Taking aim at the Echo Dot
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If coque huawei p20 smart that’s true, Amazon must be tickled pink right now. The obvious inspiration for last year’s Google Home was the Amazon Echo, and it’s just as obvious that the new Google Home Mini is taking cues from the Echo Dot. To be fair, it’s a logical strategy: By packaging all of Alexa’s features into a smaller and cheaper package, Amazon expanded the Echo ecosystem and made it easier to blanket your house with voice activated assistants.
Google is now doing the same, right down to the price. The $49 Home Mini does almost everything the larger Home does, at a price coque huawei p8 lite 2017 adidas that makes the idea of buying three or four to place around the house a lot more palatable. It’s about the same size as my favorite pastry (though there’s no hole in the middle). To me, it looks more like someone turned the original Google Home upside down and flattened it. Instead of having a etui coque huawei p8 lite white top coque huawei p9 lite bois and a colored bottom, the Mini offers the opposite. But the top of the Mini is made of a new fabric that Google designed specifically for its pair of new smart speakers (the Mini and its giant brother the Home Max). coque spigen galaxy a3 The soft look of the light gray fabric and the Mini’s rounded corners make this a much friendlier gadget than the Echo Dot, and one that I’d be happy to put just about anywhere in my house.
The company says it designed the fabric to be both acoustically and visually transparent, so you can see the Mini’s four status lights when it’s listening and «thinking.» Those lights are much less gaudy than the Echo Dot’s bright LED ring, but they’re also not quite as good coque huawei mate 9 personnalisable at showing you when the Home is in use. coque huawei nova 2 As for the fabric top, one potential downside is that it could get dirtier than a standard plastic shell and won’t be as easy to clean. There’s also no way coque samsung galaxy s10e rouge to change out the top, whereas the bigger Google Home has a swappable base.
That said, I don’t think the Home Mini will get too grimy, because I rarely needed to touch it. Tapping the left or galaxy note 8 coque disney right side of it turns the volume up or down, but it’s just as easy to do that with a voice command. Until a few days ago, you could also tap and hold on the center coque huawei personnalisable of the Home Mini to activate the Google Assistant, but something went awry with that feature. A few Home Minis were coque huawei ascend g6 4g suffering from a bug whereby their touch panels activated inadvertently this meant the device was able to record audio and transmit it to Google without a user’s consent, a privacy nightmare in the making.
Google quickly disabled the feature, and a review of all the voice commands the Home Mini sent showed no unusual activity for me. I believe this won’t be a problem going forward, but it’s still something to be aware of if you’re on the fence about having a voice assistant in your house. For extra privacy, you can mute the device’s microphone with a switch on the back. Once it’s muted, the four lights on the top of the Home Mini light up in orange. You plug it in, and the Google Home app walks you through the rest. Punch in your WiFi credentials, assign it to a room and you’re ready to roll.
But to get the most out of a Google galaxy j5 coque rouge Home, you’ll want to customize a few things. In the Home app, you can sign into various music and video services, including Spotify (free or premium), Pandora, TuneIn and IHeartRadio, so that you can tell the Home Mini to play your streaming library. If you use Google owned services like Play Music and YouTube, they’ll be coque galaxy s10e transparent automatically set up. Supported video services include CBS, the CW (both added over the past year) and Netflix.
You can also customize «My Day,» a daily briefing that tells you what’s on your calendar, what your commute is like and how the weather looks in your area, all pulled from your Google account. It also can follow that up with a quick news program, so it’s worth taking a minute to pick your favorite sources. Options include «traditional» news like Bloomberg, NPR and the Wall Street Journal, but you can also get programs focused on specific topics like technology and sports.
In useOnce you’re all set up, you can start asking the Home Mini questions and the Google Assistant will answer based on the company’s massive knowledge graph. You can also ask it to give you just about any info you’ve stored in your Google account, like calendar appointments, reminders and your commute, but there’s a caveat: It works only with personal Google accounts; G Suite is not supported. That’s crazy, particularly a year after the first Home arrived. Even Amazon supports G Suite calendars on the Echo! As someone who uses his work calendar much more than the personal one, I’d really like the Mini to work with G Suite accounts.
The Home Mini can stream audio, video or images from Google Photos to any Chromecast enabled device (including another Google Home). Controlling audio and video was one of my favorite features with the original Google Home, and that’s still the case here. The speaker is too small for dedicated music playback (more on that later), but I used the Mini to cast music and video to various speakers and TVs in my house with no issues.
