The Amazon Echo dot and Google Neon are the two entry level speakers from two companies dominating the smart speaker category right now , especially here in the US .
They start around $50 but you can usually get them for closer to 30 when on sale .
And they're the easiest way to use your voice to stream music and media control , smart home devices and help you with everyday tasks around your home , like setting timers , creating reminders and answering general search queries .
The biggest decision that most consumers face when choosing a smart speaker is which assistant they want to run on that smart speaker .
And that'll typically mean that they're going to take a look at the Amazon Echo dot and the Google Nest mini .
So now let's dive into the design and features of these two smart speakers as well as the differences between the assistants that run on them .
And hopefully that should help you choose which one is right for you .
First , the design , the two smart are somewhat similar in their design .
They're both small round pucks and are similar in size where they differ slightly though is aesthetics , Google takes a much more minimalist approach with the device being completely covered in a recycled plastic mesh covering and the only button on the device is underneath it .
And that's the mute switch .
It's actually a physical switch .
And when the device is muted , the mic is actually removed from power which is different from Amazon's approach , their button is software controlled but the mic's connections are never physically severed .
Now , taking a look at the Amazon echo dot third generation , you'll see that Amazon took a different design approach by having four buttons on the top for muting the echo dots mics , triggering the assistant and volume controls at the top .
You'll also see four far field microphones that Amazon includes .
The nest mini includes three far field microphones that can be found underneath its mesh covering and did my testing both the echo dot and the nest testimony , hear my commands very well in all types of different situations .
And there's not a clear winner between them in my testing of which one actually hears me best and accurately responds .
Now even lets you control how sensitive the testimony is to hearing the hot word , which is the phrase that you use to trigger the assistant on the device .
And speaking of the trigger word for the echo , you can actually change the trigger word that you can use to trigger the assistant on the echo dot from the smartphone app .
Each smart speaker has a companion app that you can download on both IOS and Android to enable certain settings on each device and help you set up and manage the speakers while you can't see any buttons on top of the neon .
There are a few areas that you can touch on its surface to control it .
When you hover your hand over the speaker , two LEDs will illuminate where you can tap to increase or decrease the volume , tap the top of the speaker to play or pause media currently playing .
Now , both of these speakers have indicator lights to help show when the assistant is listening to you .
And when it's not , the echo dot utilizes its led ring around its top which will glow blue .
When you're interacting with the assistant , it'll also glow other colors like red when it's muted yellow .
When you have a shipment notification and green when making a phone call or dropping into a room with another echo device .
The nest mini utilizes four white led s to show you when the assistant is listening to you or when it's not , they can turn different colors as well based on context orange for when the mini has been muted and blue for phone calls .
Now , there are two other major hardware features that make these speakers stand out from one another .
The first is the 3.5 millimeter jack .
The echo dot has that allows you to plug it into a more powerful speaker .
You can't do this with an S mini and Google scrap their chrome audio product , which was a little device that turned any speaker into a Google cast enabled speaker .
So at least you could add in speakers that you already owned into a speaker group with your Google speakers .
Amazon now has a device that does exactly what the Google chromecast audio did .
And overall , Amazon has a better ecosystem now than Google does in terms of turning older speakers into smart speakers that can be grouped with your first party smart speakers .
The last other hardware differentiator that I'll mention is that Google added a little area on the back of the mini that allows you to wall mount it and use it as a wall speaker .
But in order to do that , it's gotta sound decent , right ?
Well , that brings us to one of the largest questions around these two devices and that's how do they sound ?
Here's a sound comparison between the two to me .
They both sound pretty similar with maybe the Google Nest mini sounding slightly more clear but having a little bit more base , but it's close and it is hard to tell which one sounds better with one having more of an upward firing speaker than the other .
Both speakers allow you to stream music and media over wifi as well as over a Bluetooth connection .
All right , that's the hardware of these two speakers .
Now , let's dive into the main thing that differentiates the experience of these two speakers and that is the smart assistant that runs on each of these devices .
The smart assistance on these speakers will likely be the deciding factor in which one you decide to go with .
With the Google Nest mini , you have the Google assistant that runs on it and then you have Amazon's assistant , Alexa that runs on the echo dot So first let's talk about some of the main things that you can use the assistance for on both of these speakers .
I boiled them down into three categories , playing music and media , controlling your smart home devices and providing you information and slash or helping you with everyday tasks for playing music and media .
Here in the US , both smart speakers support Spotify , Pandora , iheart , Radio , Dieser Tunein and Sirius X M .
The Echo dot also supports Amazon Music , Tidal , Apple Music and Apple Podcasts .
The nest mini also supports youtube music , Google , Play music and Google podcasts .
If you're outside of the US , definitely check to see what services will run on these speakers in your home country .
Now , to listen to music on either of these devices , you don't actually have to subscribe to a music streaming service .
