Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Amazon Echo Dot vs Google Nest Mini : Choose your assistant

Amazon Echo Dot and Google Nest Mini are the two entry-level speakers from two companies dominating the smart speaker category right now, specially in the India. 

Amazon Echo Dot vs Google Nest Mini choose your assistant

They start around fifty US dollars but you can usually get them for closer to thirty when on sale and they're the easiest way to use your voice to stream music and media, control smart home devices, and help you with every day tasks around your home like setting timers creating reminders and answering general search queries. 

The biggest decision that most consumers face when choosing a smart speaker is which assistant they want to run on that smart speaker and that typically mean that they going to take a look at the Amazon Echo Dot and the Google Nest Mini.

Design and features of Nest Mini or Echo Dot 3rd assistant

 Now let's dive into the design and features of these two smart speakers as well as the differences between the assistants that run on them and hope fully that should help you choose which one is best for you. 

First the design the two smart speakers are some what similar in their design they both small round pucks and are similar in size where they differ slightly though is aesthetics. 

Both speakers build quality

Google takes a much more minimalist approach with the device being completely covered in a recycled plastic mesh covering and the only button on the device is underneath it and that's the mute switch. 
It's actually a physical switch and when the device is muted the mic is actually removed from power which is different from Amazon's approach. 

The mute button is software controlled but the mics connections are never physically severed. Now taking a look at the Amazon Echo Dot third-generation you will see that Amazon took a different design approach by having four buttons on the top for muting the Echo Dot's mics, triggering the assistant, and volume controls at the top. 

Features and specification : Amazon Echo Dot vs Google Nest Mini 

In Amazon Echo Dot you also see four far-field microphones that Amazon includes. The Nest Mini includes three far-field microphones that can be founding rath it's mesh covering and testing both the Echo Dot and the Google Nest Mini hear all commands very well in all types of different situations and there's not a clear winner between them in  testing of which one actually hears me best and accurately responds. 

Google now even lets you control how sensitive the Nest Mini is to hearing the hot word, which is the phrase that you use to trigger the assistant on the device and speaking of the trigger word, for the Echo you can actually change the trigger word that you can use to trigger the assistant on the Echo Dot from the smartphone approach smart speaker has a companion app that you can download on both iOS and Android to enable certain settings on each device and help you set up and manage the speakers. 

Both speakers controls and play, pause button

While you can't see any buttons on top of the Nest Mini there are a few areas that you can touch on its surface to control it. When you hover your hand over the speaker, two LEDs will illuminate where you can tap to increase or decrease the volume. 

Tap the top of the speaker to play or pause media currently playing. Now both of these speakers have indicator lights to help show when the assistant is listening to you and when it's not. 

The Echo Dot utilizes its LED ring around its top which will glow blue when you interacting with the assistant, it'll also glow other colors like red when it's muted, yellow when you have a shipment notification, and green when making a phone call or dropping into a room with another Echo device. 

how does google Nest Mini work

The Nest Mini utilizes four white LEDs to show you when the assistant is listening to you or when it's not they can turn different colors as well based on context.

 Orange for when the Mini has been muted and blue for phone calls. Now there are two other major hardware features that make these speakers standout from one another.

 The first is the 3.5 millimeter jack the Echo Dot has that allows you to plug it into a more powerful speaker. You can't do this with a Nest Mini and Google scrapped their Chromecast Audio product which was a little device that turned any speaker into a Google cast-enabled speaker so at least you could add in speakers that you already owned into a speaker group with your Google speakers. 

Amazon now has a device that does exactly what the Google Chrome cast Audio did and overall Amazon has a better ecosystem now than Google does, in terms of turning older speakers into smart speakers that can be grouped with your first party smart speakers. 

The last other hardware differentiator that mention is that Google added a little area on the back of the mini that allows you to wall mount it and use it as a wall speaker but in order to do that it's got to sound good right? Well that brings us to one of the largest questions around these two devices and that's how did they sound.

Amazon Echo Dot vs Google Nest Mini : sound comparison

Here's a sound comparison between the two. They both sound pretty similar with may be the Google Nest Mini sounding slightly more clear and having a little bit more bass but it's close and it is hard to tell which one sounds better with one having more of an upward firing speaker then the other. 

