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Let’s compare who wins: Google Home Mini for $50 or Amazon Echo Dot

Dave SmartierNov 21, 20174 3865 votes +5 rating

Ever since Amazon created the Amazon Echo, the “Siri for the home” voice assistant, every company and its brother has rushed to come up with one almost exactly like it.

Note: The originally posted version of this story referred to the volume ring of the Echo Dot. That was a feature of the first-generation Dot; the current second-generation Dot has volume buttons on the top instead of the ring.

© Author of the article: David Pogue.
© Source: Yahoo Finance

Take, for example, the Amazon Echo Dot. Like the full-size Echo, it responds to your commands and questions from across the room – but it’s a tiny, sawed-off one that costs $50. The only difference is that because you don’t have the big cylinder, the sound quality is tinny. It makes a fantastic second Echo – say, for the upstairs.

Well, now here’s Google with its own version of the Dot, called the Google Home Mini. Also puck-shaped, also $50. (Google will also be releasing the Google Home Max, a beefier version with better sound.)

Google Home Mini vs. Amazon Echo Dot - who wins?The Dot and the Mini are 90% identical. They both work great. Each has a Microphone Off switch, so you can be sure that it’s not listening for its trigger word. Both can now distinguish who is making the request, so that it can respond to commands like “Play my party playlist” and “What’s next on my calendar?” with the right person’s music or info. Both now let you make free speakerphone calls to actual phone numbers (although the Google’s call quality is awful).

User’s comment on a popular website:

If you want home automation, Apples home kit is far superior to Echo/Alexa. If you haven’t tried the Google Home, you should. It’s sounds much richer than the Echo, it can verbally translate, make calls without any extra hardware like Amazon requires, and it can play free no commercial music 24/7. It can also order from Dominos, your local stores as well as Costco, Target and Walmart – all where your find better prices than Amazon. And Walmart gives free 2 day shipping and eBay gives free 3 day shipping Why pay for Prime anymore.

There are, however, a few differences to note.

In this corner: The Google Home Mini.

  • The sound is much better. Neither assistant pod will be mistaken for a concert hall. But there’s no question that Google’s built-in speaker is richer than Amazon’s.
  • It talks to Chromecasts and Android TVs. If you spring $35 for a Chromecast (a little receiver stick that plugs into a modern TV’s USB jack), or if you have a TV that runs Android TV, you can perform a nifty trick. You can say, “Ok Google, show me a video about how to remove contact lenses” or “Show me funny cat videos” or “Show me the trailer for the new Avengers movie,” and it appears on your TV instantly. As you can see in the video above, it’s quite magical.
  • It will someday have a tap-to-talk feature. The top of the Mini is supposed to be touch sensitive. As designed, you could tap it to issue a command (instead of saying “OK Google”), or tap it to pause music. But just as the Home Mini was shipping, a reviewer discovered a bug in which that button thought that it was being pressed all the time, transmitting everything anyone said in the room to Google’s servers. So Google responded by shutting off that top button’s features altogether.

And now, in this corner: The Amazon Echo Dot.

  • Works with more home-automation products, like internet-controlled thermostats, lights, security cameras, and so on. It’s a huge list. Google’s improving on this front, but Amazon’s had a several-year head start.
  • It has an audio output jack. Lots of people love plugging in their nice speakers or sound systems to an Echo Dot, thanks to the standard miniplug on the side (the Google offers nothing similar). That makes it easy to control your music by voice – one of the most luxurious features ever.

User’s comment on a popular website:

I use the Echo because it is much more compatible with other devices and home automation. I have multiple Echo devices and use it together with the Logitech Harmony Hub to cintrol most electronic devices at home. I can turn the TV, sound system and reaction ON and OFF with my voice. I can even tell the TV what channel to play (Directv boxes). I control the Nest thermostat too, and the home automation system I have (Insteon) so I can turn ON and OFF almost every light at home. I can do all that also remotely with my phone if I’m not at home (not through Echo, but using apps). Do I care if what I say at home is heard by a spy? Nope, they will only hear my kids screaming and playing, my cats meowing, my dogs barking, and me and my wife having fun in bed. I don’t care. Welcome to the 21st century.

  • You can see feedback across the room. The Dot’s LED ring glows in different colors and patterns to communicate different things – for example, it glows when it’s transmitting sound back to Amazon. You can see it from the side, and therefore from across the room. The Google’s four LEDs are visible only when you’re looking down on the device, which isn’t nearly as useful.
  • You can order stuff. Of course, this is exactly what Amazon hopes you’ll do, but it’s still cool. “Alexa – order more paper towels.”

If you’re a Google Play subscriber, maybe the convenience of speaking your desires for music tips the balance for you toward the Google Home Mini. (The argument about “Buy a Google Home if you keep your calendar in Google Calendar” doesn’t really hold water, since the Echo can consult or add events to the calendar systems of Google or Apple (AAPL) or Microsoft (MSFT).

User’s comment on a popular website:

Google Home Mini will cost just $29 through the end of 2017. Originally $49, now (discounted) $29 each. Offer valid starting November 23, 2017 through December 31, 2017 while supplies last... Assistant-powered smart speakers are everywhere now and you can buy them in quite a few different form factors. The most compelling, though, has been the small and affordable Google Home Mini, and now it's going to be even more affordable through the end of the year. At $49, the Google Home Mini is something that is an easy "insta-buy" in the company's collection of products. However, with its Black Friday price of $29 with a $10 gift card, it's basically impossible to say no. Unfortunately, many probably missed out on that effective $19 price tag, but there's a silver lining – Google is extending the $29 price point through the end of 2017. Revealed in a promotional e-mail Google is sending out to customers, the $29 price tag that's currently in effect on the Google Store and at most retailers is going to stick around.

Otherwise, though, the Echo Dot is still the better micro-assistant. (Especially when it’s on sale for $40 – for example, on the typical Black Friday, which is in a couple of weeks.)

Both of these devices are delicious enhancements to almost anyone’s home. Over time, you’ll find more and more ways that they’re useful – and for only 50 dollars!

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