Speaking to a human being is normal. However, when it comes to speaking to a random object like a speaker or a phone, we tend to get very conscious, especially when someone is around.
It is normal for us humans to behave that way. However, those days are quickly fading away and we are seeing smart speakers all around us. A few years ago, Apple, Google and Amazon were neck to neck with AI voice assistants by bringing in smart speakers to the consumer market. While Amazon went ahead to bring in a plethora of speaker variants or sizes, Google did not fall back either. Now both have a similar tiny, bun-sized smart speaker variant for consumers to add into smaller rooms or multiple rooms. Amazon spewed out the Dot and Google went ahead with the Home Mini.
The Google Home Mini was the first to hit shelves with an affordable price tag and everyone wanted one on their desk or along the bedside table. As good as having the larger Home model but in a compact size, the features remain almost similar. Now, the same Mini is reincarnated into an even better sounding, speedier Mini, with a new name resting under the Nest title.
The new Mini is a product after Google acquired Nest. With a size similar to the earlier model, the Nest Mini now promises better audio performance with added bass along with a few feature add-ons and changes in the design.
So what’s new? Well, firstly, Google boasts that the new Nest Mini is made from recycled plastic — but not all of it. The durable fabric top is now made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. This fabric is available in Chalk, Charcoal, Coral and Sky. However, India gets only the Chalk and Charcoal options. Below that fabric, Google says, is a speaker system re-engineered to produce 2X stronger bass. Lastly, three powerful microphones can now recognise your voice from any corner of the room. Speaking on the geeky specs, the new Mini has a 64-bit 1.4GHz processor, 40mm single speaker system, Bluetooth 5.0 support and dual band Wi-Fi – all in a 181g package.
The Nest Mini now can now be mounted on your wall too! Yes. A keyhole mounting provision now lets you have the Nest Mini rest on any wall you need Google to hear you out — be it your kitchen, study or your bedroom wall. You can place it on a table too. And you have the option to reverse the volume control panel depending on the placement of the speaker (table or wall) so that the volume up and down buttons always remain right to left.
With reference to the volume above, Google has placed three capacitive buttons below the fabric top – one each for the volume up and down buttons and one in the centre for actions (pause, play, etc.). And, as usual, the buttons are backlit, with the centre button having four colourful LEDS that represent the four Google colours. The buttons are so sensitive that Google has gone ahead and introduced the option where it senses when you bring your hand/fingers closer to the button and before you can even reach it, they light up. This way, you know exactly where each button is, even in pitch darkness.
Setting up the Nest Mini is pretty simple. All you need to do is power on and wait till you hear the initial ready tune along with all LEDs that shine in all four colours, and a voice will inform you to install and pair it with the Google Home app on your smartphone. Simply open Google Home, add a new device and follow the instructions. Once done, it will link up to your home Wi-Fi, install any new updates if available and be ready for your commands.
Coming back to the performance, we did notice that the new Nest Mini is slightly faster than the older gen speaker — actions seem quicker. The 40mm driver is now more powerful than before. It seems louder and has a much-appreciated bass (2X than the previous gen) that makes your assistant’s voice sound even more pleasing. And music playback also does sound better — just that the bass is more prominent when you are closer to the speaker. So your bedtime music for relaxation would now probably put you to sleep faster.
And yes, there is a kill switch to prevent your smartie mouth from eavesdropping on you or accidentally acknowledging your talks when you are not conversing with it. A physical button on the side will cut off the microphones so that Google is now deaf to your personal life. Privacy — check.
We had, and are still having a good time with the new Nest Mini by our side. Better acknowledgements, pleasant voice and music performance, eco-conscious and definitely the best of all — WALL MOUNTING. The new Nest Mini for a mere ₹4,499 is a great add-on to every room and will definitely be appreciated by all your family members. Did we forget? Google’s Assistant speaks Hindi too….
“OK Google, switch to night mode please”