HomePod mini vs. Nest Audio: Which Smart Speaker Should You Buy?

Apple and Google face off in the smart speaker market

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HomePod mini vs. Nest Audio
 Lifewire

The announcement of the HomePod mini made Apple the latest company to bring an affordable smart speaker to market, joining its main competitor the Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen), and the new Google Nest Audio. With both the HomePod min and the Nest Audio being relative newcomers to the product space Amazon has dominated for a while now, we’ve put together an overview of how each device stacks up. Read on to see how they compare when it comes to design, sound quality, smart features, and price. 

If you have an older Google Home device, you should also take a look at our comparison of the Nest Audio to the older Google Home.

Apple HomePod mini Google Nest Audio
Compact circular design Large pill-sized shape
Full-range driver and dual passive radiators 75mm woofer and 19mm tweeter
Uses Siri and Apple HomeKit for smart integration Uses Google Assistant for broad smart integrations
Can connect with other Airplay devices and apps Can connect with other Nest devices
Supports all major music streaming services Supports all major music streaming services

Design 

The HomePod mini and Nest Audio look nothing alike. The HomePod mini is compact, circular, and features a colorful touch interface on the top. It measures just 3.9 inches wide and 3.3 inches high, and weighs 0.76 pounds. It won’t look amiss on your kitchen countertop, TV stand, bookshelf, or anywhere else you decide to put it. Currently, the color options are White and Space Gray, but it’s possible that Apple may roll out other options in the future. 

iPhone held next to white HomePod Mini
Apple

The Nest Audio, by contrast, is more of an oval or a super-sized pill. It measures 3.07 inches wide and 4.89 inches tall, dwarfing the HomePod mini. It weighs a relatively hefty 2.65 pounds, and it’s big enough that you may not be able to comfortably fit it in some places. The design is fairly muted in other regards. It comes in friendly fabric-wrapped colors like Chalk, Charcoal, Sage, Sand, and Sky so there’s nothing that will clash with your decor. 

Nest Audio
 Lifewire

The Nest Audio doesn’t have much in the way of physical controls aside from a 2-stage mic mute switch and three areas for capacitive touch controls. Having a hardware mute is a nice feature for privacy, but there isn’t any other visual interface like on the HomePod mini. You do get a set of four LED lights on the front that show up to indicate that the speaker is active though. 

Sound Quality 

As smart speakers, both the HomePod mini and Nest Audio have respectable audio chops, but it’s the latter that’s really oriented toward being a dedicated speaker with the smart features as more of an afterthought. The Nest Audio features a 75mm woofer and 19mm tweeter. It also boasts three far-field microphones to pick up voice commands from multiple places in a room and cut through background noise.

Google also has some clever AI features built-in, allowing to Nest Audio to dynamically adjust audio for optimal performance. It benefits from having a quad-core A53 processor clocked a 1.8GHz along with a high-performance ML hardware engine. 

White HomePod Mini set up on kitchen table with family nearby
Apple 

By comparison, the HomePod mini’s smaller size means that it has a smaller woofer and tweeter. It has a full-range driver and dual passive radiators for deeper bass and crisper high frequencies. There’s also a lot of clever things backed in on the software end with 360-degree sound and computational audio for real-time tuning. Despite all this, the sound from the Nest Audio is going to be more robust and room-filling, especially when it comes to bass.

Smart Features and Connectivity

Neither speakers are lacking in smart home control options. The HomePod mini comes with Siri built-in, which is Apple’s voice assistant. It doesn’t have as much integration with other platforms compared to Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, but it’ll still work with any devices that work with the HomeKit ecosystem. You can ask the HomePod mini questions, check m messages on your phone, and connect various smart home devices like light switches, bulbs, and others. The HomePod mini can additionally pair with another unit, giving you a stereo setup for more robust audio than a single device. It supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0.

Google's Nest Audio resting next to a couch
Google

Nest Audio comes with Google Assistant, and it’s arguably the most capable smart voice assistant on the market. It has plenty of integrations, great language recognition, and will work with a much wider range of smart home devices. The Nest Audio also comes with dual-band Wi-Fi and works equally well with Android and iOS devices. The Nest Audio can do playback on multiple Nest devices assuming you have more than one. It can also make phone calls and even act as a home security setup with Nest Aware

Both speakers will work with all major streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, Audible, Pandora, and others. The HomePod mini additional supports AirPlay 2, supporting streaming from Airplay devices and apps

Price 

Both the Nest Audio and HomePod mini cost $100 at MSRP, making the choice between them come down to your priorities and platform. It’s possible one or both will get a sale during Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

Final Verdict

Google and Android users, along with those who prioritize audio quality first and foremost, will likely want to pick the Nest Audio. It offers robust sound, the best voice assistant, and great integration with smart home devices. Apple users will benefit from sticking to the HomePod mini. It works well with other iOS devices and has HomeKit integration. The compact size and shape also makes it take up less space than the Nest Audio.