NEW YORK—Google’s big hardware extravaganza is kicking off, and in addition to new phones and laptops, we’re getting an update to the Google Home Mini.
In line with Google’s decision to demote Nest from a standalone Alphabet company to Google’s smart home sub-brand, the Google Home Mini sequel is called the “Google Nest Mini.
” Pre-orders are live today, and the device launches October 22.
So what’s new? Well, on the surface, the new Nest Mini looks identical to the old Home Mini. It’s still a cute little blob of fabric with four lights on the top. The new model brings increased volume (“2x stronger bass”), a better-sounding speaker, a third microphone for audio pickup, and a simple keyhole-style wall mount on the back. It’s still $50.
The launch of the Google Home Mini, if you don’t remember, was kind of a disaster. Reports from early units were that the device would randomly start recording without anyone saying “OK Google,” which happened “thousands of times” to the most famous account, from Android Police’s Artem Russakovskii. Google investigated and found the Mini’s top touch panel was defective, and Google’s response was to nuke it from orbit and disable the top touch panel on all Google Home Minis forever.
This time, the top touch panel works! You can once again tap the top of the Google Nest Mini to talk to it.