If you’ve narrowed your options for voice-activated speakers down to the Google Home Mini vs. Amazon’s Echo Dot, it still takes some work to figure out which you may like best.
Comparing Google Home vs. Alexa is just the start, which is why we’ve put together this smart speaker comparison.
What Do These Speakers Have in Common?
While there is plenty that separates them, the Google Home Mini and Amazon Echo Dot have plenty in common. The most recent generations of each are roughly the same size. The Google Home Mini measures 98mm across and is 42mm tall, while the Echo Dot measures 99mm across and 43mm tall. This is close enough that in inches, they’re basically the same: 3.9 inches by 1.7 inches.
They’re also similar when it comes to sound quality. While both sound much better than you may expect given the small size, you can only get so much volume out of such a tiny package. If you’re looking for something to handle serious music listening, you might want to consider either one of the larger units offered by either company or a companion speaker for the Echo Dot or Google Home Mini.
They’re also priced the same, retailing for around $50. You’ll frequently find them on sale or included with other hardware as package deals so you might get them for even less.
Google Home Mini vs. Amazon Echo Dot: Hardware
While the Google Home Mini and Amazon Echo Dot are similarly sized and shaped, they take different approaches to how you use them. The Google Home Mini is a minimalist affair, with only a single USB port for power and just one button; a slider switch to disable the microphone. You might think this is it, but there are touch zones on top that let you turn the volume up and down by touching the right or left side or trigger Google Assistant by touching the middle.
The Amazon Echo Dot gives you more options for using the hardware. In addition to the power port, you also get an audio out, letting you plug it into an external speaker or stereo system. It also has more buttons on the top. Like the Google Home Mini, there is a button to disable the microphone, but you also get a pair of volume buttons and a button you can use to trigger Alexa instead of using your wake word.
Both voice-activated speakers come in a variety of colors. In the case of the Echo Dot, you can choose from Sandstone, Heather Gray, Charcoal, and Plum. Charcoal is also an option for the Google Home Mini, as is Chalk, and two fun colors; Coral and Aqua.
Google Home Mini vs. Amazon Echo Dot: Software
While the hardware is important, the software has much more to do with which of these is the best smart speaker for you. Whether you’re talking about Google Home vs. the Alexa app on your phone or Google Assistant vs. Alexa on the device itself, this is how you’ll be interacting with these voice-activated speakers most of the time.
As you might imagine, the base software works similarly on the devices, especially for simple functions like setting timers. Controlling them from your mobile device is where the differences tend to show up. Alexa is slightly more user-friendly, hiding its more powerful features in submenus, while Google Home tends to lay all your options out in front of you more directly.
Both Alexa and Google Assistant feature Routines (a name both services use), which allow you to set up more complex automations. Google’s initial rollout of Routines was limited, but now both Google Home and Alexa let you create custom routines that can turn on sets of lights, play music. You can even control your thermostat based on voice commands or the time of the day.
Whether you’re controlling simple functions or creating complex routines, Alexa will be easier to use for most people. You can get similar functionality out of Google Home, but you’ll likely spend more time on it.
Google Home Mini vs. Amazon Echo Dot: Ecosystem and Integrations
Amazon’s Alexa has been around longer than Google Home, which gives it an edge. Most smart home services support Alexa, unless they are made by Google, Apple, or use the Z-Wave protocol. This means that you can count on the Echo Dot working with most smart home equipment. Plenty of hardware also supports Google Assistant, but it hasn’t got the same presence that Alexa has.
Plenty of digital services can connect with each platform, too. For example, you can use the Echo Dot to play music from Amazon Music, Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, Deezer, SiriusXM, Pandora, Gimme, Vevo, and iHeartRadio. On the Google Home Mini, you can use YouTube Music, Spotify, Pandora, Deezer, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn.
When it comes to linking with other services, the Echo Dot has the edge again, thanks to Amazon’s head start in this area. While Google Home is constantly adding more services and options, the Echo Dot is a better option if you don’t want to worry as much about what is and isn’t compatible. Just look at the variety of free Alexa skills that are available. That said, there are plenty of fun Google Home commands, as well.
Variants and Name Confusion
You may already be leaning toward one of these voice-activated speakers more than the other, but you’re not done yet. Even if you’ve decided between Alexa vs. Google Assistant, for example, you need to choose which slight variation on the speaker you prefer.
In Amazon’s case, the decision is easy. With the most recent generation of the Echo Dot, there are two variants; the Echo Dot and the Echo Dot with Clock. Do you want a clock on your speaker or not? That’s all you need to decide.
In Google’s case, it’s a little trickier. The company offers the Google Home Mini and the Google Nest Mini. They have been using the Nest brand name more often, but this adds confusion. The two offer largely similar functionality, and they even look the same.
Right now, you’re probably better off choosing the Google Home Mini over the Nest Mini for better compatibility. However, the Nest Mini may replace the Google Home Mini at some point.
The Best Smart Speaker for You
If you think the two speakers are tied on features that matter to you, the best way to choose is to think about the services you already use. If you’re all-in on Google’s ecosystem, the Google Home Mini is probably your best bet. That said, just because you use an Android phone and Gmail doesn’t mean you should rule out the Echo Dot.
Alexa still has a leg up in terms of available skills and compatible devices, so you may already have more products that work with Amazon’s speaker than Google’s. Both devices sound pretty good, especially considering the small size. That said, if you just want to add functionality to a speaker or stereo you love, you might want to consider the Echo Input over the Echo Dot.
Read the full article: Google Home Mini vs. Amazon Echo Dot: Tiny Smart Speakers Compared