Google Home Mini: Is it Worth it?
Updated: Aug 24, 2020
Spoiler: it's the perfect desk buddy.
I'm always been drawn to the newest technologies that students can actually use without breaking the bank **cough AirPods**. Now that we're past the early-2000s era of "What can I do with this complicated piece of metal," and modern tech products are increasingly meeting both fashion and function, a good place to start is home/mobile assistant technology and its usability for students. Amazon Alexa, Siri, and Google Home are just some examples of these types of products,
While I never intended on getting one, my brother somehow got a Google Home Mini for free with his Spotify Premium account. So over the past four months, I've put my judgements aside and spent some time with my Google Home Mini to consider its value. Did it meet my expectations? Keep reading to find out.
(This article is not sponsored by Google though I wish it was)
What is the Google Home Mini?
It's a smaller version of its parent, the Google Home, and is meant to serve as a speaker that doubles up as a smart home control and personal assistant.
You can use them to playback entertainment and music, manage everyday tasks, and ask Google things you want to know.
It only works on wifi and must be plugged into an outlet.
The Google Home Mini retails for $40USD on Best Buy, which is a decent price for what it offers.
What I use My Google Home For:
Most of the time my Mini is being used, it's for speaker purposes- playing music, watching Youtube or Netflix with a better sound system, etc. It's easy to connect with Bluetooth (it takes five seconds to pair), so it's never a hassle getting it connected.
You can also connect your Google Home with your Spotify account and ask it to play any song whether its connected to Bluetooth or not.
For its small size, it has a pretty amazing sound quality, bass boost, and sound spread. I place my mini on the left side of my desk and it doesn't sound overly concentrated on one side than the other.
2. Alarm/Wakeup and Sleep Routines
This is where it lives up to its "personal assistant" role. When I say "Hey Google, set an alarm for 10AM"- it will set an alarm and I don't have to worry about a thing.
Unlike setting an alarm for my phone where it might run out of battery during the night, the Google Home is plugged in 24/7.
Another feature I absolutely love about the Mini is its routine commands. When you say "Hey Google, Goodnight", it will respond and start playing ambience sounds to help you fall asleep- I personally love the Countryside Cricket ambience (you can customize the sounds on the Google Home App)!
"Hey Google, Good Morning" will trigger a morning routine, from providing news rundown, informing about weather forecasts, and even turning your phone off silent! All of which is customizable.
3. My wish is Google's Command
If you say “Hey Google, wake me up every weekday at 9 a.m. to classical music.” it will do just that Monday through Friday. I usually set specific reminders and schedules when I know my week is busy.
It can also keep you entertained or informed if you want to know something quick without having to search it up yourself.
You can customize trigger words on the app to set off a set of actions your Google Home can do for you.
Honest Cons about my Google Home:
Portability. In addition to the wire which might be a bother for unorganized people, sometimes I just wish I could disconnect it and carry it around with me and use it as a speaker. Hardly a con, however, since its main use is for stationary purposes.
Wifi and pairing. The initial setup will be difficult if your Google Home isn't well connected to wifi or in an area far from the source. In addition, it gets repetitive when my Google Home randomly disconnects from the wifi and you have to set it up all over again. Happens only once a month, however.
Not dorm friendly. I brought it to my campus dorm and came across 2 issues: 1) it wouldn't connect to the campus wifi and I would have to have a tech team set it up for me, and 2) since it's a speaker and I had a roommate at the time, it would be hardly considerate to establish alarms and routine with another person in the room.
I would highly recommend the Google Home Mini for students who don't yet have a speaker system in their rooms! Normally, I wouldn't recommend for college campuses since most people share a room with their roommates, but since most students will be staying home for the upcoming Zoom University, I would say the Mini would be a great, budget-friendly personal assistant and sound system.