The Google Nest Mini is the update to the original Google Home Mini. The aim – make it sound better! Although that is like little small dog syndrome – a big yappy bark instead of a throaty growl.
To be fair, the original Google Mini was the perfect, low-cost
way to add OK Google to your home network. But it’s sound signature was for
clear voice, not music. The Google Nest Mini does sound a little better.
What about Nest? The Google Nest Mini is part of its
rebranding reflect the move of all its smart devices to the Nest sub-brand.
So what has and has not changed with the Google Nest Mini?
Size and design. It is still a cute 98 (round) x 42 (h) x but has put on some weight – 181g versus 173g. Colours Chalk, Charcoal, Coral and a new Sky (Sky Blue) with the fabric top made of 100% recycled PET bottles and the base from 35% recycled plastic. Good job Google, although we wonder where all the leftover Home Mini’s went. Minibalism perhaps?
What OK Google can do although she is getting smarter all the time!
New ultrasound technology to detect your approach (so they can stop talking among themselves – Google is very private like that). It also enables play/pause tapping.
BT 5.0 versus 4.1 and it has three mics instead of two.
Use as an intercom with other Nest speakers and the new Google Nest Wi-Fi
Now wall mountable but the cord hanging down is quite obvious
$79 versus as low as $49 – hell they should have been giving them away to get people into smart home thinking.
An updated SoC (CPU) that can do more on the device, e.g. machine learning, alarms, local commands etc. The original Mini and Home used the Marvell 88DE3006 Armada 1500 SoC. All we know is that the new Google Nest Mini uses a Qualcomm, four-core 64-bit ARM CPU (4 x A53 Cortex, 1.4GHz) with an ML hardware engine. That is quite a lot more powerful and probably accounts for better DSP (sound processing).
Stereo paring (why bother?) and a proprietary power plug/supply.
How does the Google Nest Mini sound?
In our original review, we said, “The Mini is a single speaker capable of 80dB volume. It has no bass, reasonable mids and then treble drops. This is called a mid-sound signature. It is fine for mid volumes as a personal speaker but gets way too harsh at higher volumes.”
Sorry Google but we just don’t see the 2x Bass improvement –
oh, wait, two times nothing is… Volume-wise the Google Nest Mini is a tad behind
(77dB) versus the old Mini (80dB) – and that makes it sound a little less
Google Nest Mini
Deep Bass: 20-40Hz
Middle Bass: 40-100Hz
High Bass: 100 to 200Hz
Flat from 236Hz
Flat from 236Khz
High Treble: 6-10kHz
Dog whistle: 10-20kHz
Drop off a cliff from 15kHz
Gentle decline to 20kHz
While the Google Nest Mini does have a vague whiff of middle
and high bass, it is not really evident when listening side-by-side (as these
Interestingly both become flat (good) from 236Hz (low-mid) and
are almost identical to 10kHz (Dog Whistle) where the Google Nest Mini quickly
drops off the cliff at 15kHz and the Home Mini gracefully descends to the full 20Hz.
So as far as a sound signature goes both are Mid-centric
which is best for clear voice. The Google Nest Mini has a slightly rounder
sound and is a little less harsh at full volume because of a lower upper-treble
response and a slightly lower volume.
GadgetGuy’s take – Google Nest Mini V2 is an incremental improvement
The changes are all good, and it is a worthy successor to
the Home Mini. It still is a long way from being a music speaker, BUT YOU DON’T
BUY IT FOR THAT. You buy it for OK Google.
In our original Google Home Mini review, we rated it and the
Google Home speaker at 4.2-out-of-5. In part that was value for money.
Since then there has been a raft of far better audiophile speakers. While our OK Google August 2018 ‘shootout’ is slightly out of date, it shows that you have to spend somewhere between $200-600 to get a really decent sound.
Our pick of them all is the LG WK7, 24-bit/96Hz upscaling speaker that is on special at JB for $199. Just click the link above to see what an OK Google speaker can sound like.
Since then Google has its new Nest Hub ($349 for speaker and 10” screen), and you have excellent offerings from Lenovo, Sony, JBL and more.