Almost perfect for the first-time smart speaker buyer 

Smartwatches and smart speakers probably have more fence-sitters than other tech categories. Many users are still playing wait and watch even as they figure if these devices will complement their lifestyle. Smart speakers have been a two-horse race with Amazon and Google vying for consumer adoption. Google has rebranded its smart speaker somewhat with adding the Nest suffix. The Nest Mini takes over from the Google Home Mini as the brand’s entry-level speaker. Does this make a case for first-time buyers or early smart speaker adopters, who are looking for an additional satellite speaker in the kitchen or bedroom?

It’s almost impossible to tell the Nest Mini from its predecessor. This is a device that won’t look out of place in an elegant living room. Google’s entire line of smart speakers and displays have an instantly recognisable design language, with their fabric finish that scores with its aesthetics. It’s a small start but we’re pleased to learn that the entire fabric covering on the Nest Mini is crafted with 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles, while the external enclosure is made with 35% post-consumer recycled plastic. Google tells us that starting 2019 all products in its Nest portfolio are built with varying amounts of recycled plastics. This might comfort geeks who’ve planted smart speakers in every room.

Google tells us that starting 2019, all products in its Nest portfolio are built with varying amounts of recycled plastics.

One of the reasons you will do that is if you’re moving towards a smart home where a long list of connected devices talk to each other. It’s still early days but there’s already a long list of connected devices from a variety of brands (about 3,500 according to Google) like Philips Hue and Xiaomi.  While that’s a key consideration for serious geeks and also for those seeking a future-proof device, the purchase decision is more likely to hinge on sound quality for most potential buyers. This is an area where the Nest Mini takes a significant leap over its predecessor and also has an edge over its Amazon rival. The Nest Mini automatically adjusts the sound level to match ambient sounds. This can be handy on a busy day in the kitchen. The device streams music from a host of music streaming platforms, I was able to sync my Spotify account without any fuss. The entire set up process via the Google Home App is quite seamless. 

The in-built microphone does a good job with picking up voice commands and the physical navigation buttons for volume or play/pause are quite friendly to use too. And yes, there’s a switch that allows you to flick the microphone on or off. The Nest Mini handles most queries and also requests for weather, cricket and news updates (we’d like more India sources for the News though) – all those things that will keep your 6-year old occupied and visitors impressed, quite effortlessly. This is a device that clearly punches above its weight especially in the sound department making it a great option for first-time smart speaker buyers who want to take their first bite.   

The Google Nest Mini costs Rs 4,499 and is available in Chalk and Charcoal colour variants on Flipkart. Buy it here now!