Review | Google Nest Mini: Louder, smarter, cuter

Mala Bhargava | Updated on: Dec 06, 2021

Google Nest Mini

New features and better sound come to this little smart speaker

It looks like a puffed up macaroon and in some colours good enough to eat. But the device that arrived recently turns out to be Google’s Nest Mini, an upgrade to the Home Mini smart speaker.

Google has made all sorts of tweaks and additions to this home for the Google Assistant, one that speaks Hindi apart from other skills.

The Nest Mini is roughly the size of a doughnut - the ones without a hole. It’s covered with an environment-friendly fabric. You can set it down anywhere as it’s small and in Charcoal and Chalk should be barely noticeable. I was lucky enough to see a Coral version but that colour doesn’t seem to be available in India, along with the Sky blue. Underneath the device you’ll see a notch which you can use to wall-mount the speaker, though the cable will obviously dangle, looking less neat than if you were to put it up on a wall. These speakers don’t run on batteries, so there’s no choice but to plug them in. Still, there are spaces where you may not want to set it down and for that the provision is useful.

There’s a cute circular plug to go with the rounded shape of the Nest Mini. It’s nice and clean white and shouldn’t stand out too much if your wall is white as well. But the other end is a plug that’s specific to the Nest Mini so you won’t be able to get it anywhere else but from Google if it’s damaged.

Setting up the Nest Mini is dead easy and takes a mere few minutes. If you already have Google products set up, it’s even easier, but if not, what you need to do is download the Google Home app on your Android or iOS device. Your Android device will even enter your Google ID and possibly your Wi-Fi depending on what permissions you’ve given. In any case, on-screen instructions will get the setup done in a few steps.

Loud and clear

A device as small as the Nest Mini should probably focus on only being a smart speaker. But Google has improved the sound quality and sheer volume on this gadget, making it possible to also use it to listen to music as long as you’re happy with a hum-along song or background music.

More demanding listeners will need to look elsewhere or connect the Nest Mini to another speaker. You can connect it via ‘Bluetooth’ or to something else or even group it with others of its kind. If you have grouped speakers, you can ask Google to move the music or podcasts from one speaker to the group with a voice command.

The Mini is really loud for its size. You can tinker with the bass, treble and mids via the app. The bass is now 60-100 Hz at maximum volume, according to Google. The Nest Mini has hit the right note with its tagline: Mini but Mighty. Again, cute. The sources for music include Google Play Music and of course - YouTube. Spotify also works as does Amazon Prime Music, if you cast from your device to the speaker. Local services like JioSaavn, Gaana and Wynk are also supported by the device. You can also make Google Duo calls to others who are using the Duo app.

Smart speaker smartened

There are quite a few smart things this smart speaker does, other than the usual Google answers. It also controls lights and other smart home devices. It senses the amount of noise around and can adjust the volume accordingly when you ask a question. That way you will be sure to hear it.

If your device is connected to a TV, the volume of the TV will also reduce when you talk to the Assistant.

Its Machine Learning feature allows it to learn your commands and gives you faster-than-ever responses.

This feature will come soon to the Indian devices. As you move closer to the Nest Mini, its lights will turn on to help guide you while controlling the device. Other smart touches include the flipping of controls to make it more convenient when you wall-mount the speaker.

You can do all the usual “Google things” with the Nest Mini, but it has been priced higher than the Amazon Echo Dot, its direct competitor.

Price: Rs 4,499

Pros: Minimalistic cute design, smart features, clear, great sound or its size

Cons: More expensive than it should be

Published on November 25, 2019
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