Chances are you’ll suppose of thermostats while you hear the identify Nest, however earlier this 12 months Google started slapping the model on (virtually) all of its dwelling merchandise. And so the Google Residence Mini is now the Google Nest Mini, and it has been refreshed for 2019.
The Nest Mini is about the identical hockey-puck dimension as its predecessor, but it surely’s an actual step up in sound. Low bass and midrange tones are a lot clearer, with a stage of separation in frequencies that did not exist within the unique Residence Mini. Music sounds quite a bit clearer, although podcasts can nonetheless sound muddy and washed out.
Given the sound high quality of the outdated Residence Mini, there was nowhere to go however up. The Nest Mini nonetheless is not a room-filling music speaker, but it surely sounds adequate to drag off a couple of songs if the necessity arises, which is greater than you could possibly say for the Residence Mini. Given the entry-level value of $49, it is an effective way to see if a Google-centric sensible house is for you, or an affordable option to lengthen your sensible dwelling into new rooms.
Outwardly, the Nest Mini is similar to the Residence Mini. Google has modified the speaker cowl materials to a cloth constituted of recycled plastic bottles, but it surely seems to be and feels practically the identical. The Micro USB plug is gone—as a substitute you get a spherical plug. It isn’t a giant change, but it surely implies that any Residence Mini equipment that used Micro USB plugs will not work with the Nest Mini.
The massive addition is wall mounts, however you will not want these anyway, as a result of the Nest Mini has somewhat notch for wall mounting constructed proper into the again of it. I extremely advocate making the most of it. It makes use of a wall as added resonance to considerably transcend its dimension and supply decent-sounding music and clearer voice responses to your instructions.
When Google revealed the Nest Mini, it touted a capability to regulate its sound to its setting, just like the Sonos Transfer (8/10, WIRED Recommends) and different costly sensible audio system. If it is really doing this, it is too delicate for me to note. However once more, it undoubtedly sounds higher on the wall.
There’s additionally a brand new sensor underneath the material cowl that detects while you’re reaching for the Mini. It lights up the amount management buttons on the facet of the speaker when it detects your hand close by. That is nice when it really works, however just like the movement gestures on Google’s new Pixel four telephones, it is simply not dependable.
Like Google’s different sensible speaker units, you work together with the Nest Mini by saying “Hey Google.” The LEDs in the midst of the puck then gentle as much as let you realize it is listening, and you may give it a command like “Inform me the climate.” Google has added a 3rd microphone to assist the Nest Mini hear these instructions. I examined it alongside the earlier mannequin and it was certainly a lot better at precisely understanding my voice from afar.
The opposite massive new function on this replace is a devoted machine studying chip. This permits the Nest Mini to study your voice higher, and quickens the response time, since in lots of circumstances will probably be processed domestically fairly than despatched to Google’s servers. You may nonetheless want a Wi-Fi connection, and your whole voice recordings are nonetheless despatched to Google. I couldn’t inform when issues have been processed domestically, in the event that they ever have been, however there is a theoretical pace increase when that state of affairs happens.
One factor Google has not made numerous noise about is the flexibility to pair two Nest Minis for a stereo setup. I solely had one, so I have never been in a position to check the function, however Google has long offered stereo pairing on its dearer Google Residence Max audio system. Theoretically you could possibly pair a left and proper Nest Mini, making a richer sound setup.
Different new methods embrace the flexibility to broadcast your voice to different Google audio system all through your own home, name others by Google Duo, and turn out to be an alarm by Google’s Nest Aware subscription plan.
Not a Throwaway
One of many good issues about Google’s sensible dwelling units is that they final. When you already personal a Google Residence Mini, there’s nothing right here that screams “improve now.” Sure, the sound is healthier, however if you wish to improve your sound, you are higher off making a extra substantial funding in a high quality sensible speaker like a JBL Hyperlink 20 (8/10 WIRED Recommends or Sonos One.
Google updates its voice assistant throughout all units, so the outdated Residence Mini ought to proceed to function (and enhance) nicely into the long run. And when the following Nest Mini arrives in a 12 months or two, this one will in all probability proceed working, too.
Alternatively, if you wish to lengthen your present Google Assistant–based mostly sensible dwelling into new rooms, otherwise you wish to check out Google Assistant on a budget, the brand new Nest Mini is a superb place to begin.