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Google Home Mini review:

Google Home Mini: $49 smart speaker coming Oct. 19

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The Good The Google Home Mini is a stylish-looking speaker with surprisingly strong sound quality. The Google Assistant is a capable Alexa competitor, especially thanks to its ability to search out detailed answers to a wide variety of questions.

The Bad There isn't much the Home Mini does that Alexa can't do, too. It also lacks a line out jack, and requires Chromecast Audio in order to connect with at external speaker setup.

The Bottom Line The Google Home Mini is a great device, and a no-brainer for existing Google Home users -- but it isn't the Echo Dot-killer Google probably needs it to be.

CNET Editors' Rating

8.2 Overall
  • Features 8.0
  • Usability 8.0
  • Design 8.0
  • Performance 9.0

 If you want something from the internet, you Google it. We've been doing it for decades — more than a trillion searches per year by Google's own estimates. Google is so good at it that it gets to be its own verb.

But then came Alexa, the virtual, voice-activated assistant in the Amazon Echo smart speaker. People started getting what they wanted from the internet just by asking for it. Soon, Amazon doubled down with the Echo Dot, a much smaller smart speaker with an irresistibly low $50 price tag. After yielding Amazon a two-year head start, Google finally released the Google Home to compete with the Echo, but Amazon had already captured a daunting share of the market. Even more problematic — the Echo Dot had quickly become an even bigger hit than the Echo had been.

All of which brings us to October of 2017, and the arrival of the Google Home Mini. It's the product of a company that's still in catch-up mode, a verb that's trying to remain present tense in a category that's evolving rapidly. And, like the Echo Dot, it's a very good product.

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