Google Nest Mini vs. Amazon Echo Dot

We tested out the Google Nest Mini vs. the Amazon Echo Dot. Here’s what we found.
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This is a battle of the smart speaker titans. We’ve got the brand new Amazon Echo Dot 4th generation and we’re comparing it to Next Google Nest Mini. Which one is going to be the best one for you? That is what we’re going to be finding out today.

If you’re looking to bring some smarts into your home, we’ve got two great candidates right here. We’re going to be comparing these two speakers side by side to see how they each perform. With that said, let’s get started.

Design and functionality

The Echo Dot has a radical new design with its 4th generation. Instead of the traditional hockey puck look, it’s now a ball with a flat, rubber bottom to keep it from sliding.

However, it keeps its four physical buttons on top for volume up, volume down, microphone mute, and the action button to activate Alexa without having to say the wake word. On the back, you’re going to find a power port with a 3.5 millimeter auxiliary jack to connect this to an external speaker or to a better sound system.

Another new change with the Echo Dot 4 is that the action light has been moved from the top of the device, to the bottom of the device. So depending on its location, that might be a good or bad thing, but I’ll talk about that in a minute.

So the Google Next Mini looks a bit dated now. But I guess that’s to be expected, because this device did come out in 2019. It has a much cleaner look with no visible buttons. Instead, it has touch sensors under the fabric.

This is for volume up, volume down, and you can tap on the middle to play and pause music. You can also mute the mic with a physical button on the back. Also, there is a hole on the bottom of the device so you can hang this on a wall if you wanted to.

Now, unlike the Echo Dot, this device does not have a 3.5 millimeter jack. But you can connect both devices to external speakers through Bluetooth.

Now, I want to circle back to the action lights on both of these devices. Now when I initially saw that they moved the light to the bottom of the Echo Dot, I was concerned that you weren’t really going to be able to see that light at all. But, in fact, it was quite the opposite. The light now reflects off the surface, making it actually even brighter and easier to see than it was before.

Now, the Next Mini, on the other hand, actually has the lights underneath the fabric. So, from a distance, if you were trying to talk to this speaker, it’s going to be hard to see if those lights are on, and it’s actually listening to you.

Streaming services

When it comes to music providers, both of these devices support the major streaming services. One note, the list is going to be different per country.

But here in the US, Google offers YouTube Music, Pandora, Spotify, Apple Music, iHeartRadio, and Deezer. While Amazon offers Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, Tune In Radio, and if you click on the plus sign up in the top corner, you’re going to see more options like Apple Music, Deezer, and more.

If you have multiple Nest Minis, you can request to have a song that’s playing on one sent to another room. So for example, I can say, Hey Google, move music to the kitchen. Now, unfortunately, as of right now, you can’t do that with your Echo device.

Voice assistants

The voice assistants are the same as they always have been.

Google has the Google Assistant, and Amazon has Alexa. You can use your voice assistants for all of the basic stuff such as asking it what the weather is, what’s on your calendar, and setting timers and alarms. You could also broadcast messages and use these devices as intercoms to talk from room to room. But in addition to all of that, you can use these devices and their voice assistants to control devices in your smart homes, like lights, switches, thermostats, just to name a few.

If you want to dive a little bit deeper into the apps for both of these devices, you can set up different home automations, either through Scenes, or Routines within the respective apps. With the new Echo Dot 4, Amazon has added the new AZ1 chip. This helps your device with faster responses from Alexa, and quicker response times through your smart home automations. Because of the boost in new hardware, I would say that the Echo is going to just edge out the Nest Mini in the smart home category.

Summary

So, to sum it up, the Amazon Echo Dot has a new design, physical buttons on top, and a new activation light on the bottom. The Nest Mini has the older, traditional, hockey puck look with the touch sensors underneath.

Because of the speaker configurations inside the Echo Dot, it sounds better than the Nest Mini. And as far as music, they’re both pretty comparable to each other. Now, looking at a smart home, essentially pick your assistant. Do you want the Google Assistant, or Alexa? But as far as the device hardware, the Echo Dot did get an upgrade this year, where the Nest Mini is still running on 2019 hardware.

So with all of that said, I’m going to go ahead and pick the Echo Dot 4 as the winner of this head to head competition.