Both speakers allow you to stream music and media over Wi-Fi as well as over a Bluetooth connection. Alright that the hardware of these two speakers now let's divede into the main thing that differentiates the experience of these two speakers and that is the smart assistant that runs on each of these devices.

which one you decide to go with smart assistant

 The smart assistants on these speakers will likely be the deciding factor in which one you decide to go with. With the Google Nest Mini you have the Google assistant that runs on it and then you have Amazon's Assistant Alexa that runs on the Echo Dot. 

So first let's talk about some of the main things that you can use the assistants for on both of these speakers. I boil them down into three categories : playing music and media, controlling your smart home devices, and providing you information and /or helping you with everyday tasks. 

Google Home Mini vs Echo Dot Spotify

For playing music and media here in the India both Smart speakers support Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Deezer, TuneIn and Sirius XM. The Echo Dot also supports Amazon Music, TIDAL , Apple Music and Apple Podcasts. 

The Nest Mini also supports YouTube Music, Google Play Music, and Google Podcasts. If you outside of the India definitely check to see what services will run on these speakers in your home country. 

Now to listen to music on either of these devices you don't actually have to subscribe to a music streaming service, however I do recommend it. It's one of the best parts of owning a smart speaker, you just tell the assistant on the speaker to play whatever song you could think of and then boom, it just does it on command, it really is kind of like magic. 

Both smart speakers can be grouped with other similar speaker groups so you can group Google speakers together or Amazon speakers together to create a whole home audio solution. Alright, now another really important thing that these smart assistants can help you do is control your smart home devices. 

Both work with a large  of popular smart home products and platforms 

 Nest thermostats, Philips Hue lights,smart blinds, smart robotic vacuum cleaners, Wi-Fi routers, smart plugs, and home security systems. 

Both Amazon and Google also make their own smart home products so if you already have Nest products in your home or a ring doorbell.It's best to make sure and check that the products you already have in your home will work with one or both of these smart assistants. 

Recently both Amazon and Google started emphasising local control with their smart speakers so they have the ability to control your devices without pinging the clouds, so in theory if your internet goes out you would still be able to tell Google or the Amazon assistant to turn on and off your lights and it still work. 

 Both assistants allow you to do things like set timers, create reminders, add things to specific lists, so you could have a grocery list, Amazon lists, target run list, etc. 

They also can help you with cooking by providing you with recipes or helping you communicate with others by making phone calls, broadcast to other smart speakers around your house, or Amazon will actually let you drop in to another speaker in your house like a two-way intercom system.

Both speakers work from third - party services

 Each assistant platform can work with third-party services with Amazon these are called skills and with Google they called Google Assistant actions. 

I don't use these on either platform very often but they are pretty good for a specific type of request so for example I ask either of the assistants to play the local news through a third-party skill from my local TV news station or a lot of party games also integrate this way with both assistants so you can play it with your kids and have a blast. 

So now hearing all this I'm sure you probably thinking okay it sounds like these assistants can actually do pretty similar things what actually is different about them.

Well the biggest thing that differentiates these two assistants are the services that they are integrated with to provide you information. Amazon is will integrated with its own services so for example it tell you when you can expect a package from 

Google Nest Mini support google assistant

The Google assistant is also heavily integrated with Google services like Google Photos, Google Maps, YouTube, Google Search, Gmail, and the list goes on. 

As a company that's business model centers around collecting data to provide and serve more relevant ads and information to its users, the Google Assistant can do a lot if you already use a lot of Google services, plus its integration with Google search means that it's going to be able to provide you with detailed answers to complex questions that you ask it that you normally type into a Google search bar. 

Now Amazon's assistant can answer general search queries and typically it will give you the correct answer however I found in my experience it will not give you nearly as much detail or context as the Google Assistant will. 

One,how integrated are you already into either Google or Amazon's ecosystems? do you already have smart devices that would only work with one platform. 

Do you need your speaker to be able to physically plug into a better speaker.Which speaker looks the best to you Both Amazon and Google offers speakers indifferent colors and options Amazon even has a colorful one designed especially for kids and they also have a version of the echo dot with a clock on it which is pretty neat if you planning on putting this speaker on your nightstand answering these questions will help determine.

Conclusion :

Now if you have used both of these assistants or both of these smart speakers :   Amazon Echo Dot vs Google Nest Mini know down in the comments which assistant you prefer and use in your daily life and if you liked this post and found it helpful, make sure you share.

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