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Google Home Mini vs Nest Mini: Should you upgrade?

Google Home Mini launched in 2017, receiving generally positive consumer feedback but with a few noticeable faults. Two years later, Google revealed the second-generation model of its Home Mini device. Featuring some revamps and improvements, the new product was branded as the Google Nest Mini.

With that in mind, if you’re buying a Google smart speaker, which of these two devices is the better option? Equally important, if you already have a Google Home Mini device, should you upgrade to the second-generation Nest Mini? Read this Google Home Mini vs Nest Mini article to learn how these two devices compare.

Google Home Mini vs Nest Mini – Product Intro

FeaturesGoogle Home MiniNest Mini
Weight173g (6.1 oz)180g (6.3 oz)
Dimensions3.9″ x 3.9″ x 1.6″3.9″ x 3.9″ x 1.6″
Color OptionsCharcoal, Coral, ChalkCharcoal, Coral, Chalk, Sky
Number of Microphones23
Speaker Type360-degree sound with 40 mm driver360-degree sound with 40 mm driver
Stereo Sound SupportYesYes
Mute ButtonYesYes
Wall MountableNoYes

Google Home Mini

Google Home Mini 1st Gen
Google Home Mini 1st Gen

The Google Home Mini is an excellent smart speaker if you’re looking to get into the world of smart home gadgets. It’s cheap but has several fantastic features that provide incredible value overall. Let’s go over the major advantages and disadvantages of the Google Home Mini speaker:

Pros:

  • Significantly cheaper than its initial price
  • Solid build and good color options
  • Convenient micro-USB cable
  • Superb speaker for Google Assistant

Cons:

  • Bass is very weak
  • Not wall-mountable

Nest Mini

Google Nest Mini 2nd Gen
Google Nest Mini 2nd Gen

There’s no arguing that the Nest Mini is a significant improvement of the first-generation Google Home Mini. It delivers better sound quality and several user-friendly features lacking in the previous model. Here’s a closer look at the biggest pros and cons of the Nest Mini:

Pros:

  • Very well-balanced sound profile
  • Includes a built-in wall mount
  • Has an additional microphone for better listening
  • Top buttons automatically illuminate

Cons:

  • Slightly more expensive
  • Comes with a proprietary power cable

Google Home Mini vs Nest Mini: Features Face to Face

Google Home Mini vs Nest Mini Features Comparison
Google Home Mini vs Nest Mini Features Comparison

Design and Build Quality

In terms of design, the Google Home Mini and the Nest Mini don’t differ in any significant aspect. They are exactly the same size and shape. They also feature the same style of fabric and an identical four-LED display at the center of the speaker. 

Both devices feature capacitive touch controls. That said, the Nest Mini also comes with ultrasound technology. This design characteristic means that its LEDs light up as you approach the speaker, allowing you to see the volume buttons more clearly when audio is playing.

Looking at the available color options of these two models, the Nest Mini offers you slightly more alternatives. To be more specific, the Google Home Mini speaker is available in Charcoal, Chalk, and Coral. The last color option was a Google Store exclusive, while the Google Home Mini was still available there. By comparison, the Nest Mini is available in Charcoal, Chalk, Coral, and Sky colors. 

The Google Home Mini speaker is made of a non-skid silicone base and a durable fabric top. Additionally, the device’s plastic housings are created using recycled material. In comparison, the Nest Mini’s fabric top is made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. 

Moreover, the entire external enclosure of the Nest Mini speaker is made with at least 35% of post-consumer recycled plastic. In this sense, the Nest Mini is equally sturdy as the Google Home Mini but features a more environmentally friendly manufacturing process.

Controls

Google Home Mini and Nest Mini both offer you the option to control your speaker by touch or by voice. You can use touch controls to adjust the volume, stop a ringing alarm, play or pause media, and do several other general tasks. When it comes to voice control options, the options offered with each device are much more diverse. We’ll cover them in a separate section later.

Although these two devices are very similar in features and supported touch control options, they have different control settings. Fortunately, Google provides detailed control input on adjusting different features on both the Google Home Mini and the Nest Mini by touch.

Hardware

Comparing the two speakers’ hardware, the Nest Mini comes with a more powerful processor. The Nest Mini uses a quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 processor, while the Google Home Mini comes with a dual-core ARM Cortex-A7 processor.

With this in mind, the Google Home Mini speaker has one hardware advantage over the Nest Mini. The Nest Mini requires more energy to power its more sophisticated sound drivers. The Nest Mini draws about 15W of power, significantly more than the 4W the Google Home Mini uses. More importantly, the Nest Mini comes with a proprietary power cable.

This is a very poor choice of hardware, in our opinion. As the Google Home Mini included a universal micro-USB cable, you could easily swap it up if it gets damaged or you misplace the cable. However, you can’t do so with the proprietary cable that comes with the Nest Mini. Given this, if your Nest Mini cable gets damaged, you’ll have to order the same DC power jack, which is a bit inconvenient.

Smart Home Features and Compatibility

Google works with tens of thousands of smart devices from thousands of different brands. Using Google Assistant through your Google Home Mini or Nest Mini speaker, you can make your home even smarter than you think. Both speakers are equally capable in this regard. You can use them to control your thermostat, dim the lights in your room, lock your doors, or control other accessories. 

Compatibility-wise, there are too many products to list in this article. That said, if you’re wondering what devices and appliances you can control through Google Assistant with the Google Home Mini or the Nest Mini, we recommend exploring Google’s official list of compatible products.

