Amazon just released the third generation of its smart speaker Echo Dot. Now, my mother was confused deciding which one to buy and I believe there would be plenty of people who would want to know which is better, Google Home Mini vs Amazon Echo Dot 3?
If you’re also looking into buying one of the two devices, there are certain factors you need to keep in mind. I’ve used and tested both the devices extensively and covered all the distinguishing features. Let’s get started.
Google Home Mini vs Amazon Echo Dot 3
1. Looks and Build Quality (Draw)
Echo Dot 3 and the Home Mini look similar in design with the fabric shell and plastic body. While Echo Dot has retained its 4 button layout, Home mini keeps the profile sleek with capacitive touch buttons hidden under the fabric shell.
Echo packs a larger weight and feels slightly heavier in comparison to the Home Mini.
The material used in the body is ABS plastic and it feels durable. The silicone-based rubber bottom on both devices ensure a secure position on the surface and prevent any accidental slips. While the Echo dot sides are covered in woven fabric, which acts as the speaker grill, Home Mini’s upper half covers the fabric under which the lights, the mics, and the capacitive touch controls reside.
2. Mics (Winner – Echo dot 3)
While testing I had a basic idea that Echo was going to outperform Google Home Mini but I did not assume it would be that big of a difference. Considering Echo has large 4 Far Field mics that pick up the keyword ‘Alexa‘ from a distance above 20m. Home Mini, on the other hand, stopped responding to my calls ‘hey google‘ at around 10m. This is not a huge difference considering we don’t live in mansions (unless The Queen is reading this).
‘Alexa’ is just one syllable and is very easily picked up by the AI than ‘Hey Google’. This is the reason the Echo also has a higher rate of triggering during conversations than Home Mini.
3. Power (Winner – Google Home Mini)
When it comes to portability, Google Home Mini has an edge over Echo dot 3.
Home Mini uses a micro USB as the power source with a rating of 9W. Echo Dot 3 has shifted from micro USB to its proprietary plug which is rated at 12V and powers a much bigger driver consuming 15W maximum power.
4. Sound (Winner – Echo dot 3)
Amazon claims the Echo dot 3 play sound that is 70 percent louder than Echo dot 2. And it’s somewhat accurate.
I tested the speakers at 70% and used an app to calculate the loudness on the dB scale and here are the results. Echo Dot 3 has a significant bass, thanks to its upgraded driver. Home Mini on the other is loud but lacks that lower frequency sounds. Considering both devices are sold are smart speakers, Echo Dot 3 outperforms the Home Mini with ease.
As you can see the Echo dot clocks in at 81 dB at 70% volume, while the Google Home is a little less loud clocking at 64dB. While it’s not a big difference, the audio quality and loudness are slightly better in Echo dot 3.
5. External Speakers (Winner – Echo dot 3)
Like the Echo dot 2, Echo dot 3 also keep the 3.5mm audio jack, meaning you can still connect external speakers to it. So, if you have one in the living room it might not be able to compete with your existing home entertainment system, you can connect your existing speakers with the Echo dot 3 using the inbuilt headphone jack.
Home Mini lacks this feature and you have to resort to Bluetooth connectivity. Which by the way, both speakers supports.
6. Interaction (Draw)
Echo dot 3 and Home Mini have their own Voice assistants and you essentially shout commands at the speakers and they oblige(if they can infer). Echo dot has 4 buttons layout and an LED light ring. You can adjust volume, mute Echo and invoke with the action button. Home Mini keeps the interaction minimal with its touch inputs.
Home Mini lacks any buttons except for the mute button under the speaker. To adjust the volume, you can tap the left and right sides of the home mini. There are other gestures like long press on either side to play/ pause a song, end call, etc. Unlike the fixed buttons on Echo, home mini gestures can be updated and more gestures can be added later on.
7. Smart Assistant (Winner – Google Home Mini)
This is where things get interesting. Alexa is the voice assistant for Echo and it is powered by Bing as its main search engine. It is designed that way so it has a wider audience. Home Mini, on the other hand, has the Google Assistant which is widely used by Android smartphone users.
In my experience, the basic stuff like alarm, timer, weather works fine on both. Same is the case with music streaming music and Home automation control.
However, when it comes to voice search, Google home usually get 95% of my queries right. Alexa, on the other hand, was about 70%. And thanks to AI, Google home mini understand natural language much better.
8. Calls (Winner – Echo dot 3)
Echo Dot handles calls a little better than the Google Home Mini right now. You can drop in on other echo devices. In simple words, if you have two echo dot devices at home, you can use them as an intercom. While Home mini does broadcast prerecorded voice messages to other Home Mini devices which is nowhere near the Echo Dot’s Drop-in.
Both Echo dot and Home Mini can call to landlines and mobiles across US, Canada, and Mexico. It is essentially a VoIP call so it’s free.
9. Music (Winner – Google Home Mini)
As a smart speaker it only makes sense that they play music effortlessly, Echo Dot can play music from Amazon Prime Music, while Home Mini gets its music from Google Play Music. However third party service integration is available and you can connect services like Spotify to Echo Dot and Home Mini. Pandora is exclusively available on Home Mini in the U.S. right now.
You can string two commands together or create a shortcut to a longer command on Google home mini. For example – Hey Google, play comfortably numb and set a timer for 30 minutes. You can’t do this with Alexa.
Similarly, Google home is smart enough to search the web for songs, which you can’t do with Alexa. For example, I was able to ask Google to, play that song from Shakira that she sang in FIFA. To play a song with Alexa, you have to always specify the song name.
Also Read: How to setup TP-Link smart Plug with Alexa
10. Exclusive Features (Draw)
Echo Dot can connect to your Firestick TV and offer voice controls for playback. You can also shop on Amazon and ask Alexa to read your Kindle books or Audible audiobooks.
Unfortunately, Alexa doesn’t support, Audible and Firestick control in India yet,
Home Mini, on the other hand, has a number of exclusive features which you can use with the Google ecosystem. You can cast videos to your TV and control volume and playback with just your voice if you have a chromecast.
Echo Dot 3 v Google Home Mini – Comparision Table
|Features||Google Home Mini||Echo Dot 3|
|Build/ Body||ABS plastic/Fabric material||ABS plastic/Fabric material|
|Dimensions||98x42mm, 173g||99x43mm, 300g|
|Mic||2 Far-field mics||4 Far-field mics|
|Connectivity||Wifi dual band||Wifi dual band|
|Headphone jack||N/A||Yes (3.5mm)|
|Buttons interface||Capacitive Touch Buttons||Mechanical Buttons|
|Light interface||RGB LED ring||4 RGB LED array|
|Power cable||Micro USB||Proprietary|
Google Home Mini vs Amazon Echo Dot 3 – Which one to buy?
Both of them do the basic stuff like alarm, timer and weather just fine. There is no lag in home automation as well (although, has a slight advantage there as it’s compatible with the more smart home appliance). That said, the new generation of echo dot is decent looking and has better audio output and mic quality. But when it comes to asking queries, Google home mini is clearly a winner.
So, it’s basically a tie. And ultimately, it comes down to what are you planning to do with your smart gadget. If you have invested in the Google ecosystem like calendar event, do to a lot of google searches for directions, ask questions, have an android and chromecast, you get a better experience with the Home Mini. However, if you are in Amazon ecosystem like you order frequently on Amazon, have a firestick, subscribe to audible, then echo dot makes more sense.