Amazon Echo Dot vs Google Home Mini

The most popular Christmas gift of 2016 on Amazon will likely be the hottest gift again this year.

Amazon says it sold millions of Alexa devices over the Thanksgiving shopping weekend and in September the retail giant had a 76 percent smart home speaker market share according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. That isn’t a surprise, because the Alexa devices were the first on the market.

Now Google is trying to grab some of that market share with the release of the Google Home devices.

If you’re just now dipping your toes into the smart speaker/personal assistant, you may be trying to decide which one is right for you. There’s no easy answer, but here’s what you need to know before you decide.

We’ll compare the Amazon Echo Dot with the Google Home mini. Both are slightly larger than a hockey puck and are shaped the same way. The Google Home mini looks better, with a fabric top, while the Echo Dot looks more like the hockey puck. Both are controlled by your voice or with a touch.

Both can answer most any question and give information about the weather, news reports and traffic conditions. They can both tell you what’s on your calendar for the day and both can take notations of shopping lists. But the Google Mini connects with your Google account, so it automatically knows where you work and where you live if you’ve ever used Google Maps and
entered that information.

The Echo Dot works seamlessly with an Amazon account, and it can play music from Amazon Music and control what you watch on television if you use an Amazon Fire Stick streaming device. The mini also does that through a Google Chromecast streaming device.

The biggest difference here is your subscription. If you have a Fire Stick, any Amazon device or if you subscribe to Amazon Prime, you’ll probably find the Echo Dot more useful. You can also order things through the Dot and get special deals only for Alexa owners.

Google will play music through the Google Music app, but that requires a subscription. Google is also pulling YouTube from Amazon devices, so if you watch a lot of videos there, you’ll be happier with the mini or other Google Home devices.

So, both devices do what they’re advertised to do. The determining factor is where you’ve put your interest to this point. If you’re embedded in the Amazon eco-system, you can’t go wrong with the Echo. If you’re not an Amazon Prime member, the mini is where you want to spend your time. If you’re neither, the Google Mini may be the best selection.

I’ve got both, and an Amazon Prime membership, and I use Google products, and I can see myself being equally happy with either device.

But, I would choose the Echo Dot for one reason: It can connect to any Bluetooth speaker. It connected to my Bluetooth speaker just by asking.

The Google Mini will only connect to speakers that can use Google’s Chromecast. So, if you want to listen to music over a speaker, you’ll probably have to buy a new Bluetooth speaker. That’s a deal breaker for anyone who wants to listen to music.

Both the mini and the dot are similar in price at around $50, but you can usually find them on sale for $30-$40.

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