. Both the Echo Dot and the Home Mini have Bluetooth capability, allowing them to external speakers. The Echo Dot also features a 3.5mm aux output.
But that’s not to mention the music sources. Google’s Home Mini is the clear winner here. Both devices allow you to stream music from platforms like Pandora and Spotify. Both also have their music services. But Home Mini goes the extra mile and allows you to add your music. Amazon opted to sell tunes rather than let users make their playlists.
The final point of comparison is the two devices’ ability to place phone calls. If you give them the required permissions, both Echo Dot and Home Mini can access the phonebook on your smartphone. This allows them to make calls on command. Google already has something called Duplex in the works. It has already demonstrated the ability to make eerily human-sounding phone calls, and do things like order pizza or make a dentist’s appointment. On the other hand, the Echo Dot can connect to Microsoft Skype and make both audio and video calls.
Both the Amazon Echo Dot and the Google Home Mini are fine examples of a modern smart speaker. However, they do have several limitations, like depending on a steady supply of power, and uninterrupted internet service. I know people who have double-checked their Spectrum internet availability and speeds several times before they opted for a smart speaker. You should do the same, otherwise, you may end up stuck with a gadget you can’t use most of the time. Sound off any points we missed in the comments below.