Additionally, there’s a coque huawei g9 plus ton of other services you can talk to, across categories like education, productivity, entertainment, games and trivia, news and more. They’re similar to Alexa’s skills, but you don’t have to «enable» these. You can just say, «OK Google, talk to the Wall Street coque huawei p8 lite 2017 ebay Journal» to get whatever info coque huawei ascend the publication has posted recently. The best place to see everything you can ask the Google Assistant is currently in the official Assistant app, not the Home app you use for setup. That was a little confusing, but once I had both installed, it was pretty easy to learn more about what the Home Mini was currently capable of.
Other features include getting step by step recipe directions from the Food Network, Domino’s pizza delivery, calling an Uber and making a reservation with OpenTable. Naturally, the Home Mini can connect to a variety of smart home devices as well. Google says that Home supports 1,000 devices from «more than 100″ home automation partners. And you can use IFTTT to coque huawei y6 2018 antichoc build your own custom actions as well. Obviously, the coque huawei p8 lite stitch much smaller Mini has a much smaller speaker, and that makes a huge difference for audio playback. It works fine for voice responses, alarms, timers and the like, but it’s not something you’ll want to use for music. The bigger Google Home doesn’t have outstanding audio, but it’s definitely better than your laptop speakers or most cheaper Bluetooth speakers. The Mini, on the other hand, is severely lacking in the bass department and generally lacks the clarity you’d want for listening to music.
For $49, that’s totally excusable, but it’s something worth being aware of. For what it’s worth,, the Mini absolutely outclasses the Echo Dot in audio quality. The Dot sounds tinny and hollow when Alexa speaks to you, and music playback is even worse. I compared the same songs across both devices, and the Dot consistently came up short, without even a hint of a bass. I personally wouldn’t want to use the Home Mini for music, outside of a few limited circumstances I could see putting on a few songs while cleaning up the bedroom, for example, but for any longer listening session I’d rather just pop in some headphones than keep the Mini playing. Your milage may vary, of course if you listen to a lot of audio through your phone’s speaker, the amazon coque huawei mate 10 lite Mini will be an improvement.
The Mini’s tiny design also affects microphone performance. The Google Assistant hears me just fine, but voice calling is another story. When I called a few friends with the Mini, they all said that I sounded terrible. At least I could hear things fine on my end. This isn’t just a problem with the WiFi calling protocol coque huawei p8 lite chat that Google is using, either. I called the same people on the full size Google Home and everyone said things sounded significantly better. If you were going to buy a Home product with the intent of using it as a voice activated speakerphone, you’ll be better off springing for the larger model (which costs $129, but is currently on sale for $109).
In addition to voice calls, new Google Assistant features including adding calendar items and reminders (something that really should have been there from day one). Voice Match, which lets multiple users get personalized responses from the Home, is probably the biggest and most useful addition so far. If you want to try shopping with your voice, Google Express now lets you order products from giant retailers like Walmart and Target.
Google also announced a number of new features when it unveiled the Home Mini last week; unfortunately, some of the most notable ones aren’t live yet. Users can build «routines» that stack a few actions together the way the My Day briefing gives you a handful of different pieces of info. Saying «Good morning» could turn on lights, set your thermostat, turn on the coffeepot and tell you what’s first on your calendar (provided you have the right smart devices to do those things, of course).
Another new feature will let you use the Home devices as an intercom you’ll be able to «broadcast» a message from the Google Assistant (on your phone or through Google Home) to all other Home devices in the house. The Mini beats the Dot in terms of audio quality, and I personally prefer its looks. But the Dot still has broader third party support, with 20,000 «skills» and more added every week. The real question is whether Google supports the smart home products and features that you need. At this point, the Home Mini can control a wide variety of smart home devices just not as many as Alexa. Amazon’s head start and the fragmented nature of the smart home device market gives the Echo a lead, but I’m no longer convinced that going with Amazon is a must for anyone wanting to have the best coque manga galaxy note 4 smart home experience.
If you’re deep in Google’s ecosystem and prefer using its products and services, the Home Mini is a natural choice provided you don’t rely heavily on a G Suite account. If you do, the Echo is surprisingly a better option. I called the original device «little more than a toy» last year, but now it’s a legit competitor to Amazon’s Echo and Alexa. The Echo might technically have a lead in compatible devices, coque huawei p8 lite 2017 paillette but I’d urge you to do some research before committing to a smart speaker chances are good that the Home Mini can do what you need it to.
Google’s undeniable advantage comes from the amount of info Google has about both the world and your own activities. Its knowledge graph is unrivaled, and Google is very coque huawei p smart 2019 fnac good at answering any query you might have. As for the hardware itself, the Home Mini has a better speaker, a more attractive appearance and superior voice calling features it’s just too bad that the microphones don’t offer better call quality. Google has done a strong job closing the gap between the Assistant and Alexa over the past 12 months as long as the Home Mini works with devices and services you use, it’s well carrefour coque huawei y6 2018 worth a look…