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Amazon Echo Dot vs. Google Home Mini: Which should you buy?

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Amazon Echo Dot vs. Google Home Mini: Which should you buy?

Post by jthspace » Fri Oct 20, 2017 5:09 pm

One is a known entity and is the gateway drug for connected homes. The other is a new entry from the world's biggest search company. Both have their merits.

If you're reading this, there's a pretty good chance you already own an Amazon Echo Dot. It's been around a while, it's a good impulse buy at $49 — and that's when it's not on sale. And it can help you control pretty much anything that can be controlled in the tech space.

And if you're reading this there's probably a pretty good chance that you're in the target market for a Google Home Mini. Because you want to be able to control all the things, and you want better access to your Google services.

There's a lot of overlap in the Echo Dot and the newer Home Mini. But which one is right for you? Let's rap.



What's in a name? Echo Dot or Home Mini?

Google still names its products pretty horribly. "Home Mini" doesn't have the same sort of authoritative name as "Echo Dot." It's also not as easy to say out loud, which may be more of a thing in my brain than it is yours.

But more than that is that Amazon Echo has better brand recognition in the product sense.

Yes, the body matters

This one's pretty subjective, but then again I also think I'm 100% right here: the Echo Dot just isn't all that attractive of an oversized hockey puck. Especially in black. The matte finish just looks tired. Glossy white is better, but it's still pretty hapless.

On the other hand, Google Home Mini looks like ... Well ...

Google Whoopie Cushion?

But Google's at least got three color options — coral, chalk and charcoal, otherwise known as pinkish-orange, gray and black. And it's definitely got some curves to it, and the fabric finish gives it some more sophistication than pure plastic.

I'd give the points here to Google Home Mini.

More parity than ever in services

There's less distinction these days between Amazon and Google when it comes to what their assistants can work with. The fact of the matter is there's near parity when it comes to the two ecosystems. Make phone calls from the speaker? Both can do that. Control all kinds of connected things at home? Yep.

Answer thousands and thousands of random questions? Yep. I'd argue Google still does that better, but they both do it.

Play music from all sorts of sources? Erm, yeah. But this is where we start to get into the weeds. The Echo Dot doesn't do Google Play Music directly. Google Home Mini doesn't do Amazon Music. Little things like that could well (and should) sway your decision.

On the other hand, both can do Bluetooth. So there's that.

Which should you get? Google Home Mini or Amazon Echo Dot?

For my money — and again, we're talking $50 here — I'd probably go with Google Home Mini. I've got more faith in Google's cloud services than I do Amazon's. (Whether that's anecdotal or misplaced, I'll leave to you.) And I've got more faith in Google's ability to innovate in that space.

I also just think Google Home Mini looks cooler. And when you're talking about the differences between two inexpensive products, that's a feature you shouldn't discount.
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