The Google Home and Home Mini were launched in Singapore just about a week ago, after having the Home Mini in my bedroom for the past 2 weeks, here’s what I have to say about the small, smart, and rather cute device.
Design, Hardware & Performance
The Home Mini retails for SGD 79, a tad bit more than its American version which comes in at USD 49 (around SGD 65). The Home Mini is a great device to have if you’re trying to put together your brand new smart home. The design of the Mini is elegant: there are no rough edges and it looks completely natural in any conceivable environment it could find itself in. It doesn’t look ‘techy’ like you would expect it to – Google nailed it on the design aspect of things. However, something a little small that bothered me was the cable that comes with the Mini. On the chalk and coral colours, it blends in seamlessly, but with the charcoal Mini, the wire does look a little mismatched and out of place. Overall, despite being the cheaper model, the Mini does not feel or look cheap at all.
As for its hardware, the Home Mini sports a much sports a significantly weaker speaker compared to its older brother, the Home. That’s not to say that the Mini is weak though: the Mini’s sound is not mini at all. At full volume, the Mini could be heard from my apartment’s adjacent rooms. While reading other reviews I’ve come to notice a trend where everyone finds the Mini’s microphones ‘scarily good’ and that it’s able to pick up your voice with accuracy from across the room. You would understand my shock when my ‘hey, Google’ had not triggered a response 6 out of 10 times I tried it. However, I soon found the culprit to this digital misunderstanding: my electric fan! Regular users of voice chat know that fans and microphones don’t mix well at all. Thus, lesson learnt: don’t keep your Google Home Mini near your fan.
When I first unboxed the Mini I ran into some minor problems trying to set it up. Though the UI of the Google Home app is simple and neat, there were some issues on part of the speaker (“I can’t connect to your Wi-Fi network”). Usually, elbow grease (powering on and off the device and/or router) would solve these issues. The same error occurred with trying to link Spotify, but after a little more grease, my Home Mini was playing all my favourite music.
Features & Conclusion
The Google Home Mini is honestly something I never thought I would need, but I’ve grown to love it. I use it daily as an alarm clock and to check things like definitions of words and exchange rates on the fly. It’s really great when you’re playing word games with your family or significant other and you have to check if the other person is lying when he/she pops a wild word. Exploring what the Home Mini can do is really the best part. Playing the trivia game with the Mini can really kill a lot of time: I hope that Google adds more games to the Home soon! Although I find the Mini attractive for its unconventional uses, the Mini can do a lot more things than be your helper with games. I suggest that you grab one, if you haven’t already, to find out all this little guy can do.
The Google Home Mini is available on the newly unveiled Google Store Singapore, Challenger and Starhub outlets at a standard retail price of SGD79, available with free delivery.