Google Home Mini hands on

The latest IoT technology from Google...

12 Oct 2017

The compact smart speaker for your home

Google does many things very well, and offering well-made, low cost connected tech is one of them. The Chromecast, for example, allows you to beam, or ‘cast’, films and TV shows straight from your smartphone to any TV with a HDMI port. And it arrived with a very affordable price tag.

Google’s latest smart speaker is no different. For around £50, you can introduce Google Assistant to your home with Home Mini. The hub has microphones and speakers built in, so you can request all sorts with a simple “Hey Google”.

 

Design

The small speaker is roughly the same size as a doughnut, with cloth wrapped around the top – available in three colours. And there are four small lights that shine though the cloth so you know what Google Home Mini is doing. This is what they mean.

No lights tell you it’s simply ready and waiting to be of assistance. If the lights are illuminating one at a time, it’s listening to your command or thinking about its answer. And if Home Mini shows four amber lights, you know the mic is turned off.

If privacy is a concern, the four amber lights are designed to provide peace of mind. To deactivate the microphone, just slide the switch on the side of the device.

 

Always happy to help

Google Home Mini’s ‘wake’ phrase can be either “Okay Google”, or “Hey Google”, and when you say that, it'll start listening for a command. It can also recognise different voices, so if you ask it to add some this to your calendar, it won't start adding stuff to your boyfriend's. This is the kind of thing you can ask it to help you out with.

  • Will I need an umbrella today?
  • How big is Jupiter?
  • What’s the traffic like this morning?
  • Remind me to go to the bank at lunch
  • Play Mr Robot on Netflix
  • Set an alarm for 8am
  • How do I get to Piccadilly Circus?

 

Some of this stuff requires you to link the Home Mini up to your other tech. As it has no screen, the directions to Piccadilly Circus will be shown on your smartphone. And you’d need a Chromecast plugged into your TV (and a Netflix account) to start watching Mr Robot.

Related in Smart home

How to keep your home secure with Google Nest

29 Oct 2021

How to make your new home a smart home

29 Sep 2021

A simple guide to setting up a smart home

07 May 2021

How much do smart home security systems cost?

07 May 2021

5 top tech tips to make your home safer

29 Apr 2021