You can’t be blamed for mistaking the $49 Nest Mini for its two-year-old predecessor, the (additionally $49) Google Home Mini. Indeed, the largest distinction between the 2 good audio system, which look nearly an identical apart from just a few iterative design tweaks, is perhaps Google’s determination (which I nonetheless discover complicated, frankly) to swap out the “Home” moniker for “Nest,” following within the footsteps of the re-branded Google Nest Hub and the latest Google Nest Hub Max.

Still, there are some laudable adjustments right here, although none that demand handing over your present Home Mini(s) to your native recycling heart. Among the enhancements: marginally higher sound, a brand new mounting gap, an extra built-in microphone, and a machine-learning chip designed to make Google Assistant quicker and smarter over time. The Nest Mini’s capacitive contact controls have additionally been shuffled and refined, though they could nonetheless confuse somebody who isn’t aware of the speaker’s tips.

So, must you improve? Given the Nest Mini’s cheap price ticket (which is able to most likely see steep and periodic reductions within the coming months, if historical past is any information), a greater query is: must you purchase a Nest Mini to go along with your present Home Mini? By all means, sure, significantly given the upcoming Nest residence monitoring options that each the Nest Mini and Home Mini will help. More on that in a bit.

If you haven’t jumped on the good speaker bandwagon but, the Google Nest Mini makes for an awesome place to start out, significantly when you’re a loyal Google consumer. Of course, the $49 Amazon Echo Dot stays a worthy Nest Mini competitor, significantly in terms of Alexa’s dominance within the space of good residence voice management. That mentioned, contemplating their cheap worth tags, you don’t essentially want to select one over the opposite—even when you use an Android smartphone.

Design

Set the Nest Mini subsequent its predecessor and also you’ll have issue telling them aside. They each bear the identical telltale oval form when seen from the facet, the identical material overlaying (in chalk, coral, and charcoal colours, with a brand new sky shade changing the Home Mini’s aqua taste), and the identical 4 LEDs peeking by the highest of the material when Google Assistant is awake and chatting.

Ben Patterson/IDG

Pop quiz: which of those Google good audio system is the brand new Nest Mini?

Look a little bit extra intently, nonetheless, and also you pick some key variations. Turn the Nest Mini over and also you’ll spot the brand new mounting gap, which makes it simple to hold the Nest Mini on a hook or (when you’ve pounded it in far sufficient) the top of a nail.

google nest mini mounting hole Ben Patterson/IDG

The new mounting gap on the again of the Google Nest Mini allows you to dangle it on a wall with no need to purchase a third-party bracket.

It’s not stunning that Google added a built-in mounting choice on the Nest Mini, given the big selection of third-party mounting equipment that sprouted up for the Home Mini. That mentioned, the only mounting gap signifies that cable administration is as much as you; and belief me, with out some assist in your half, the Nest Mini’s charging cable received’t dangle completely straight alongside the wall prefer it does in Google’s press photographs. Score one for third-party mounts just like the Mount Genie that hang the Google Home Mini from an AC outlet, with its extra energy wire neatly wound across the mount.

google nest mini mounted Ben Patterson/IDG

You can dangle the Google Nest Mini from a wall because of its new mounting gap, however cable administration is as much as you.

Another small distinction has to do with the Nest Mini’s charging port. Gone is the Micro-USB port that sits within the base of the Home Mini, it’s been changed by a barrel-shaped charging port. That’s a little bit of a disgrace, provided that you can swap out the Home Mini’s unique charging cable with a third-party, 5V Micro-USB charger, nevertheless it’s a protected wager that the Nest Mini’s 15W energy draw calls for a extra strong energy supply. (It’s value noting that the third-gen Amazon Echo Dot has a barrel-shaped charging port, too.)

Shop Amazon