Speakers and Sound

While the Google Home Mini speaker can get fairly loud; it can’t reproduce audio very accurately. Its 40mm driver serves more as a nifty desk speaker than anything else. It has a fairly flat bass and a relatively average audio quality overall. These features disappointed many buyers in 2017, making Google redesign the product and promise to deliver a more powerful performance with its second-generation smart speakers.

And according to the manufacturer, the second-generation Nest Mini speaker packs twice the bass power of its predecessor. Moreover, Google claims that the Nest Mini delivers a more natural sound that allows the listener to hear more audio details. 

This is true to an extent, as the Nest Mini includes a custom 40mm driver specially designed to provide better bass and treble performance. In this regard, the Nest Mini offers better audio performance.

Still, you shouldn’t expect any overly impressive audio properties, even with the Nest Mini. These devices are simply too small to provide a vigorous treble or bass. Considering that, if you’re looking for a more robust smart speaker, you’ll have to look outside of these two mini speaker options. In that case, we recommend reading our Google Nest Audio review.

Additionally, both the Google Home Mini and the Nest Mini allow you to connect two speakers for stereo sound. This is a great way to obtain a more immersive audio experience without overspending on your smart speakers.

Intercom

Another advantage the Nest Mini has over the Google Home Mini speaker is that it enables you to create an intercom system in your household. This ability allows you to talk to your household members using your Nest Mini speaker or your phone. 

This works as a broadcasting feature that plays back your sentences on all household devices. In other words, what you say over your phone or Nest Mini speaker will be broadcast across all Nest Mini devices in your home. Additionally, if you wish to communicate with a specific Nest Mini device, you will have to set up the Google Duo app.

With all of this said, keep in mind that you can’t actually connect the Nest Mini devices directly to each other. Instead, the Nest Mini speakers communicate through the Google Nest service.

Voice Control

Google Assistant
Google Assistant

Both products come with built-in microphones, allowing you to fully utilize all of the handy Google Assistant voice control features. As it has three far-field microphones compared to Google Home Mini’s two far-field microphones, it’s a bit better at picking up voice commands. This doesn’t make a huge difference but might matter more for users who prefer using most smart home devices hands-free with their voice.

When it comes to the specific commands you can give out using Google Assistant, the options are truly impressive. From controlling your smart home and other general voice commands to listening to news headlines and making shopping lists on the go, there are many impressive features you can rely on. 

Applications

Thanks to Google Assistant, Google Home Mini can work with a long list of apps.  Apart from other Google-made apps, these two speakers are compatible with apps like YouTube and Netflix, allowing you to pull up videos to your TV using only your voice, provided you’ve set up the speaker with your TV. Apart from these two major app examples, you can use many everyday apps to make your life easier and more convenient.

Media Playing

In line with the previous part, Google Home Mini and Nest Mini are fantastic for media playing. They work great with many music apps, especially the most popular ones. For example, you can enjoy streaming music, podcasts, and other audio files through Spotify, YouTube Music, Pandora, and many more media playing apps. 

Additionally, you can play music wirelessly from your mobile or tablet device, as both products have Bluetooth. With that said, Nest Mini is a bit better in this regard, as it offers a slightly more stable connection. This is because it supports Bluetooth 5.0, while Google Home Mini supports Bluetooth 4.1. 

Standout Features

As the first-generation model, the Google Home Mini speaker doesn’t have any standout features that could potentially make it a better product than the Nest Mini. In comparison, the Nest Mini has several standout features compared to the Google Home Mini.

The Nest Mini comes with an extra microphone, delivering better listening skills. Additionally, Nest Mini’s top buttons automatically illuminate as you approach it. This is a very user-friendly standout feature, particularly valuable when you’re using the Nest Mini in a dark room or dim environment. Lastly, Nest Mini allows for more convenient setups in your home, as it’s also wall-mountable.

Price

Lastly, even though neither product breaks the bank, it’s crucial to compare the two to see which Google smart speaker offers better value for money. In this regard, the first-generation Google Home Mini is understandably the more affordable choice. For instance, you can get it for $39.99 at Best Buy. That said, this smart speaker isn’t available in the Google Store anymore, as the company focuses on the newer Nest Mini.

With that in mind, the Nest Mini isn’t significantly more expensive. It’s available in the Google Store and costs $49. You can often find good deals for both products. Previously, you could get Google Home Mini for under $20 if you know where to look for the best price reductions. On the other hand, the Nest Mini also sees good discounts regularly, as you can often grab one for around $30. 

Lastly, it’s important to mention that Google Home Mini devices are getting increasingly harder to find, as Google phased out this product in favor of the Nest Mini. So, if you’re thinking of buying this super affordable speaker, don’t delay ordering it.

Conclusion

To sum up this Google Home Mini vs Nest Mini comparison article, we recommend going with the Nest Mini speaker. While the Nest Mini doesn’t deliver substantially better audio and supports the same smart home and voice control features as its Google Home Mini predecessor, it still comes with a few very valuable advantages.

The more capable Bluetooth support, extra microphone, and wall-mount are just some of the most notable advantages. Of course, there’s also the new ultrasound technology. Considering this, the $10 price difference isn’t much for the extra features you’re getting with the Nest Mini. 

That said, if you already own a Google Home Mini, paying full price for a Nest Mini isn’t necessary, as the upgrade is not worth purchasing a new speaker.

About Nathan

Hello! I'm Nate. I work for an internet company during the week, so you'll probably see me on here jabbering about the internet and building websites, which is my main side hobby.

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