Google Home vs.Google Home Mini

Which is right for you?

Google Home and Google Home Mini are part of Google's legacy lineup of smart speakers. In October 2019, Google replaced the Home models with the Nest Mini. If you still have the older devices or are looking to buy used models, here's a comparison of Google Home and Google Home Mini.

Google Home vs Google Home Mini

Overall Findings

Google Home
  • Tuned for music.

  • Customization options.

  • 5.6 inches tall.

Google Home Mini
  • Tuned for voice.

  • Limited customization options.

  • 1.6 inches tall.

The choice between Google Home and Google Home Mini comes down to a few characteristics: sound quality, customization options, and size. Google Assistant is the same on both smart speakers.

Sound: Google Home Has an Obvious Edge

Google Home
  • 2-inch driver and dual 2-inch passive radiators.

  • Impressive sound quality for a small device.

Google Home Mini
  • Single 1.6-inch speaker.

  • Google Assistant is easy to hear and understand.

The biggest difference between the Google Home and the Google Home Mini is the sound they produce. The Google Home Mini is primarily a voice-enabled assistant for your home; the larger Google Home is designed to add music to the equation. In our opinion, Google Home's better speaker is worth its higher price.

The Controls: Google Home's Fun Controls Win

Google Home
  • Several touch controls for volume, play/pause, and asking questions.

  • As you adjust the volume, the top of the Home lights up to show the volume level.

  • Touch controls don't work as well as buttons.

Google Home Mini
  • Glitch at launch led Google to disable some touch controls.

  • The controls are awkward compared to Google Home's smooth touch controls.

  • The lack of buttons gives Home Mini a sleek look.

Google put a fun spin on the smart speaker by including touch controls on the Google Home and the Google Home Mini.

The controls on top of the Google Home allow you to perform gestures such as moving your finger clockwise to turn the volume up or counterclockwise to turn it down. Tap the top of the speaker to play or pause music, and hold your finger down to ask Google Assistant a question without prefacing it with "Hey Google" or "OK Google." The Google Home touch controls might be gimmicky, but they work well.

The Google Home Mini was designed to have a touch control on the top, too, but a glitch that caused the Mini to inadvertently record everything it heard forced Google to disable the functionality. The Google Home Mini still allows you to control the volume by touching the sides of the speaker, and if you hold your finger on the side of the speaker, it acts as a play/pause button.

Aesthetics: It's a Tie

Google Home
  • Customization options to match decor.

  • Metal bases look fantastic.

  • Can change the color of only the base.

Google Home Mini
  • Comes in chalk, charcoal, or coral.

  • No customization options after purchase.

  • Smaller size fits in places the Google Home can't.

The obvious difference between the Google Home and the Home Mini is size, but there are a few other differences in appearance.

The Google Home stands 5.6 inches tall and comes with a mesh base that is designed to be easily replaced. Google sells a coral fabric base and metal bases in carbon and copper.

The smaller Google Home Mini is only 1.6 inches tall, and while slightly wider than the Home, the difference is minimal (3.86 inches versus 3.79 inches).

The Google Home has more customization options, but the Home Mini looks cooler.

Google Home Mini in Coral


Google Assistant: The Same on Both Devices

Google Assistant is exactly the same on both smart speakers. Google Assistant ties into the knowledge graph used by the Google search engine, which makes it the best smart speaker interface this side of IBM Watson for answering questions.

Here are a few things you can do with Google Assistant:

  • Ask questions ranging from "What are the best pizza places in Dallas?" to "Why do cats have fur?"
  • Play Music from Google Play, YouTube Music, Spotify, Pandora, and other streaming music services.
  • Add events to your Google Calendar.
  • Place phone calls.
  • Control your home through compatible smart devices

Final Verdict

Google Home is the better buy, particularly if you are going to listen to music. If you mainly will be asking Google Assistant questions, controlling your smart home devices, or shopping, the Google Home Mini saves you a little money.

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