With the rate of adoption of smart speakers in Indian homes picking up, it’s evident Google is quickening its pace to keep up with Amazon. Google has launched the new Nest Mini smart speaker in India just a little over a month after announcing it globally, along with its new Pixel 4 smartphone. That’s a lot quicker than the time Google took to release its previous models, like the Google Nest Home, to the country. With that, let’s check out Google’s new smart speaker. Here are five things you need to know about it.
Being a successor to the Google Home Mini, the new Google Nest Mini does come with a considerable price bump. While the Home Mini sells on Flipkart for Rs 2,999, the new Nest Mini sells on the same e-commerce website for Rs 4,499, which is a 150-per cent upswing in price. Click here to see it on Flipkart. The Nest Mini is available in the same two colours as it predecessor: Chalk and Charcoal. As always, the Nest Mini has Google’s virtual assistant, Google Assistant, at the heart of it but now in two different voices (male and female). The device can be triggered by saying, ‘OK, Google’, or ‘Hey, Google’.
Though it resembles its predecessor in shape and size, the Google Nest Mini features an improved audio setup in the form of a custom speaker driver combined with Google’s proprietary tuning software. On our test unit, we noticed a remarkable improvement in overall sound quality when the volume was maintained between 50 and 70 per cent. Surprisingly, low frequencies made it through without any noticeable signs of distortion. While we can only deliver the final word on sound quality in our upcoming review, we feel the new Google Nest Mini can definitely sing better than its predecessor.
The Google Home Mini may be a couple of years old but its compact, donut-shaped form factor is still the way to go, feels Google. And so, the new Nest Mini takes right after it with a few minor additions. For starters, the device can now be hung on a wall because of the integrated wall mount on its back. On the inside, there’s a dedicated machine learning chip with one TeraOPS of processing power, which Google claims results in faster response time. The haptic controls on the device remain the same but the volume buttons on the side now light up when the user brings their hand close to the device. This, on our test unit, worked only half the time. We’ll have to test it thoroughly before we deliver a verdict.
The Google Nest Mini is certainly a device to be considered if you care about how you’re affecting the environment. Like its predecessor, the Nest Mini comes wrapped in fabric around the top but Google says this one is custom-made from 100 per cent recycled plastic bottles. “A single half-liter plastic bottle makes enough fabric to cover two Nest Minis,” says Google. The external enclosure, too, is made from at least 35 per cent post-consumer recycled plastic. Inside the Nest Mini’s box, there’s barely any printed material except for a couple of sheets to get you started with device setup.
The third-generation Amazon Echo Dot competes directly with the Google Nest Mini. Launched late last year in as many as four colours, the Amazon Alexa-powered device comes with a fabric finish around its side and an optional digital clock. Priced more competitively at Rs 2,999, the Amazon Echo Dot features a 3.5mm jack for audio output. This is one feature Google’s smart speakers have never had and the Nest Mini is no different. What’s more, Amazon Alexa can be programmed to play music from Apple Music, while Google can play music from YouTube Music, Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, and Wynk. On the bright side, music from Gaana can be played without ads for free on the new Nest Mini.
As you can tell, the new Google Nest Mini comes with a bunch of useful enhancements over its predecessor. Its superior sound quality and wall-mountability are perhaps the most apparent among them. But is the Google Nest Mini worth the Rs 1,500 premium? Or should you go with Amazon, which has devices like the newly launched Echo Flex, selling for as low as Rs 2,999? This is something we’ll have to find out in the coming days. Expect to learn more in a full-blown review of the Google Nest Mini.