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Mother's Day deal dilemma: Echo Dot or Google Home Mini for $40?

Both smart speakers are on sale, but which one should you get for Mom? Plus: sweet deals on sport earbuds and a throwback gadget.

Rick Broida
Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
3 min read

The Amazon Echo Dot vs. the Google Home Mini. Which one will earn you place in Mom's heart?

Chris Monroe/CNET

Talk about a deal-emma...

Just in time for Mother's Day , the Google Home Mini is on sale far and wide for $39 (here it is at Best Buy and Target, for example), while Amazon has cut the Echo Dot to $39.99. That's $10 off: not uncommon, but pretty good.

But, wait, there's more. Add two of either device to your shopping cart and the price drops to under $60 -- a savings of $20 per smart speaker.

If you're considering one of these for Mom (Mother's Day is this Sunday!), I think it's a no-lose decision. These things are great for everything from asking after today's weather to playing tunes in the kitchen. Just don't expect particularly great sound quality from either -- for that you need some kind of external speaker.

We have various Echo products in my house, and I haven't used a Google Home myself, so I'm not the right person to ask which is better. For that I'll turn you over to CNET's Andrew Gebhart, who compared the Dot to the Mini.

Meanwhile, check out the 7 things an Amazon Echo can do that a Google Home can't and the 9 things Google Home can do that Echo can't.

I can think of one newer point in favor of the Echo: Thanks to the recent addition of Alexa Skill Blueprints, you can program Mom's Dot to deliver customized answers to questions like, "Who's the best mom in the entire world?" That's pretty fun.

Either way, I think any Mom who hasn't yet experienced the joy of a smart speaker will enjoy one of these. Or two, if you're feeling generous. (You could always keep one for yourself; I'm sure Mom would understand.)

Your thoughts?

Watch this: The new Amazon Echo Dot is the smartest no-brainer ever

Bonus deal: Are portable DVD players still a thing? I mean, I know they're a thing because I'm about to bring you a deal on one, but do people still use them?

Let's find out: For a limited time, and while supplies last, Apeman has this 10.5-inch portable DVD player with swivel screen and remote for $52.79 with promo code O2RFXUIN. (Note: That code is scheduled to activate at 8 a.m. PT today.) Regular price: $60.

This looks to be a pretty versatile player. It can operate in "laptop" mode, or you can swivel and fold that screen back down for a tablet-style view. It weighs 3 pounds, and its battery is good for up to 5 hours of operation, according to Apeman.

Interestingly, Fakespot gives the 53 customer reviews (which average out to 4.3 stars) high marks for legitimacy, while ReviewMeta indicates more than half of them are bogus. (Strip those away, though, and the player still gets a 4.2-star average rating.)

So, what's your take? Still interested in products like this? Or have phones and tablets pretty much killed the need?


These fit securely and sound surprisingly decent. How are they $15?!


Bonus deal No. 2: I looped the Kasmer sport earphones over my ears expecting them to be terrible. Because they're so generic, so cheap! For a limited time, and while supplies last, Kasmer Direct (via Amazon) is offering these Bluetooth sport earphones for $14.99 with promo code 2LY8DUUH.

As I've noted before, I don't consider sound quality to be of utmost importance when you're exercising. More important: comfort and a good fit. That said, I was truly surprised by how good these sounded. My ears aren't super discerning when it comes to fidelity, but I know muddy, tinny sound when I hear it. The first sample track I played, Green Day's American Idiot, sounded as good to me as the supposedly higher-end 'phones I usually wear while running.

Needless to say, this is a bare-bones product: You get three sets of ear tips (silicone, not foam as stated in the product listing), a short charging cord and that's it. But Kasmer promises an impressive 11 hours of play time, and the earphones have a one-year warranty.

One complaint: the volume-control rocker is just a hair loose, so it rattles slightly when I'm running -- though I don't really notice it when the tunes are playing. Your mileage may vary.

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