However , I do recommend it .
It's one of the best parts of owning a smart speaker .
You just tell the assistant on the speaker to play whatever song you could think of and then boom , it just does it on command it .
It really is kind of like magic , both smart speakers can be grouped with other similar speaker groups .
So you can group Google speakers together or Amazon speakers together to create a whole home audio solution .
Right now .
Another really important thing that these smart assistants can help you do is control your smart home devices .
Both work with a large swath of popular smart home products and platforms like nest thermostats , Phillips .
He lights smart blind , smart robotic vacuum cleaners , wifi routers , smart plugs and home security systems .
Both Amazon and Google also make your own smart home products .
So if you already have Nest products in your home or a ring doorbell , it's best to make sure and check that the products you already have in your home will work with one or both of these smart assistants .
Recently , both Amazon and Google started emphasizing local control with their smart speakers , so they have the ability to control your devices without pinging the cloud .
So in theory , if your internet goes out , you would still be able to tell Google or the Amazon assistant to turn on and off your lights and it'll still work if you'd like to learn more about how to start a smart home .
We actually did a video on the channel on that exact topic so you can click this card here in the video , pause this video , go watch that also make sure to leave a link to it in the video description below .
We've also done several videos on smart home products , things like robotic vacuum cleaners , smart lights , smart plugs , et cetera .
So make sure you check out the rest of our youtube channel if you're interested in those types of videos .
Moving on now , let's talk about the last major category of how smart assistants can help you .
And that is by providing you information and helping you with everyday tasks .
Both assistants allow you to do things like set timers , create reminders , add things to specific lists .
So you could have a grocery list , Amazon list , target run list , et cetera .
They also can help you with cooking by providing you with recipes or helping you communicate with others by making phone calls broadcasting to other smart speakers around your house or Amazon will actually let you drop into another speaker in your house .
Like a two way intercom system .
Each assistant platform can work with third party services with Amazon .
These are called skills and with Google , they're called Google assistant actions .
I don't use these on either platform very often , but they are pretty good for a specific type of request .
So for example , I'll ask uh either of the assistants to play the local news through a third party skill from my local TV news station or a lot of third party games , also integrate this way with both assistants so you can play it with your kids and have a blast .
So now hearing all this , I'm sure you're probably thinking , OK , it sounds like these assistants can actually do pretty similar things .
What actually is different about them .
Well , the biggest thing that differentiates these two assistants are the services that they are integrated with to provide you information and is well integrated with its own services .
So for example , it will tell you when you can expect a package from amazon dot com .
The Google assistant is also heavily integrated with Google services like Google photos , Google Maps , youtube , Google search gmail .
And the list goes on as a company that's business model centers around collecting data to provide and serve more relevant ads and information to its users .
The Google Assistant can do a lot if you already use a lot of Google services plus its integration with Google search means that it's going to be able to provide you with detailed answers to complex questions that you ask it that you normally type into a Google search bar .
Now , Amazon's assistant can answer general search queries and typically it will give you the correct answer .
However , I found in my experience it will not give you nearly as much detail or context as the Google Assistant will .
Here's a real world example that I just ran into last week while cooking .
Should you keep lemons in the refrigerator ?
Lemon is best stored in the fridge .
On the website .
My recipes dot com .
They say the best way to store lemons is in an airtight container in the fridge or sometimes the Amazon Assistant will completely get it wrong and the Google Assistant will nail it .
Are there cockroaches and chocolate creamy crockpot , Tuscan garlic chicken from taste made there are 10 ingredients .
Would you like to gather ingredients on the website NBC news dot com ?
They say most people who are allergic to chocolate aren't having a reaction to cocoa or any of chocolate's other official ingredients .
No , the flare ups are most likely triggered by the ground up cockroach parts that contaminate every batch .
So given everything we've just gone over .
Which device do I recommend that you get ?
Well , my answer there is it really depends like it depends on several different factors .
One , how integrated are you already into either Google or Amazon's ecosystem ?
Do you already have smart devices that would only work with one platform ?
Do you need your speaker to be able to physically plug into a better speaker ?
Which speaker looks the best to you ?
Both Amazon and Google offer speakers in different colors and options .
Amazon even has a colorful one designed especially for kids and they also have a version of the echo dot with a clock on it , which is pretty neat if you're planning on putting this speaker on your nightstand , answering these questions will help determine which device you ultimately get .
And if you have questions about privacy with each of these devices , I'll leave links in the video description below about the privacy features for each of these speakers .
If you want to learn more .
Now , if you have used both of these assistants or both of these smart speakers , let me know down in the comments which assistant you prefer and use in your daily life .
And if you like this video and found it helpful , make sure you hit that thumbs up button below and subscribe to the channel to see more tech product videos like this one .
Well , that'll do it for me .
I'm Josh Tedder for six months later .
Thanks for watching .