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Google Nest Mini review

Google Nest Mini is the affordable smart speaker that lets you control your connected home in more rooms

Google Nest Mini
(Image: © Google)

Our Verdict

The Google Nest Mini is the follow-up to the Home Mini, bringing wall mounting, better sustainability, enhanced sound quality, more microphones and better touch controls. This is a big jump forward without the price jump to go with it.

For

  • Wall mountable
  • More sustainable
  • Enhanced bass
  • Affordable

Against

  • Still never going to be your main speaker
  • No 3.5mm audio jack

The Google Nest Mini is the best compact smart speaker from the company, making improvements on the previous generation of the Home Mini. For the still-low price you get Google Assistant only now with a few extras added in.

Google Nest Mini: What you need to know

  • $35 price
  • Wall mountable
  • Enhanced audio

The Google Nest Mini is the next generation of compact smart assistant speaker to follow on from the Home Mini and, to look at, they're very similar. But there are differences in this slight evolution of the puck-shaped material covered speaker.

While the price remains super low Google has added new features like the ability to wall mount, better touch controls, enhanced voice recognition and even better bass. This has all been done while also making the production process more sustainable.

All that means you can get Google Assistant for controlling your smart home, asking questions and playing music using your voice alone.

Google Nest Mini: Design and build

  • Three mics
  • No 3.5mm output
  • Four color options

The Nest Mini does look like its predecessor with that puck shaped design and fabric outer masking lights in the top. Only now you also have a button on the side to physically mute the microphone. On the top you no longer tap the sides randomly to adjust volume but, thanks to an ultrasound sensor, the device lights up dots either end of the top of the speaker for you to tap when your hand is detected near. 

The bottom has also had an upgrade in the form of a screw mountable hole. This allows you to easily wall mount the Nest Mini. It certainly looks cool enough to be wall mounted and if you can either hide the cable or get it perfectly straight this could work as an attractive room feature. 

There isn't a 3.5mm audio out so using a larger speaker, made smart by attaching this, isn't an option like it is with the Amazon Echo Dot. Although, unlike that, this has four color options to suit your home.

The insides of the Nest Mini are seemingly the same as the Home Mini with a 40mm driver that gives 360-degree sound. Only this time Google has managed to eek out double the amount of bass. 

Google has added a microphone from the two mic toting Home Mini. Now with three microphones, the Nest Mini is able to pick up voices better than ever.

One of the great things about this compact speaker is that Google has worked to make it environmentally more sustainable than its previous efforts. Now recycled water bottles are used to create the top layer while the rest is made from 35 percent recycled materials. 

Google Nest Mini: Features

  • Touch controls
  • Google Assistant

The stand out feature on this compact speaker is Google Assistant, which is Google's artificially intelligent helper. This is super smart and always learning and improving. As such you can ask questions or deal out commands in a pretty conversational way and it'll understand you right away. As such searching for things like the weather or journey times is a doddle, as is checking your calendar or setting alerts. Then, of course, you can ask it anything else and Google will answer.

Beyond that, this assistant is a gateway to your smart home, allowing you to control it with voice. So from smart lights to thermostats, it can all be managed from here - presuming it's Google friendly hardware. Thanks to Google Home Routines you can also group actions so saying things like "Ok Google, night time" will turn off the heating and lighting all at once if you like.

Google Nest Mini: Performance

  • Triple mic listening works well
  • Enhanced bass audio

The bass has definitely been enhanced here with a new quality of sound that makes voices much clearer to hear and easier to understand as a result. This isn't going to replace your main sound system but for the size it does produce some impressive audio making it great for occasional listening in a room otherwise without speakers.

The addition of a third microphone also helps as you can now be heard even when talking quietly. Also, when music is loud, you don't have to shout quite so crazily to be heard in order to turn it down again. Not that this devices goes that loud without distortion, to be fair. 

The Google Assistant is so smart now you'll struggle to find anything it can't understand, even obscure band names seem to get picked up. Another advantage of going team Google is that you can ask something, like the weather, then follow-up with something like "and tomorrow?" and it will know contextually what you're talking about. 

Should I buy the Google Nest Mini?

If you want a good looking and decent sounding little smart speaker to control your smarthome and answer questions this is a well designed and top performing option. 

But if you want something with more punch, that can be used as a music speaker, you're better off going larger.

If wall mounting is something you're planning, and getting these all over your house is the idea, this is a simple to install and affordable option to make your whole home voice controlled. 

Google Nest Mini: Verdict

The Google Nest Mini is a great jump forward from the Home Mini. It adds better touch and voice controls as well as enhanced audio with better bass. This is done while keeping the price low, being more sustainable and with a better than ever Google Assistant as the brain.

For the price this is a really impressive compact speaker but for those that want a clock too the Amazon Echo Dot with Clock may offer more.